Jean Baptiste van Helmont

Overview: Paracelus had a student (a disciple of Paracelus), named Jean Baptiste. He established the difference between animal magnetism and internal or spiritual magnetism in the 16th century. He was a brilliant chemist, physiologist, and physician, from the Spanish Netherlands.

Lived 1580 – 1644.

Jan Baptist von Helmont was one of the early brilliant minds in the modern period of Flemish chemistry, physiology, and medicine. Sometimes, he is considered as the “founder of pneumatic chemistry” and today he is remembered by modern generations in the field of medicine for his thoughts on spontaneous generation, how he introduced the word “gas” to the scientific vocabulary, and his famous 5-year tree experiment.

Early Years and Background

Born on the 12th day of January in 1580, Brussels, Belgium, Jan Baptist von Helmont was a member of one of the noble families. He was the youngest of the five children of Christiaen van Helmont, a public prosecutor, and Maria van Stassaert. He obtained his education at the Catholic University of Louvain and gained his philosophy degree in 1594. There, he also explored the many different fields of science. However, he found no satisfaction in them and in the end he focused his works on medicine. He obtained his medical degree in 1609 after ten years of travels and studies.

Leave a Reply