Lorentz, Hendrik Antoon

born July 18, 1853, Arnhem, Neth.
died Feb. 4, 1928, Haarlem

Dutch physicist.

He taught at the University of Leiden (1878–1912) and later directed Haarlem's Teyler Institute. In 1875 he refined James Clerk Maxwell's theory of electromagnetic radiation so that it explained the reflection and refraction of light. Aiming to devise a single theory to explain the relationship of electricity, magnetism, and light, he later suggested that atoms might consist of charged particles that oscillate and produce light. In 1896 his student Pieter Zeeman (1865–1943) demonstrated this phenomenon (see Zeeman effect), and in 1902 the two men were awarded the second Nobel Prize for Physics. In 1904 Lorentz developed the Lorentz transformations (including the so-called Fitzgerald-Lorentz contraction), mathematical formulas that relate space and time measurements of one observer to those of a second observer moving relative to the first. These formed the basis of Albert Einstein's special theory of relativity.

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▪ Dutch physicist
born July 18, 1853, Arnhem, Neth.
died Feb. 4, 1928, Haarlem
 Dutch physicist and joint winner (with Pieter Zeeman (Zeeman, Pieter)) of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1902 for his theory of electromagnetic radiation, which, confirmed by findings of Zeeman, gave rise to Albert Einstein's special theory of relativity.

      In his doctoral thesis at the University of Leiden (1875), Lorentz refined the electromagnetic theory of James C. Maxwell of England so that it more satisfactorily explained the reflection and refraction of light. He was appointed professor of mathematical physics at Leiden in 1878. His work in physics was wide in scope, but his central aim was to construct a single theory to explain the relationship of electricity, magnetism, and light. Although, according to Maxwell's theory, electromagnetic radiation is produced by the oscillation of electric charges, the charges that produce light were unknown. Since it was generally believed that an electric current was made up of charged particles, Lorentz later theorized that the atoms of matter might also consist of charged particles and suggested that the oscillations of these charged particles (electrons) inside the atom were the source of light. If this were true, then a strong magnetic field ought to have an effect on the oscillations and therefore on the wavelength of the light thus produced. In 1896 Zeeman, a pupil of Lorentz, demonstrated this phenomenon, known as the Zeeman effect, and in 1902 they were awarded the Nobel Prize.

      Lorentz' electron theory was not, however, successful in explaining the negative results of the Michelson-Morley experiment, an effort to measure the velocity of the Earth through the hypothetical luminiferous ether by comparing the velocities of light from different directions. In an attempt to overcome this difficulty he introduced in 1895 the idea of local time (different time rates in different locations). Lorentz arrived at the notion that moving bodies approaching the velocity of light contract in the direction of motion. The Irish physicist George Francis FitzGerald (FitzGerald, George Francis) had already arrived at this notion independently (see Lorentz-FitzGerald contraction, and in 1904 Lorentz extended his work and developed the Lorentz transformations. These mathematical formulas describe the increase of mass, shortening of length, and dilation of time that are characteristic of a moving body and form the basis of Einstein's special theory of relativity. In 1912 Lorentz became director of research at the Teyler Institute, Haarlem, though he remained honorary professor at Leiden, where he gave weekly lectures.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Lorentz, Hendrik Antoon — ► (1853 1928) Físico holandés. Fue premio Nobel de Física en 1902, compartido con P. Zeeman, por sus trabajos sobre la influencia del magnetismo en los fenómenos de radiación. * * * (18 jul. 1853, Arnhem, Países Bajos–4 feb. 1928, Haarlem).… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Lorentz , Hendrik Antoon — (1853–1928) Dutch theoretical physicist Lorentz, who was born at Arnhem in the Netherlands, studied at the University of Leiden and received his doctorate in 1875. In 1877, aged only 24, he became professor of theoretical physics at Leiden. This… …   Scientists

  • LORENTZ, Hendrik Antoon — (1853–1928)    Physicist. After fin ishing his studies of mathematics and physics at Leiden University, Lorentz became a teacher at the high school in his birthplace Arn hem. In 1877, Lorentz was appointed the first professor of theoreti cal… …   Historical Dictionary of the Netherlands

  • Lorentz, Hendrik — Lorentz , Hendrik Antoon …   Scientists

  • Hendrik Antoon Lorentz — Hendrik Antoon Lorentz, gemalt von Menso Kamerlingh Onnes Hendrik Antoon Lorentz (* 18. Juli 1853 in Arnheim; † 4. Februar 1928 in Haarlem) war ein niederländischer …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Hendrik Antoon Lorentz —  Ne doit pas être confondu avec Konrad Lorenz ni Ludvig Lorenz. Hendrik Antoon Lorentz Hendrik Antoon Lorentz en 1916 …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Hendrik Antoon Lorentz — Lorentz en 1921 Nacimiento …   Wikipedia Español

  • Hendrik Antoon Lorentz — (* Arnhem, Holanda, 18 de julio de 1853, † Haarlem, 4 de febrero de 1928). Físico y matemático holandés. Estudió en la Universidad de Leiden, de donde posteriormente fue profesor de física matemática entre 1878 y 1923, y director de investigación …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Hendrik Antoon Lorentz — noun Dutch physicist noted for work on electromagnetic theory (1853 1928) • Syn: ↑Lorentz • Instance Hypernyms: ↑physicist …   Useful english dictionary

  • Lorentz — Hendrik Antoon …   Scientists

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