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Hendrik Lorentz

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This person won a Nobel Prize
Hendrik Antoon Lorentz
Born(1853-07-18)18 July 1853
Arnhem, Netherlands
Died4 February 1928(1928-02-04) (aged 74)
Haarlem, Netherlands
Alma materUniversity of Leiden
Doctoral advisorPieter Rijke
Doctoral studentsGeertruida L. de Haas-Lorentz
Adriaan Fokker
Leonard Ornstein
Hendrika Johanna van Leeuwen
Known forLorentz transformation
Theory of EM radiation
Lorentz force
Lorentz contraction
Notable awardsNobel Prize for Physics (1902)
Rumford Medal (1908)
Franklin Medal (1917)
Copley Medal (1918)

Hendrik Antoon Lorentz (18 July 1853 – 4 February 1928) was a Dutch physicist. In 1902, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics together with Pieter Zeeman for the discovery and theoretical explanation of the Zeeman effect. He also derived the transformation equations that were later used by Albert Einstein to describe space and time.


Early life

Hendrik Lorentz was born in Arnhem, Gelderland (The Netherlands), the son of Gerrit Frederik Lorentz (1822–1893). In 1862, after his mother's death, his father married Luberta Hupkes.


Lorentz and special relativity

Albert Einstein and Hendrik Antoon Lorentz, photographed by Ehrenfest in front of his home in Leiden in 1921.
In 1905, Einstein would use many of the concepts to write his paper entitled "On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies",[1] known today as the theory of special relativity. Because Lorentz laid the fundamentals for the work by Einstein, this theory was originally called the Lorentz-Einstein theory.[2]

Lorentz and general relativity

Lorentz was one of few scientists who supported Einstein's search for general relativity from the beginning – he wrote several research papers and discussed with Einstein personally and by letter.[3] For instance, he attempted to combine Einstein's formalism with Hamilton's principle (1915).


In January 1928, Lorentz became seriously ill, and died shortly after on February 4.[4]


  1. Einstein, Albert (1905), "Zur Elektrodynamik bewegter Körper", Annalen der Physik 322 (10): 891–921, Bibcode 1905AnP...322..891E , doi:10.1002/andp.19053221004 , . See also: English translation.
  2. Miller, Arthur I. (1981). Albert Einstein’s special theory of relativity. Emergence (1905) and early interpretation (1905–1911). Reading: Addison–Wesley. ISBN 0-201-04679-2 . 
  3. Kox, A.J. (1993). "Einstein, Lorentz, Leiden and general relativity". Class. Quantum Grav. 10: 187. doi:10.1088/0264-9381/10/S/020 . 
  4. Kox, Anne J. (2011). "Hendrik Antoon Lorentz (in Dutch)". Nederlands Tijdschirft voor Natuurkunde 77 (12): 441. 

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