## The Most Famous

# PHYSICISTS from Netherlands

This page contains a list of the greatest Dutch Physicists. The pantheon dataset contains 851 Physicists, 24 of which were born in Netherlands. This makes Netherlands the birth place of the 7th most number of Physicists behind Russia, and Italy.

## Top 10

The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary Dutch Physicists of all time. This list of famous Dutch Physicists is sorted by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on a biography’s online popularity. Visit the rankings page to view the entire list of Dutch Physicists.

### 1. Christiaan Huygens (1629 - 1695)

With an HPI of 78.11, Christiaan Huygens is the most famous Dutch Physicist. His biography has been translated into 99 different languages on wikipedia.

Christiaan Huygens, Lord of Zeelhem, ( HY-gənz, US also HOY-gənz; Dutch: [ˈkrɪstijaːn ˈɦœyɣə(n)s] ; also spelled Huyghens; Latin: Hugenius; 14 April 1629 – 8 July 1695) was a Dutch mathematician, physicist, engineer, astronomer, and inventor who is regarded as a key figure in the Scientific Revolution. In physics, Huygens made seminal contributions to optics and mechanics, while as an astronomer he studied the rings of Saturn and discovered its largest moon, Titan. As an engineer and inventor, he improved the design of telescopes and invented the pendulum clock, the most accurate timekeeper for almost 300 years. A talented mathematician and physicist, his works contain the first idealization of a physical problem by a set of mathematical parameters, and the first mathematical and mechanistic explanation of an unobservable physical phenomenon. Huygens first identified the correct laws of elastic collision in his work De Motu Corporum ex Percussione, completed in 1656 but published posthumously in 1703. In 1659, Huygens derived geometrically the formula in classical mechanics for the centrifugal force in his work De vi Centrifuga, a decade before Newton. In optics, he is best known for his wave theory of light, which he described in his Traité de la Lumière (1690). His theory of light was initially rejected in favour of Newton's corpuscular theory of light, until Augustin-Jean Fresnel adapted Huygens's principle to give a complete explanation of the rectilinear propagation and diffraction effects of light in 1821. Today this principle is known as the Huygens–Fresnel principle. Huygens invented the pendulum clock in 1657, which he patented the same year. His horological research resulted in an extensive analysis of the pendulum in Horologium Oscillatorium (1673), regarded as one of the most important 17th century works on mechanics. While it contains descriptions of clock designs, most of the book is an analysis of pendular motion and a theory of curves. In 1655, Huygens began grinding lenses with his brother Constantijn to build refracting telescopes. He discovered Saturn's biggest moon, Titan, and was the first to explain Saturn's strange appearance as due to "a thin, flat ring, nowhere touching, and inclined to the ecliptic." In 1662 Huygens developed what is now called the Huygenian eyepiece, a telescope with two lenses to diminish the amount of dispersion. As a mathematician, Huygens developed the theory of evolutes and wrote on games of chance and the problem of points in Van Rekeningh in Spelen van Gluck, which Frans van Schooten translated and published as De Ratiociniis in Ludo Aleae (1657). The use of expected values by Huygens and others would later inspire Jacob Bernoulli's work on probability theory.

### 2. Hendrik Lorentz (1853 - 1928)

With an HPI of 75.95, Hendrik Lorentz is the 2nd most famous Dutch Physicist. His biography has been translated into 101 different languages.

Hendrik Antoon Lorentz (; 18 July 1853 – 4 February 1928) was a Dutch physicist who shared the 1902 Nobel Prize in Physics with Pieter Zeeman for the discovery and theoretical explanation of the Zeeman effect. He derived the Lorentz transformation of the special theory of relativity, as well as the Lorentz force, which describes the combined electric and magnetic forces acting on a charged particle in an electromagnetic field. Lorentz was also responsible for the Lorentz oscillator model, a classical model used to describe the anomalous dispersion observed in dielectric materials when the driving frequency of the electric field was near the resonant frequency of the material, resulting in abnormal refractive indices. According to the biography published by the Nobel Foundation, "It may well be said that Lorentz was regarded by all theoretical physicists as the world's leading spirit, who completed what was left unfinished by his predecessors and prepared the ground for the fruitful reception of the new ideas based on the quantum theory." He received many other honours and distinctions, including a term as chairman of the International Committee on Intellectual Cooperation, the forerunner of UNESCO, between 1925 and 1928. He was the father and doctoral advisor of Geertruida de Haas-Lorentz.

