Hendrik Lorentz, Dutch physicist

Hendrik Lorentz, Dutch physicist

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Credit: AMERICAN PHILOSOPHICAL SOCIETY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

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Caption: Hendrik Lorentz (1853-1928), Dutch theoretical physicist. Lorentz was awarded the Chair of Theoretical Physics at Leyden aged just 24. His thesis and early work centred on the concept of the electron, a term he coined in 1899, showing how vibrating electrons give rise to electromagnetic waves. He worked with Zeeman on the splitting of spectral lines with a magnetic field (Zeeman effect), work for which they shared the 1902 Nobel Prize in Physics. Lorentz showed that moving objects contract in the direction of motion, which was confirmed by Einstein's theory of special relativity.

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