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Simon van der Meer

Simon van der MeerBorn: 24-Nov-1925
Birthplace: The Hague, Netherlands
Died: 4-Mar-2011
Location of death: Geneva, Switzerland
Cause of death: unspecified

Gender: Male
Religion: Agnostic [1]
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Physicist

Nationality: Netherlands
Executive summary: Co-Discovered W and Z particles

Dutch physicist Simon van der Meer proposed a technique for stochastic cooling of particle beams in 1968, which was first used experimentally in 1972, much to van der Meer's surprise he had considered the idea "far-fetched", and invested much of his time and energy making contingency plans for subsequent research after the technique failed. Instead his stochastic beam cooling technique proved that antimatter beams could be concentrated with sufficient strength to collide proton and antiproton beams in the Super Proton Synchrotron at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN). Carlo Rubbia's team used this technology to discover the charged subatomic particles W+ and W and the neutral Z0 bosons in 1983, and Rubbia and van der Meer shared the next year's Nobel Prize for Physics.


[1] "As a physicist, you have to have a split personality to be able to believe in a god."

Father: Pieter van der Meer (teacher)
Mother: Jetske Groeneveld
Sister: Gay van der Meer
Wife: Catharina M. Koopman (m. 1966, until his death)
Daughter: Esther (b. 1968)
Son: Mathijs (b. 1970)

    University: PhD Physics, Delft University of Technology (1952)

    IOP Duddell Medal 1982
    Nobel Prize for Physics 1984 (with Carlo Rubbia)
    CERN Physicist (1956-)
    Philips Physicist, Eindhoven Research Laboratory (1952-56)
    American Academy of Arts and Sciences Foreign Member, 1984
    Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences 1984
    Dutch Ancestry
    Asteroid Namesake 9678 van der Meer


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