|Born||May 25, 1865|
|Died||October 9, 1943 (aged 78)|
|Alma mater||University of Leiden|
|Known for||Zeeman effect|
|Awards||Nobel Prize for Physics (1902)|
|Institutions||University of Amsterdam|
|Doctoral advisor||Heike Kamerlingh Onnes|
Pieter Zeeman (Zonnemaire, May 25, 1865 – Amsterdam, October 9, 1943) (IPA [ze:mɑn]) was a Dutch physicist who shared the 1902 Nobel Prize in Physics with Hendrik Lorentz for his discovery of the Zeeman effect.
Childhood and youth
Pieter Zeeman was born in Zonnemaire, a small town on the island of Schouwen-Duiveland, Netherlands to Catharinus Forandinus Zeeman, a minister of the Dutch Reformed Church, and Willemina Worst.
He was early on already interested in physics. In 1883, the Aurora borealis happened to be visible in the Netherlands. Zeeman, then a student of the high school in Zierikzee, made a drawing and description of the phenomenon and submitted that to Nature, where it was published. The editor praised "the careful observations of Professor Zeeman from his observatory in Zonnemaire", which should have been pleasing to the high school student.
After finishing high school in 1883 he went to Delft for supplementary education in classical languages, then a requirement for admission to University. He stayed at the home of Dr. J.W. Lely, co-principal of the gymnasium and brother of Cornelis Lely, who was responsible for the concept and realization of the Zuiderzee Works. While in Delft, he first met Heike Kamerlingh Onnes, who was to become his thesis advisor.
Education and early career
After Zeeman passed the qualification exams in 1885, he studied physics at the University of Leiden under Kamerlingh Onnes and Hendrik Lorentz. In 1890, already before finishing his thesis, he became Lorentz' assistant. This allowed him to participate in a research program on the Kerr effect. In 1893, he submitted his doctor's thesis that was devoted to the Kerr effect, on the reflection of polarized light on a magnetized surface. After obtaining his doctorate, he went for half a year to F. Kohlrausch' institute in Strasbourg. In 1895, after returning from Strasbourg, Zeeman became Privatdozent in mathematics and physics in Leiden. The same year he married Johanna Elisabeth Lebret (1873–1962); they had three daughters and one son.
In 1896, three years after submitting his thesis on the Kerr effect, he made the discovery of what is now known as the Zeeman effect. As an extension of his thesis research, he began investigating the effect of magnetic fields on a light source. He discovered that a spectral line is split into several components in the presence of a magnetic field. Lorentz first heard about Zeeman's observations on Saturday, October 31, 1896 at the meeting of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences in Amsterdam, where these results were communicated by Kamerlingh Onnes. The next Monday, Lorentz called Zeeman in his office and presented him with an explation of his observations, based on Lorentz' theory of electromagnetic radiation.
The importance of Zeeman's discovery became soon apparent. It confirmed Lorentz' prediction about the polarization of light emitted in the presence of a magnetic field. Because of Zeeman's work, it appeared that the oscillating particles that according to Lorentz were the source of light emission were negatively charged, and were a thousandfold lighter than the hydrogen atom. This conclusion was reached well before Thomson's discovery of the electron. The Zeeman effect thus became an important tool for elucidating the structure of the atom.
Professor in Amsterdam
Because of his discovery, Zeeman was offered a position as lecturer in Amsterdam in 1897, and in 1900 followed his promotion to professor of physics at the University of Amsterdam. In 1902, he received the Nobel Prize for Physics for the discovery of the Zeeman effect, together with his former mentor Lorentz. Five years later, in 1908, he succeeded Van der Waals as full professor and Director of the Physics Institute in Amsterdam.
In 1923, a new laboratory was built in Amsterdam, which in 1940 was renamed Zeeman Laboratory. This new facility allowed him to pursue refined investigation of the Zeeman effect. For the remainder of his career, he remained interested in research in Magneto-Optics. He also investigated the propagation of light in moving media. This subject became the focus of a renewed interest because of special relativity, and enjoyed keen interest from Lorentz and Einstein. Later in his career he became interested in Mass spectrometry.
In 1898, Zeeman was elected member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences in Amsterdam, and he served as its secretary from 1912 to 1920. He won the Henry Draper Medal in 1921, and several other awards and Honorary degrees.
He became Emeritus professor in 1935.
Zeeman died on October 9, 1943 in Amsterdam, and was interred in Haarlem.
- Nobel Prize for Physics (1902)
- Matteucci Medal (1912)
- Henry Draper Medal (1921)
- Rumford Medal (1922)
- Zeeman, Pieter (1897). "The Effect of Magnetisation on the Nature of Light Emitted by a Substance". Nature. 55: 347. Unknown parameter
- Lodge, Oliver (February 11, 1897). "The Influence of a Magnetic Field on Radiation Frequency". Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. 60: 513–514.
- Larmor, J (February 11, 1897). "The Influence of a Magnetic Field on Radiation Frequency". Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. 60: 514–515.
- Zeeman, P (1914). "Fresnel's coefficient for light of different colours. (First part)". Royal Netherlands Academy of Art and Sciences, Proceedings. 17 (I): 445–451.
- Zeeman, P (1915). "Fresnel's coefficient for light of different colours. (Second part)". Royal Netherlands Academy of Art and Sciences, Proceedings. 18 (I): 398–408.
- Zeeman effect
- Atom and Atomic Theory
- Bohr-Sommerfeld model
- Fresnel drag coefficient
- Light-dragging effects
References and further reading
- Paul Forman, "Alfred Landé and the anomalous Zeeman Effect, 1919-1921", Historical Studies in the Physical Sciences, Vol. 2, 1970, 153-261.
- Kox, AJ (1997). "The discovery of the electron: II. The Zeeman effect". Eur. J. Phys. 18 (3): 139–144. doi:10.1088/0143-0807/18/3/003. Unknown parameter
- Spencer, J. Brookes (1970). "On the Varieties of Nineteenth-Century Magneto-Optical Discovery". Isis. 61: 34–51. doi:10.1086/350577.
- Rayleigh (1944). "Pieter Zeeman. 1865-1943". Obituary Notices of Fellows of the Royal Society. 4 (13): 591–595.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Pieter Zeeman.|
- Albert van Helden Pieter Zeeman 1865 – 1943 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) 606 - 608.
- biography at the Nobel e-museum and Nobel Lecture.
- Museum Boerhaave Negen Nederlandse Nobelprijswinnaars
- P.F.A. Klinkenberg, Zeeman, Pieter (1865-1943), in Biografisch Woordenboek van Nederland.
- Biography of Pieter Zeeman (1865 – 1943) at the National library of the Netherlands.
- Anne J. Kox, Wetenschappelijke feiten en postmoderne fictie in de wetenschapsgeschiedenis, Inaugural lecture (1999).
- Pim de Bie, prof.dr. P. Zeeman Zonnemaire 25 mei 1865 - Amsterdam 9 oktober 1943 Gravesite of Pieter Zeeman
- Pieter Zeeman, Bijzondere collecties Leiden.
- photo & short info