Dirk ter Haar

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Dirk ter Haar (Oosterwolde, 19 April 1919 – Drachten, 3 September 2002) was an Anglo-Dutch physicist.[1]

Dirk ter Haar (Dr., B.Sc., M.Sc., MA, D.Sc., FRSE) studied physics at Leiden University, was research fellow of Niels Bohr in Copenhagen, and received his Ph.D. in Leiden from Hendrik Kramers for a dissertation on the origin of the solar system. In 1949 he became professor of physics at the University of St. Andrews and in 1950 he emigrated to England, where he later became a British citizen. He became a Fellow of Magdalen College and reader in theoretical physics at the University of Oxford.

In 1966 Ter Haar became a corresponding member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences.[2]

Many prominent scientists studied under ter Haar, including Anthony Leggett, winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2003 and Deng Jiaxian, one of the leading scientists and founders of Chinese nuclear weapon programs.

He wrote numerous books on physics, such as Elements of Statistical Mechanics. In addition, he wrote a book on Kramers and was an editor for Physics Letters (later Physics Letters A). In 1984 the book Essays in Theoretical Physics in honour of Dirk ter Haar was published in honour of his work in statistical physics and quantum mechanics.

In 1949 Dirk ter Haar married Christine Janet Lound and together they had two sons and a daughter. His daughter, Gail ter Haar, became a reader in physics too, specialised in therapeutic ultrasound.[3]


  • D. ter Haar, Elements of Statistical Mechanics. London: Constable (1954). 2ed (1966) New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston; 3ed (1995) Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann
  • D. ter Haar and H. Wergeland, Elements of Thermodynamics, Addison-Wesley, 1960
  • D. ter Haar, Elements of Hamiltonian Mechanics, Pergamon Press, Oxford.
  • D. ter Haar, The Old Quantum Theory, Pergamon Press, Oxford, 1967.
  • D. ter Haar, On the Origin of the Solar System, Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Vol.5, Oxford, 1967.
  • D. ter Haar, Lectures on Selected Topics in Statistical Mechanics, Pergamon Press, Oxford, 1977.
  • D. ter Haar, Master of Modern Physics. The Scientific Contributions of H. A. Kramers, Princeton University Press, 1998.


  1. ^ Lamb, Frederick K.; Leggett, Anthony J.; Pethick, Christopher J. (February 2004). "Obituary: Dirk ter Haar". Physics Today. 57 (2): 79–80. Bibcode:2004PhT....57b..79L. doi:10.1063/1.1688082. 
  2. ^ "Dirk ter Haar (1919 - 2002)". Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 24 January 2016. 
  3. ^ The Institute of Cancer Research

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