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Willem de Sitter

Born 6 May 1872(1872-05-06)
Died 20 November 1934 (aged 62)
Nationality Dutch
Fields physics
Alma mater Groningen University
Known for de Sitter universe

Willem de Sitter (6 May 1872 – 20 November 1934) was a Dutch mathematician, physicist and astronomer.

Born in Sneek, De Sitter studied mathematics at the University of Groningen and then joined the Groningen astronomical laboratory. He worked at the Cape Observatory in South Africa (1897–1899). Then, in 1908, de Sitter was appointed to the chair of astronomy at Leiden University. He was director of the Leiden Observatory from 1919 until his death.

De Sitter made major contributions to the field of physical cosmology. He co-authored a paper with Albert Einstein in 1932 in which they argued that there might be large amounts of matter which do not emit light, now commonly referred to as dark matter. He also came up with the concept of the de Sitter space and de Sitter universe, a solution for Einstein's general relativity in which there is no matter and a positive cosmological constant. This results in an exponentially expanding, empty universe. De Sitter was also famous for his research on the planet Jupiter.


Aernout de Sitter

His son, Aernout de Sitter, was director of the Bosscha Observatory in Lembang, Indonesia (then the Dutch East Indies), where he studied the M4 globular cluster. He died after a brief illness November 1934 [1][2][3].



Named after him


  1. ^ Obituary Notes of Astronomers at
  2. ^ 1947BAN....10..287D Page 287 at
  3. ^ Adriaan, Blaauw (2004). "MY CRUISE THROUGH THE WORLD OF ASTRONOMY" (full text). Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics 42 (1): 1. doi:10.1146/annurev.astro.42.053102.134020. 

See also

External links




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