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Willem de Sitter

Born: 6-May-1872
Birthplace: Sneek, Netherlands
Died: 19-Nov-1934
Location of death: Leiden, Netherlands
Cause of death: Pneumonia

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Astronomer, Mathematician

Nationality: Netherlands
Executive summary: Expanding space

Astronomer Willem de Sitter calculated the size of the universe and studied dark matter, the satellites of Jupiter, and the rotation of the Earth. His theoretical work was groundbreaking, and his name is still heard in such terms of astrophysics as the de Sitter effect, de Sitter precession, and the n-dimensional de Sitter space. Responding to Albert Einstein's field equations of general relativity, de Sitter proposed that space itself is expanding independently of its matter, and eventually Einstein agreed. De Sitter's concept of expanding space, called a de Sitter universe, formed the basis of the Big Bang Theory.

Father: Lamoraal Ulbo de Sitter (judge)
Mother: Catharine Theodore Wilhelmine Bertling de Sitter
Wife: Eleonora de Sitter-Suermondt
Son: Aernout de Sitter (astronomer)

    High School: Arnhem Gymnasium, Arnhem, Netherlands
    University: BS Astronomy, Groningen University (1897)
    University: PhD Astronomy, Groningen University (1901)
    Scholar: Astronomy, Royal Cape Observatory (1897-99)
    Teacher: Astronomy, Groningen University (1901-09)
    Professor: Astronomy, University of Leiden (1909-34)
    Administrator: Director of Leiden Observatory, University of Leiden (1919-34)

    Royal Astronomical Society Gold Medal 1931
    Bruce Medal 1931
    James Craig Watson Medal 1929
    International Astronomical Union President (1925-28)
    Lunar Crater De Sitter Crater
    Asteroid Namesake 1686 De Sitter

Author of books:
Kosmos (1932)


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