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Hendrik Antoon Lorentz

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Hendrik Antoon Lorentz (1853-c1928)

1928 Obituary [1]

HENDRIK ANTOON LORENTZ, F.R.S., was born at Arnhem in 1853 and obtained the degree of doctor of philosophy at Leyden University in 1875.

After teaching science in a local school for three years, he was appointed in 1878 professor of mathematical physics at Leyden University, and retained that position until his retirement in June 1923. He still continued to lecture there as an honorary professor, although he had accepted an appointment to direct the researches at the Teyler Institute, Haarlem. He died on the 4th February, 1928.

In addition to Dutch he spoke English, French, and German fluently, and his lectures were renowned for his clear exposition of the subjects dealt with. Throughout his career his researches in mathematical physics aroused world-wide interest.

Commencing in 1878 with a treatise on the reflection and refraction of light, he developed the theory of the transmission of waves through metals, the electromagnetic theory of light, the theory of electrons and the constitution of matter, and the electrodynamic principle of relativity.

Among those with whom he collaborated were Professors Kamerlingh Onnes, Zeeman and Einstein, and in 1920 he published a book on "The Einstein Theory of Relativity." An earlier work in English was "The Theory of Electrons, and its Application to the Phenomena of Light and Radiant Heat," based on a course of lectures delivered in New York in 1906. The results of most of his researches will be found, however, in the Proceedings of the Amsterdam Academy. He lectured on several occasions in this country, the most recent being before the Royal Institution in 1923, when he took as his subject "Radiation," and before the Institute of Metals in 1925, when he dealt with "The Motion of Electricity in Metals."

Among the honours conferred on him were the Nobel prize for physics, jointly with Prof. Zeeman, in 1902, the Rumford and Copley Medals of the Royal Society, the Franklin Gold Medal and the honorary degree of Sc.D. of Cambridge University.

The Institution elected him an Honorary Member in 1919.

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