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Pieter Zeeman

Pieter ZeemanBorn: 25-May-1865
Birthplace: Zonnemaire, Netherlands
Died: 9-Oct-1943
Location of death: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Cause of death: Illness
Remains: Buried, Kleverlaan Cemetery, Haarlem, Netherlands

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Physicist

Nationality: Netherlands
Executive summary: Discovered Zeeman Effect

Dutch physicist Pieter Zeeman wrote his first scientific paper while still in high school, and it was accepted and published in Nature with an erroneous attribution to "Professor Zeeman". He studied under Heike Kamerlingh Onnes, and showed that an external magnetic field can cause a shift in the levels of light emitted by a sodium flame. Further investigation with stronger magnets showed that these magneto-optical effects cause certain spectral lines to split into groups of two or three lines.

Now called the Zeeman effect, this finding won Zeeman the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1902, an honor shared with his teacher, Hendrik Lorentz, who had predicted the polarization of light in the presence of a magnetic field. Zeeman's finding gave further credence to quantum effects, as it cannot be fully explained without venturing into quantum theory. His other significant work involved establishing the equivalence of gravitational and inertial mass, the study of mass spectrometry, and the propagation of light in such media as water, quartz, and flint. His students included Samuel Goudsmit, who developed the concept of electron spin.

Father: Catharinus Forandinus Zeeman (Lutheran minister)
Mother: Wilhelmina Worst
Wife: Johanna Elisabeth Lebret (b. 1873, m. 1895, d. 1962, three daughters, one son)

    High School: Zierikzee Gymnasium, Zierikzee, Netherlands
    University: PhD Physics, University of Leiden (1893)
    Scholar: Physics, University of Leiden (1890-93)
    Scholar: University of Strasbourg (1893-95)
    Teacher: Mathematics and Physics, University of Leiden (1895-97)
    Teacher: Physics, University of Amsterdam (1897-1900)
    Professor: Physics, University of Amsterdam (1900-35)
    Administrator: Physics Institute, University of Amsterdam (1908-35)

    Baumgartner Prize 1899
    Nobel Prize for Physics 1902 (with Hendrik Lorentz)
    Matteucci Medal 1912
    Henry Draper Medal 1921
    Rumford Medal 1922
    Benjamin Franklin Medal 1925 (by the Franklin Institute)
    Commander of the Order of the Netherlands Lion
    Knight of the Order of Orange-Nassau
    Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences 1898
    Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences Secretary (1912-20)
    Dutch Ancestry

Author of books:
Researches in Magneto-Optics (1913, physics)

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