An observational astronomer who became known for his studies of double stars, asteroids, and comets at observatories in Belgium and the U.S. In his long career he discovered sixteen asteroids.
He was trained by such notables as German astronomer Max Wolf and German physicist Karl Schwarzschild at the Heidelberg Observatory and the Potsdam Observatory.
His greatest discovery was the periodic comet 53P/Van Biesbroeck, along with 16 asteroids and the two non-periodic comets: C/1925 W1 or Van Biesbroeck 1 and C/1935 Q1 or Van Biesbroeck 2; he published Van Biesbroeck's Star Catalog in 1961.
He was born into a family mainly comprised of artists, yet his father urged him to earn a degree in Civil Engineering Construction; he later studied Theoretical Astronomy at Ghent University.
He confirmed Albert Einstein's Theory of Relativity in 1952.