Isaac Beeckman

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In existographies, Isaac Beeckman (367-318 BE) (1588-1637 ACM) (IQ:185|#61) (ID:3.78|49) (PR:23,344|65AE / mathematician:321) (GPE:43) (GPhE:75) (CR:7) (LH:6) (TL:14) was a Dutch physicist, philosopher, mathematician, astronomer, physician, meteorologist, characterized “gifted but overly modest” (Truesdell, 1960), noted for being an early matter and motion theorist, and for being the first to arrive at the concept of atmospheric pressure (1614).


Atmospheric pressure

In 1614, Beeckman, in his journal notes correctly explained the action of a suction pump by an appeal to the pressure of air, aka "atmospheric pressure", and compared air to a sponge, which can be condensed, but because of its elasticity tries to return to its previous state (Middleton, 1964).


In 1905, Cornelis Waard rediscovered Beeckman's journal and published it in full.[1]



Beeckman was influenced by: Rudolph Snellius (student), Simon Stevin (student), Johannes Zachariassen (taught him lens grinding)[2].


Beeckman influenced: Rene Descartes.


The following are quotes:

“What is the reason that bodies are moved in any direction, so that a vacuum may not exist in nature? I answer: it happens that air, after the manner of water, presses, upon things and compresses them according to the depth of the super-incumbent air. But some things remain undisturbed, and are not perpetually moved about, because they are everywhere equally compressed by the air above them, just as our divers are pressed by the water. But things rush towards an empty space with great force, on account of the immense depth of the super-incumbent air, and in this way the weight of the air arises. But air must not be said to be heavy, because we walk in it without any pain, as indeed the fishes move in water, suffering no compression.”
— Isaac Beeckman (1614), Journal Notes [3]

End matter


  1. Isaac Beeckman Correspondence (28 letters) – Early Modern Letters Online.
  2. Anon. (2018). “Isaac Beeckman: Candle Maker, Hydro-engineer, School Teacher, Lens Grinder, Natural Philosopher”, The Renaissance Mathematicus, WordPress, Jan 24.
  3. (a) Beeckman, Isaac. (1614). Journal tenu par lui de 1604 a 1634 publie avec une introduction et des notes par Cornelis de Waard (4 volumes, La Haye, Martinus Nijhoff, 1939-1953), Volume One (pg. 36). Publisher.
    (b) Middleton, William E. (1964). The History of the Barometer (pg. 6) (Amz). Publisher.


  • Beeckman, Isaac. (1637). Journal from 1604 to 1634, Four Volumes (Journal tenu par Isaac Beeckman de 1604 à 1634) (editors: Martinus Nijhoft; Cornelius Waard. Hague, 1953.

External links

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