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Prominent professors from Groningen

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Prominent professors from Groningen

Sibrandus Stratingh (1785-1841)

Professor of Chemistry and Technology

English | Nederlands

Sibrandus Stratingh was born in 1785 in the village of Adorp, where his father was a preacher. He

grew up with his uncle, who was a pharmacist in Groningen and went to Latin school there.

He was only 14 when he went to the Academy in Groningen. He took classes in the expectation

that he would become a pharmacist like his uncle. He showed an interest in other sciences like

chemistry and physics and took classes in them.

In 1801 he founded the ‘Society for the stimulation of natural sciences in Groningen’ with his

friend Theodorus van Swinderen. In 1824 he was made professor of general, applied and

pharmaceutical chemistry.

Stratingh carried out valuable work in the field of motion during his professorship. He

experimented with a steam-driven vehicle, which he had designed himself, on the streets of

Groningen.The Provincial Groninger Courant reported the following, 25 March 1834:

In the early hours of this morning, 22 March, the first test journey was made by messrs Stratingh

and Becker on their steam vehicle, which made a journey through the city’s undulating and

curving streets with a positive result. The designers were so happy with the test that they feel

that some small improvements will enable the vehicle to not only travel over new stone and rock

roads, but also the bumpier cobbled streets, without problem[…]

Even King Willem I wanted to be kept fully

informed of Stratingh’s experiment. Stratingh

sent him regular reports on his results and

when Willem I spent two days on a royal visit

to Groningen in 1837 he spent some time at

Stratingh’s lab, behind his house on the

Ossemarkt 5.

Stratingh worked not just with steam vehicles,

but also with electromagnetism. Using the

physical principles developed by the Brit

Michael Faraday, Stratingh and his instrument

maker Becker constructed an electric cart

which can be seen as the forerunner of the

electric car. Stratingh was unable to continue

his research into electromagnetic vehicles, as

he died on 15 February 1841. The University

had lost an important and learned figure who

was well known both nationally and

internationally.

Last modified: December 20, 2010 10:47

Even King Willem I wanted to be kept fully informed of Stratingh’s experiment. Stratingh sent him
Article on Stratingh's steam vehicle by C. Oijmans, drawing by N. Scholten

Article on Stratingh's steam vehicle by C. Oijmans, drawing by N. Scholten

Home RUG Museum of the University History Prominent professors from Groningen
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