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Portrait of Christian Huygens
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Christian Huygens

Christian Huygens was a Dutch physicist and astronomer who lived between 1629-1695. He found new methods for grinding and polishing lenses, making telescopes more powerful. Using a telescope he had made, Huygens first identified Saturn's rings and Saturn's largest moon, Titan.

In 1656, Huygens invented the first pendulum clock and greatly increased the accuracy of timekeeping devices, which had previously used springs. He also studied momentum and centrifugal force, and proposed the original wave theory of light.


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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation and NASA, our Founding Partners (the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute) as well as through Institutional, Contributing, and Affiliate Partners, individual memberships and generous donors. Thank you for your support! NASA AGU AGI NSF