### 3. Daniel Bernoulli (1700 - 1782)

With an HPI of 75.63, Daniel Bernoulli is the 3rd most famous Dutch Physicist. His biography has been translated into 80 different languages.

Daniel Bernoulli ( bur-NOO-lee; Swiss Standard German: [ˈdaːni̯eːl bɛrˈnʊli]; 8 February [O.S. 29 January] 1700 – 27 March 1782) was a Swiss mathematician and physicist and was one of the many prominent mathematicians in the Bernoulli family from Basel. He is particularly remembered for his applications of mathematics to mechanics, especially fluid mechanics, and for his pioneering work in probability and statistics. His name is commemorated in the Bernoulli's principle, a particular example of the conservation of energy, which describes the mathematics of the mechanism underlying the operation of two important technologies of the 20th century: the carburetor and the aeroplane wing.

### 4. Gerard 't Hooft (b. 1946)

With an HPI of 73.53, Gerard 't Hooft is the 4th most famous Dutch Physicist. His biography has been translated into 73 different languages.

Gerardus (Gerard) 't Hooft (Dutch: [ˈɣeːrɑrt ət ˈɦoːft]; born July 5, 1946) is a Dutch theoretical physicist and professor at Utrecht University, the Netherlands. He shared the 1999 Nobel Prize in Physics with his thesis advisor Martinus J. G. Veltman "for elucidating the quantum structure of electroweak interactions". His work concentrates on gauge theory, black holes, quantum gravity and fundamental aspects of quantum mechanics. His contributions to physics include a proof that gauge theories are renormalizable, dimensional regularization and the holographic principle.

### 5. Pieter Zeeman (1865 - 1943)

With an HPI of 73.45, Pieter Zeeman is the 5th most famous Dutch Physicist. His biography has been translated into 93 different languages.

Pieter Zeeman (Dutch: [ˈzeːmɑn]; 25 May 1865 – 9 October 1943) was a Dutch physicist who shared the 1902 Nobel Prize in Physics with Hendrik Lorentz for his discovery of the Zeeman effect.

### 6. Johannes Diderik van der Waals (1837 - 1923)

With an HPI of 72.63, Johannes Diderik van der Waals is the 6th most famous Dutch Physicist. His biography has been translated into 93 different languages.

Johannes Diderik van der Waals (Dutch pronunciation: [joːˈɦɑnəz ˈdidərɪk fɑn dər ˈʋaːls] ; 23 November 1837 – 8 March 1923) was a Dutch theoretical physicist and thermodynamicist famous for his pioneering work on the equation of state for gases and liquids. Van der Waals started his career as a schoolteacher. He became the first physics professor of the University of Amsterdam when in 1877 the old Athenaeum was upgraded to Municipal University. Van der Waals won the 1910 Nobel Prize in physics for his work on the equation of state for gases and liquids. His name is primarily associated with the Van der Waals equation of state that describes the behavior of gases and their condensation to the liquid phase. His name is also associated with Van der Waals forces (forces between stable molecules), with Van der Waals molecules (small molecular clusters bound by Van der Waals forces), and with Van der Waals radii (sizes of molecules). James Clerk Maxwell once said that, "there can be no doubt that the name of Van der Waals will soon be among the foremost in molecular science." In his 1873 thesis, Van der Waals noted the non-ideality of real gases and attributed it to the existence of intermolecular interactions. He introduced the first equation of state derived by the assumption of a finite volume occupied by the constituent molecules. Spearheaded by Ernst Mach and Wilhelm Ostwald, a strong philosophical current that denied the existence of molecules arose towards the end of the 19th century. The molecular existence was considered unproven and the molecular hypothesis unnecessary. At the time Van der Waals's thesis was written (1873), the molecular structure of fluids had not been accepted by most physicists, and liquid and vapor were often considered as chemically distinct. But Van der Waals's work affirmed the reality of molecules and allowed an assessment of their size and attractive strength. His new formula revolutionized the study of equations of state. By comparing his equation of state with experimental data, Van der Waals was able to obtain estimates for the actual size of molecules and the strength of their mutual attraction. The effect of Van der Waals's work on molecular physics in the 20th century was direct and fundamental. By introducing parameters characterizing molecular size and attraction in constructing his equation of state, Van der Waals set the tone for modern molecular science. That molecular aspects such as size, shape, attraction, and multipolar interactions should form the basis for mathematical formulations of the thermodynamic and transport properties of fluids is presently considered an axiom. With the help of the Van der Waals's equation of state, the critical-point parameters of gases could be accurately predicted from thermodynamic measurements made at much higher temperatures. Nitrogen, oxygen, hydrogen, and helium subsequently succumbed to liquefaction. Heike Kamerlingh Onnes was significantly influenced by the pioneering work of Van der Waals. In 1908, Onnes became the first to make liquid helium; this led directly to his 1911 discovery of superconductivity.

