List of European inventors

Eugene over at The Volokh Conspiracy is putting together a list of European inventors. As I was noticing Mr. Mercator, I saw him sitting in this list quite alone and solitary --him being the only one who had a map to get there in the first place probably (sorry ...), so I took the liberty to mail some other Belgians to Mr. Volokh. Here's my list:

* Adolphe Sax, the man who invented the instrument with the same name.

* Leo Bakeland, a Belgian-born American responsible for the discovery of "Bakelite" , the first artificial "plastic".

* Andreas Vesalius, ringing in the start of modern Human Anatomy.

* Jean Joseph Etienne Lenoir, inventor of the internal-combustion engine (better known as "a car" in our days).

Some more inventors (Belgians at least) here and here.

If any of my five local readers (pun intended) is able to come up with some more names, don't hold yourselves back I'd say ... .  However, do take into account Eugene's criteria as mentioned in his post.

22:58 Gepost door Flint | Permalink | Commentaren (7) |  Facebook |


More Belgian Creativity Let's not forget to give an award for high-tech political "plumbing" to our Belgian politcal class that avoided a civil war for 30 years by installing 7 separate governments, a creative Constitution and a pile of laws that takes centuries to understand.

Gepost door: VisualHugo | 12-07-04

@Hugo: however well the people over at The Volokh Conspiracy may be educated over matters of Constitution and politics, I don't think even they can come up with a fitting name for a construction like ours. Wait ... maybe the Perpetuum Mobile did get invented after all ... .

Gepost door: Flint | 12-07-04

Adolphophone? "Adolphe Sax, the man who invented the instrument with the same name". That would be the Adolphophone, I suppose? ;-)

Gepost door: LVB | 13-07-04

@LVB: very funny ... should've seen it comming.

No really, we actually have quite a list don't we? I was actually wondering about later finds in the field of science.

Gepost door: Flint | 13-07-04

Many others What about Ernest Solvay, inventor of the industrial process for the production of sodium carbonate?

Edward De Smedt, inventor of road asphalt?

Zénobe Gramme, inventor of the continuous current generator ("gelijkstroomgenerator")?

George Lemaitre, inventor of the theory of the "Big Bang"?

Lambert Quetelet, inventor of normal distribution in mathematics/statistics?

Robert Cailliau, co-inventor of the World Wide Web?

Gerardus Mercator, inventor of the Mercator projection in maps?

My personal favourite is Simon Stevin, born in Bruges. He not only invented numerous techniques for mathematics, bookkeeping and warfare, but he also invented Dutch words for them. That's the reason why we have words as "wiskunde", "evenredigheid", "raaklijn", words for which other languages have only Latin terms. He even invented a Dutch word for quotient: "zomenigmaal". Have a look at http://www.xs4all.nl/~adcs/stevin/begin/vytspraeck.html .

Gepost door: LVB | 13-07-04

Indeed Luc, the list is long. Pitty we Belgians don't have a clue on how to sell our country's products the same way the French for example do.

I think this link http://www.library.tudelft.nl/digitresor/?bookname=Mechanics%20I&page=III would represent a good start for Mr. Volokh if he wants to get into the findings of Simon Stevin, beautiful link you gave there.

I left the other ones out for the sake of readability, although I think they are in the last two links I presented.

Jean-Jacques Cassiman was someone else in my mind, doing pioneering work in the field of DNA research, see for example here: http://www.archaeology.org/0003/newsbriefs/france.html, but no, he did not invent DNA let alone the research of it.

Robert Cailliau however was the one I was thinking about in terms of having a chance in modern technology, but I think some people will see their definition of "inventor" blurred. I suspect "He didn't really invent the internet" will be the line of thought here (then again, Al Gore was not the one to work together with Tim-Berners Lee over at CERN: http://www.ctc8.net/showarticle.asp?id=8).
In the same technology niche: what about Lernout & Hauspie, giving language recognition a boost?

Gepost door: Flint | 13-07-04

Calliau There is a difference between the web and the internet. Berners-Lee and Cailliau were the *designers*, thus the inventors, of the WWW.

L&H merely integrated existing components lin speech recognition. Their work was more about productizing than about inventing.

Gepost door: LVB | 17-07-04

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