Hendrik Antoon Lorentz
The Nobel Prize in Physics 1902
Born: 18 July 1853, Arnhem, the Netherlands
Died: 4 February 1928, the Netherlands
Affiliation at the time of the award: Leiden University, Leiden, the Netherlands
Prize motivation: “in recognition of the extraordinary service they rendered by their researches into the influence of magnetism upon radiation phenomena”
Prize share: 1/2
H.A. Lorentz was a Dutch physicist at the Leiden University. After graduating in mathematics and physics, he worked as a teacher while he was studying for his doctorate degree. At the age of 24, he became a professor of theoretical physics. Lorentz presented theories that anticipated the theory of relativity and had extensive contact with Einstein. Lorentz also worked to improve dams by developing equations for the movement of water, work that made practical use of his theoretical knowledge.
During the 19th century important connections between electricity, magnetism and light were clarified by Hendrik Lorentz. In 1892 he presented his electron theory, which posited that in matter there are charged particles, electrons, that conduct electric current and whose oscillations give rise to light. Lorentz’s electron theory could explain Pieter Zeeman’s discovery in 1896 that the spectral lines corresponding to different wavelengths split up into several lines under the influence of a magnetic field.
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