### 7. Heike Kamerlingh Onnes (1853 - 1926)

With an HPI of 70.97, Heike Kamerlingh Onnes is the 7th most famous Dutch Physicist. His biography has been translated into 88 different languages.

Heike Kamerlingh Onnes (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈɦɛikə ˈkaːmərlɪŋ ˈɔnəs]; 21 September 1853 – 21 February 1926) was a Dutch physicist and Nobel laureate. He exploited the Hampson–Linde cycle to investigate how materials behave when cooled to nearly absolute zero and later to liquefy helium for the first time, in 1908. He also discovered superconductivity in 1911.

### 8. Peter Debye (1884 - 1966)

With an HPI of 68.17, Peter Debye is the 8th most famous Dutch Physicist. His biography has been translated into 75 different languages.

Peter Joseph William Debye (; Dutch: [dəˈbɛiə]; March 24, 1884 – November 2, 1966) was a Dutch-American physicist and physical chemist, and Nobel laureate in Chemistry.

### 9. Frits Zernike (1888 - 1966)

With an HPI of 67.33, Frits Zernike is the 9th most famous Dutch Physicist. His biography has been translated into 73 different languages.

Frits Zernike (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈfrɪtˈsɛrnikə]; 16 July 1888 – 10 March 1966) was a Dutch physicist and winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1953 for his invention of the phase-contrast microscope.

### 10. Simon van der Meer (1925 - 2011)

With an HPI of 66.29, Simon van der Meer is the 10th most famous Dutch Physicist. His biography has been translated into 71 different languages.

Simon van der Meer (24 November 1925 – 4 March 2011) was a Dutch particle accelerator physicist who shared the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1984 with Carlo Rubbia for contributions to the CERN project which led to the discovery of the W and Z particles, the two fundamental communicators of the weak interaction.

#### People

Pantheon has 24 people classified as Dutch physicists born between 1629 and 1946. Of these 24, 2 (8.33%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living Dutch physicists include Gerard 't Hooft, and Kees Schouhamer Immink. The most famous deceased Dutch physicists include Christiaan Huygens, Hendrik Lorentz, and Daniel Bernoulli.

### Living Dutch Physicists

Go to all Rankings### Deceased Dutch Physicists

Go to all Rankings## Christiaan Huygens

1629 - 1695

**HPI:**78.11## Hendrik Lorentz

1853 - 1928

**HPI:**75.95## Daniel Bernoulli

1700 - 1782

**HPI:**75.63## Pieter Zeeman

1865 - 1943

**HPI:**73.45## Johannes Diderik van der Waals

1837 - 1923

**HPI:**72.63## Heike Kamerlingh Onnes

1853 - 1926

**HPI:**70.97## Peter Debye

1884 - 1966

**HPI:**68.17## Frits Zernike

1888 - 1966

**HPI:**67.33## Simon van der Meer

1925 - 2011

**HPI:**66.29## Nicolaas Bloembergen

1920 - 2017

**HPI:**65.88## Martinus J. G. Veltman

1931 - 2021

**HPI:**64.92## Jan Ingenhousz

1730 - 1799

**HPI:**59.63

#### Overlapping Lives

Which Physicists were alive at the same time? This visualization shows the lifespans of the 21 most globally memorable Physicists since 1700.