Johan Peter Holtsmark

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Johan Peter Holtsmark
Johan Peter Holtsmark.jpg
Born (1894-02-13)13 February 1894
Asker, Norway
Died (1975-12-10)10 December 1975 (aged 81)
Bærum, Norway
Nationality Norwegian
Alma mater University of Kristiania
Known for Holtsmark field distribution
Scientific career
Fields Physics
Institutions Norwegian Institute of Technology
University of Oslo

Johan Peter Holtsmark (February 13, 1894 – December 10, 1975) was a Norwegian physicist, who studied spectral line broadening and electron scattering. In 1929, while at the Norwegian Institute of Technology, Holtsmark established acoustics research laboratories, focusing on architectural acoustics and sound insulation. Holtsmark was also a consultant for the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK) throughout the 1930s.[1][2][3]

Together with the Swedish physicist Hilding Faxén published Holtsmark a work in 1927 about scattering of electrons in gases.[4] Here they introduced a new, mathematical method based upon partial waves. This is now standard and described in almost every modern book on quantum mechanics.

Between 1934 and 1937 he led the construction of a Van de Graaff accelerator at the Norwegian Institute of Technology, which became the first particle accelerator to go into operation in Scandinavia.[5]

Holtsmark was one of the founding fathers of CERN and represented Norway to the European Council for Nuclear Research[6], which later led into the establishment of the organization itself.

He was awarded the Fridtjof Nansen Excellent Research Award in 1969, was a fellow of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters from 1925 and the Royal Norwegian Society of Sciences and Letters from 1926.[3]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Johan Peter Holtsmark". Store norske leksikon (in Norwegian). Retrieved 22 April 2014. 
  3. ^ a b Holtebekk, Trygve. "J Holtsmark". In Helle, Knut. Norsk biografisk leksikon (in Norwegian). Oslo: Kunnskapsforlaget. Retrieved 22 April 2014. 
  4. ^ H. Faxén und J.P. Holtsmark, Beitrag zur Theorie des Durchganges langsamer Elektronen durch Gase, Zeitschrift für Physik 45, 307–324 (1927).
  5. ^ Wittje, Roland (2007). "Nuclear Physics in Norway, 1933-1955". Physics in Perspective. 9 (4): 406–433. Bibcode:2007PhP.....9..406W. doi:10.1007/s00016-006-0317-z. 
  6. ^ 2nd Session of the European Council for Nuclear Research : Minutes of the session (Report). CERN. October 15, 1952. CERN/GEN/2. Retrieved September 20, 2017. 
Preceded by
Carl Semb
Recipient of the Fridtjof Nansen Excellent Research Award in Science
Succeeded by
Lorentz Eldjarn