Heike Kamerlingh Onnes
|Heike Kamerlingh Onnes|
|Born||Heike Kamerlingh Onnes
21 September 1853
|Died||21 February 1926
|Institutions||University of Leiden
|Alma mater||Heidelberg University
University of Groningen
|Doctoral advisor||Rudolf Adriaan Mees|
|Other academic advisors||Robert Bunsen
|Doctoral students||Jacob Clay
Wander de Haas
Ewoud van Everdingen
|Notable awards||Nobel Prize in Physics (1913)|
Heike Kamerlingh Onnes (21 September 1853 – 21 February 1926) was a Dutch physicist and Nobel laureate. He pioneered refrigeration techniques and used these to explore how materials behave when cooled to nearly absolute zero. He was the first to liquefy helium. His production of extreme cryogenic temperatures led to his discovery of superconductivity in 1911: for certain materials, electrical resistance abruptly vanishes at very low temperatures.
Early years 
In 1870, Kamerlingh Onnes attended the University of Groningen. He studied under Robert Bunsen and Gustav Kirchhoff at the University of Heidelberg from 1871 to 1873. Again at Groningen, he obtained his masters in 1878 and a doctorate in 1879. His thesis was "Nieuwe bewijzen voor de aswenteling der aarde" (tr. New proofs of the rotation of the earth). From 1878 to 1882 he was assistant to Johannes Bosscha, the director of the TU Delft (then Delft Polytechnic), for whom he substituted as lecturer in 1881 and 1882.
He was married to Maria Adriana Wilhelmina Elisabeth Bijleveld (m. 1887) and had one child, named Albert. His brother Menso Kamerlingh Onnes (1860–1925) was a fairly well known painter (and father of another painter, Harm Kamerlingh Onnes), while his sister Jenny married another famous painter, Floris Verster (1861–1927).
University of Leiden 
From 1882 to 1923 Kamerlingh Onnes served as professor of experimental physics at the University of Leiden. In 1904 he founded a very large cryogenics laboratory and invited other researchers to the location, which made him highly regarded in the scientific community. The laboratory is known now as Kamerlingh Onnes Laboratory.
Liquefaction of helium 
On July 10, 1908, he was the first to liquify helium, using a number of precooling stages and the Hampson-Linde cycle based on the Joule-Thomson effect. This way he lowered the temperature to the boiling point of helium (-269 °C, 4.2 K). By reducing the pressure of the liquid helium he achieved a temperature near 1.5 K. These were the coldest temperatures achieved on earth at the time. The equipment employed is at the Boerhaave Museum in Leiden.
In 1911 Kamerlingh Onnes measured the electrical conductivity of pure metals (mercury, and later tin and lead) at very low temperatures. Some scientists, such as William Thomson (Lord Kelvin), believed that electrons flowing through a conductor would come to a complete halt or, in other words, metal resistivity would become infinitely large at absolute zero. Others, including Kamerlingh Onnes, felt that a conductor's electrical resistance would steadily decrease and drop to nil. Augustus Matthiessen pointed out when the temperature decreases, the metal conductivity usually improves or in other words, the electrical resistivity usually decreases with a decrease of temperature.
On April 8, 1911, Kamerlingh Onnes found that at 4.2 K the resistance in a solid mercury wire immersed in liquid helium suddenly vanished. He immediately realized the significance of the discovery (as became clear when his notebook was deciphered a century later). He reported that "Mercury has passed into a new state, which on account of its extraordinary electrical properties may be called the superconductive state". He published more articles about the phenomenon, initially referring to it as "supraconductivity" and, only later adopting the term "superconductivity.".
Kamerlingh Onnes received widespread recognition for his work, including the 1913 Nobel Prize in Physics for (in the words of the committee) "his investigations on the properties of matter at low temperatures which led, inter alia, to the production of liquid helium".
Some of the instruments he devised for his experiments can be seen at the Boerhaave Museum in Leiden. The apparatus he used to first liquefy helium is on display in the lobby of the physics department at Leiden University, where the low temperature lab is also named in his honor. His student and successor as director of the lab Willem Hendrik Keesom was the first person who was able to solidify helium, in 1926.
Honors and awards 
Selected publications 
- Kamerlingh Onnes, H., "Nieuwe bewijzen voor de aswenteling der aarde." Ph.D. dissertation. Groningen, Netherlands, 1879.
- Kamerlingh Onnes, H., "Algemeene theorie der vloeistoffen." Amsterdam Akad. Verhandl; 21, 1881.
- Kamerlingh Onnes, H., "On the Cryogenic Laboratory at Leyden and on the Production of Very Low Temperature." Comm. Phys. Lab. Univ. Leiden; 14, 1894.
- Kamerlingh Onnes, H., "Théorie générale de l'état fluide." Haarlem Arch. Neerl.; 30, 1896.
