N. (Nicolàs) de Hilster

PhD research: Navigation on wood. Wooden Navigational Instruments in the Period 1590 – 1731

As a collector of nautical and geodetic instruments Nicolàs de Hilster obtained an early 19th century Octant in 2001. Wanting to know more about its predecessors Nicolàs started to research the Davis quadrant in 2001. After having successfully build and used a replica of it, he started researching even earlier wooden navigational instruments. The main focus of his research now lies on instruments used for latitude determination at sea from Thomas Harriot to John Hadley and their contemporaries. Part of his research is creating reconstructions and replica's of the instruments and to use them in the field for a better understanding of their capabilities. His research already has shown that two groups of instruments were used, differing in their mathematical principle and forthcoming quality of observations. One group was based on the ideas of Thomas Hood, the other on those by Thomas Harriot. Their origin, mathematical concepts, and accuracies are part of his thesis Navigation on Wood, Wooden Navigational Instruments, Wooden Navigational Instruments in the Period 1590 – 1731.

Supervisors: Prof. dr. Karel Davids and prof. dr. Frans van Lunteren