A Blog by International Students at Leiden University

History revisits the Observatory



Hello people. I don’t think this has been advertised widely but the old observatory in the city centre is getting a new toy – one from centuries ago. The Netherlands has a rich Science history and was home to some of the most influential physicists. One such genius was Christiaan Huygens. His contributions have been immense – just google him, but I have also been fascinated by the pronunciation of his name. You see a NASA space probe that landed on Titan(discovered by Huygens) was named in honour of Huygens and so his name has featured in several documentaries. But nobody pays enough attention to the correct pronunciation. If you are interested then you should watch another Dutch hero of mine, Walter Lewin. Here he is with his explanation:



Anyway why did I bring this up? Well tomorrow (May 3rd, Saturday) the old observatory is unveiling the ‘Huygens viewer’. This is a tubeless telescope similar to the design used by Christiaan Huygens in the 1600s. Basically back in the day astronomers found that in order to improve the quality of the images that their lenses produced, they would need increasingly longer tubes. But longer tubes meant stability issues and also it wasn’t very practical/easy to steer them with control. Huygens removed the single tube altogether and his lenses were placed in two smaller tubes that were aligned using a ‘string’, how skilful!

Have a nice weekend,




Must watch movie # 10

The Others

Horror films are rarely made well. Most films are either too gory or fail to scare enough. The Others stars Nicole Kidman as a mother of two and living in a mansion on a desolate island. The story is set during the war and Nicole’s husband is away on duty. One day three people turn up at her door in response to an advert for housekeepers. They move in and start serving the family when strange things start happening. The kids see ghosts (referred to as ‘the intruders’) living in their house. Moreover, the ghosts claim it is in fact their house. The sightings escalate as does the mental damage all this has on Nicole. The film has a twist ending which though may not seem particularly clever still does the job. The film isn’t boring. It has some jumpy scenes and so is best watched in the dark :P. Hope you enjoy it.


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This entry was posted on May 3, 2014 by in Authors, Shourya and tagged , , .

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