Musschenbroek, Pieter van (1692-1761)

Dutch natural philosopher.

Practiced medicine at Leyden. Professor of mathematics and natural philosophy at Duisburg, then at Utrecht (1723-40), and finally at Leyden (1740-61). Published several collections of lecture notes (from 1726). Designed experimental apparatus (in cooperation with his brother Jan) and originated several physics experiments that became pedagogical classics. Best known for his discovery of the Leyden jar (1746), though in fact Ewald Georg von Kleist made a similar discovery in Pomerania a year earlier.

Son of Johan and Maria (van der Straeten) van Musschenbroek of Leyden; descended from a prominent family of brass founders and instrument makers. Educated at Leyden (M.D. 1715, Ph.D. 1719). Married (1) Adriana van de Water (1724). Married (2) Helena Alstorphius (1738). Had issue.