Talk:Jan Baptist van Helmont

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Some Brussels data[edit]

—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:34, 26 September 2010 (UTC) 

I'm going to throw a few wild cards in - the NPOV needs to be considered carefully. Jan Baptiste van Helmont actually lived at Neder-over-Heembeek, in a farm in the middle of what is now an industrial zone halfway between Brussels and Vilvoorde, close to the church of St Peter and St Paul. In the mid-1840s, the farm was certainly the residence of Count Gioacchino Pecci, Papal Nuncio to Belgium and future Pope Leo XIII, who is reported to have conducted an extensive search of the property for traces of the reported alchemical workings. Mercurius van Helmont is said to have reported that his father, having graduated as a doctor of medecine in the Paracelsian school, was visited by the French Baron René de Cerclairs in 1618. The two talked late into the night, and de Cerclairs left an alchemical powder which van Helmont then used to transmute mercury into gold (apparently the subject of a formal experimental report). This needs full checking, a copy of Mercurius' text would be much appreciated. Mercurius, born later that year, was named for the event, and went on to become one of Leibnitz' tutors in Berlin - Leibnitz wrote his epitaph. De Cerclairs is interesting as independant evidence suggests not only that he was extraordinarily long-lived, but had previously succeeded in extensive alchemical transmutations. This success then triggered van Helmont's interest in assessing chemical reactions objectively, and thence was born one of the axes of scientific rigour. - jelmain Brussels 03:11, 28 December 2006 (UTC)

Why is there nothing about Jan Baptist van Helmont and his theory on spontaneous generation? It is his name that is mentioned several times in the address delivered by Louis Pasteur at the "Sorbonne Scientific Soiree" of April 7, 1864. There needs to be more information on the "experiments" he conducted on the subject. - 17:23, 8 March 2005 (UTC)
Please feel free to add it. I'm pursuing an academic path to prove the case, but that will take some time, as it has to be built on the foundations of mediaeval creed. For the record, an initial pointer is to examine the alchemical practices of Phillip II of Spain in Brussels and the Escorial - see René Taylor's contribution to the Wittkower 65th birthday essays, in the book on Architecture - her subsequent independant publication goes further in establishing a background to Cerclairs' activities.Jel 08:22, 20 September 2007 (UTC)

Jan van Helmont[edit]

There should be a disambiguation page for Jan van Helmont. Jan van Helmont was a Flemish physician and alchemist in the early 1600's who was one of the first experimenters to study plant metabolism. He grew willow trees and studied their growth, and after meticulous measuring of all the soil and water involved with his growing plants, he [mistakenly] concluded that plants acquire their mass from the water given to them. - Rlee1185 04:36, 18 June 2005 (UTC)

Nonsense! The plant experiment is the most famous experiment of Jan Baptist van Helmont. - Siffler 15:08, 18 February 2007 (UTC)

Year of birth[edit]

I just now reverted van Helmont's year of birth to 1577, the year in the article's first line and in three of the four "External links" on the page. I've also seen the year 1579 in a few sources. Does anyone know why there are two different years in print? Is it perhaps due to a calendar change? -- Astrochemist 23:54, 3 October 2007 (UTC)

  • I could find only one source on-line [1] even mentioning baptism records, saying "Johannes Baptista Van Helmont was born on January 12, 1579 as stated in the baptism records of the Parish of Saint Goedele in Brussels." Usually the baptism records don't mention the birth day, and I assume that 12 January was the day he was baptized. I've changed the year to 1579, but it would be nice to have a somewhat more definite source. I've seen one site mentioning that January 12 was according to the Gregorian calendar, but I doubt that, as the Julian calendar lasted until October 1582. The calendar change only involved skipping 10 days though. Afasmit (talk) 02:33, 25 June 2008 (UTC)
If this ever comes up again, Walter Pagel (who is considered the definitive Van Helmont scholar), frequently cites his birth as January 12, 1579. See: Pagel, Walter, Joan Baptista Van Helmont: Reformer of Science and Medicine (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982), p. (talk) 15:09, 8 August 2012 (UTC)
I don't think that the issue here is Julian versus Gregorian calendar. It is that in 1579-80, many still regarded the year to begin in March, which would make January part of the old year, 1579, in old style, and part of the new new year, 1580, in the new style.Ajrocke (talk) 13:24, 8 September 2014 (UTC)

Leaving van Helmont[edit]

This article is an interesting one, but my expertise is not in this particular area and my contributions have been copyediting, and vandal chasing. In the future I will leave the article to other editors. Best wishes to all. - Astrochemist (talk) 13:33, 17 September 2008 (UTC)


When exactly was the tree experiment, and was he prosecuted for it?

In 1634 Jean Baptist Van Helmont was arrested for the crime of studying plants and other phenomena. He considered the question "how do plants grow?". The contempory theory was that plants grew by eating soil. He devised an investigation to test the idea. - BBC

Also, is there a source for detail regarding:?

... influenced heavily by mystic Paracelsan views. [Jan van Helmont] claimed to have seen and used the philosopher's stone. - E. Weisstein

Cesiumfrog (talk) 01:51, 12 January 2014 (UTC)


Dutch surnames are spelled with capitals when there is no first name mentioned. In this case 'Jan Baptist van Helmont' or 'Van Helmont'. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:08, 21 September 2017 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

Hello fellow Wikipedians,

I have just modified 2 external links on Jan Baptist van Helmont. Please take a moment to review my edit. If you have any questions, or need the bot to ignore the links, or the page altogether, please visit this simple FaQ for additional information. I made the following changes:

When you have finished reviewing my changes, you may follow the instructions on the template below to fix any issues with the URLs.

As of February 2018, "External links modified" talk page sections are no longer generated or monitored by InternetArchiveBot. No special action is required on behalf of editors regarding these talk page notices, other than regular verification, as with any edit, using the archive tools per instructions below. This message updated dynamically through the template {{sourcecheck}} (last update: 1 May 2018).

  • If you have discovered URLs which were erroneously considered dead by the bot, you can report them with this tool.
  • If you found an error with any archives or the URLs themselves, you can fix them with this tool.

Cheers.—InternetArchiveBot (Report bug) 16:16, 21 November 2017 (UTC)