- Kamerlingh Onnes, H., "Further experiments with liquid helium. C. On the change of electric resistance of pure metals at very low temperatures, etc. IV. The resistance of pure mercury at helium temperatures." Comm. Phys. Lab. Univ. Leiden; No. 120b, 1911.
- Kamerlingh Onnes, H., "Further experiments with liquid helium. D. On the change of electric resistance of pure metals at very low temperatures, etc. V. The disappearance of the resistance of mercury." Comm. Phys. Lab. Univ. Leiden; No. 122b, 1911.
- Kamerlingh Onnes, H., "Further experiments with liquid helium. G. On the electrical resistance of pure metals, etc. VI. On the sudden change in the rate at which the resistance of mercury disappears." Comm. Phys. Lab. Univ. Leiden; No. 124c, 1911.
- Kamerlingh Onnes, H., "On the Lowest Temperature Yet Obtained." Comm. Phys. Lab. Univ. Leiden; No. 159, 1922.
See also 
- Timeline of low-temperature technology
- Timeline of states of matter and phase transitions
- Coldest temperature achieved on earth
- List of Nobel laureates
- History of superconductivity
- Dirk van Delft, Freezing physics, Heike Kamerlingh Onnes and the quest for cold, edited by Edita KNAW, Amsterdam, 2007.
- "The Nobel Prize in Physics 1913: Heike Kamerlingh Onnes". Nobel Media AB. Retrieved 24 April 2012.
- Matthiessen, A. Philosophical Transactions; 1862 and also Philosophical Transactions; 1864
- The Discovery of Superconductivity
- Howard, Irmgard (2002). "H Is for Enthalpy, Thanks to Heike Kamerlingh Onnes and Alfred W. Porter". Journal of Chemical Education (ACS Publications) 79 (6): 697. Bibcode:2002JChEd..79..697H. doi:10.1021/ed079p697.
- "Milestones:List of IEEE Milestones". IEEE Global History Network. IEEE. Retrieved 29 July 2011.
Further reading 
- de Bruyn Ouboter, Rudolf (March 1997). "Heike Kamerlingh Onnes’s Discovery of Superconductivity" (PDF). Scientific American 276 (3): 98–103.
- Laesecke, Arno (May–June 2002). "Through Measurement to Knowledge: The Inaugural Lecture of Heike Kamerlingh Onnes (1882)" (PDF). Journal of Research of the National Institute of Standards and Technology 107 (3): 261–277.
- Reif-Acherman, Simón (June 2004). "Heike Kamerlingh Onnes: Master of Experimental Technique and Quantitative Research" (PDF). Physics in Perspective 6 (2): 197–223. Bibcode:2004PhP.....6..197R. doi:10.1007/s00016-003-0193-8.
- Van Delft, D. "Freezing Physics: Heike Kamerlingh Onnes and the Quest for Cold"
- Levelt-Sengers, J. M. H., "How fluids unmix : discoveries by the School of Van der Waals and Kamerlingh Onnes". Amsterdam, Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie van Wetenschappen, 2002. ISBN 90-6984-357-9
- Kamerlingh Onnes, Heike, (Gavroglou, Kōstas. [ed.], and Goudaroulis, Yorgos [ed.]) "Through measurement to knowledge : the selected papers of Heike Kamerlingh Onnes (1853-1926)". Dordrecht, Boston, Kluwer Academic Publishers, c1991. Goudaroulis, Yorgos. ISBN 0-7923-0825-5
- International Institute of Refrigeration (First International Commission), "Rapports et communications issus du Laboratoire Kamerlingh Onnes". International Congress of Refrigeration (7th; 1936; La Hauge), Amsterdam, 1936.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Heike Kamerlingh Onnes|
- Scientists of the Dutch School Kamerlingh Onnes, Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences
- Albert van Helden Heike Kamerlingh Onnes 1853 – 1926 In: K. van Berkel, A. van Helden, and L. Palm ed., A History of Science in The Netherlands. Survey, Themes and Reference (Leiden: Brill, 1999) 491 - 494.
- Nobel Prize, Physics 1913—official site.
- Helium liquefier, G.J. Flim, Leiden, 1908 Drawing of the Physics Laboratory in Leiden, 1921 - Boerhaave Museum Dutch National Museum of the History of Science and Medicine.
- About Heike Kamerlingh Onnes, Nobel-winners.com.
- Eric W. Weisstein, Onnes.html Kamerlingh Onnes, Heike (1853-1926).
- Dirk Reimer, "Historical background", A Guide to Superconductivity. 1997.
- Museum Boerhaave Negen Nederlandse Nobelprijswinnaars
- J. van den Handel, Kamerlingh Onnes, Heike (1853-1926), in Biografisch Woordenboek van Nederland. (In Dutch).
- Biography of Heike Kamerlingh Onnes (1853 – 1926) at the National library of the Netherlands.
- Leiden University historical web site