Willigen, V. S. M. van der
Head of the Physics Cabinet at Teylers Museum (1864-1878) (1822-1878)
Van der Willigen, former professor at the Athenaeum in Deventer, was appointed in 1864 when Van
Breda retired from Teylers. He proved to be a productive researcher, and published
over fifty articles. His main interest was light, whether in an electrical egg
(an instrument designed
to show electrical phenomena in gases at various pressures), in Newton's
rings, or in Geissler tubes.
Van der Willigen's most interesting research focused on the search for a new unit for length on the basis of a frequency of light, a field in which he did pioneering work. In 1866 this led to the construction of a small observatory in the Museum garden, where he performed a , an alternative for the unit of length.