Father Ferdinand Verbiest (9 October 1623 – 28 January 1688) was a Flemish Jesuit missionary in China during the Qing dynasty. He was born in Pittem near Tielt in Flanders, later part of the modern state of Belgium. He is known as Nan Huairen (南懷仁) in Chinese. He was an accomplished mathematician and astronomer and proved to the court of the Kangxi Emperor that European astronomy was more accurate than Chinese astronomy. He then corrected the Chinese calendar and was later asked to rebuild and re-equip the Beijing Ancient Observatory, being given the role of Head of the Mathematical Board and Director of the Observatory.
He became close friends with the Kangxi Emperor, who frequently requested his teaching, in geometry, philosophy and music.
Verbiest worked as a diplomat and cartographer, and also as a translator, because he spoke Latin, German, Dutch, Spanish, Hebrew, and Italian. He wrote more than thirty books.
During the 1670s, Verbiest designed what some claim to be the first ever self-propelled vehicle – many claim this as the world's first automobile, in spite of its small size and the lack of evidence that it was actually built.
Other articles related to "ferdinand verbiest, verbiest":
... Verbiest is commemorated on several postage stamps ... Several more stamps were issued in Macau, in 1989 and 1999, featuring a sketch by Verbiest of the Observatory in Peking, where he worked ...
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