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Master Simon explains

portret Simon Stevin was a master in clear explanation of complicated things. He will have been a ideal mainstay for his master (and disciple) Maurice of Orange, who was very interested in results of mathematical and physical thinking, being only satisfied with a "fundamental knowledge of causes".

Although Stevin's way of explaining is rather prolix, we may learn a lot from him. Especially about careful argumentation of a proof.

A series of short succeeding pages shows this.
(Figures from DBNL; translations from Principal Works, vol. I).

2 persons carrying a ladder

Stevin's words

"... it so happened that what I had thus prepared for others, served as a preliminary for myself to arrive at a theory which seemed better to me."

These words are from the Hemelloop (Heavenly motions), p. 246 (PW, III, p. 113), on the motions of the planets. Master Simon was his own teacher.

You get it by explaining!

two circles, not concentric, and lines Often Stevin gives "broader expounding", as on p. 10 of the Hemelloop (PW, III, p. 14): "in order to set forth everything even more fully" (figure, ABC: Planet's orbit, E: Earth, L: Mean Planet).
One can imagine: many parts of something complicated fully laid out on a large table.

And at school it works!
Student: "I don't understand anything of this."
Teacher: "Please do explain what it is that you don't understand."
Student: "Look, here it says ..., thus .... But ..., because .... Ah no, now I get it."

The Hemelloop was master Simon's explanation of Copernicus' system: the Earth revolves around the Sun. It was one of the first text books on heliocentrism. With many good questions, like: how would you see the Earth, when you were on the Moon?
(Eertclootschrift, definition 1: "Earth is the moving world light we live on", p. 5.)
See: 'Stevinus op de Maan' (a Moon crater is one of his honours).

Master Simon was also an inventive user of his language, 'Duytsch' {Diets, Dutch } enthousiastically promoting it as a scientific language, when others reserved their learning for those who had mastered Latin. He forged new words when necessary, or when he liked, such as: 'zichteinder' (horizon), 'wiskunde' (mathematics), 'evenredig' (proportional).

Making acquaintance with him may be a rewarding discovery. Here are to be found some modern translations, and most of his own printed words (more than 400 years old).

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