Nisha Rathode

Hendrik Casimir

Updated on
Share on FacebookTweet on TwitterShare on LinkedIn
Residence  Netherlands
Name  Hendrik Casimir
Doctoral advisor  Paul Ehrenfest
Fields  Physics
Alma mater  University of Leiden
Education  Leiden University
Nationality  Dutch
Role  Physicist

Hendrik Casimir httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediacommonsthu
Born  July 15, 1909 The Hague, Netherlands (1909-07-15)
Institutions  University of Leiden Philips Natuurkundig Laboratorium
Doctoral students  Hendrik Gerard van Bueren
Died  May 4, 2000, Heeze, Netherlands
Books  Haphazard reality, On the interaction between atomic nuclei and electrons
Similar People  Dirk Polder, Paul Ehrenfest, Wander Johannes de Haas, Carolyne Van Vliet

Other notable students  Carolyne M. Van Vliet

Hendrik Brugt Gerhard Casimir ForMemRS (July 15, 1909 – May 4, 2000) was a Dutch physicist best known for his research on the two-fluid model of superconductors (together with C. J. Gorter) in 1934 and the Casimir effect (together with D. Polder) in 1948.


Hendrik Casimir Tijdelijke Academie Tuencyclopedie


Hendrik Casimir Hendrik Casimir Dutch physicist Stock Image C0118197 Science

He studied theoretical physics at the University of Leiden under Paul Ehrenfest, where he received his Ph.D. in 1931. His Ph.D. thesis dealt with the quantum mechanics of a rigid spinning body and the group theory of the rotations of molecules. During that time he also spent some time in Copenhagen with Niels Bohr. After receiving his Ph.D. he worked as an assistant to Wolfgang Pauli at ETH Zurich. In 1938, he became a physics professor at Leiden University. At that time, he was actively studying both heat conduction and electrical conduction, and contributed to the attainment of millikelvin temperatures.

In 1942, during World War II, Casimir moved to the Philips Natuurkundig Laboratorium (Philips Physics Laboratory, NatLab) in Eindhoven, the Netherlands. He remained an active scientist and in 1945 wrote a well-known paper on Lars Onsager's principle of microscopic reversibility. He became a co-director of Philips NatLab in 1946 and a member of the board of directors of the company in 1956. He retired from Philips in 1972.

Although he spent much of his professional life in industry, Hendrik Casimir was one of the great Dutch theoretical physicists. Casimir made many contributions to science during his years in research from 1931 to 1950. These contributions include: pure mathematics, Lie groups (1931); hyperfine structure, calculation of nuclear quadrupole moments, (1935); low temperature physics, magnetism, thermodynamics of superconductors, paramagnetic relaxation (1935 - 1942); applications of Onsager's theory of irreversible phenomena (1942 - 1950). He helped found the European Physical Society and became its president from 1972 till 1975. In 1979 he was one of the key speakers at CERN's 25th anniversary celebrations. In 1946 he became member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences.

While at Philips NatLab, in 1948 Casimir, collaborating with Dirk Polder, predicted the quantum mechanical attraction between conducting plates now known as the Casimir effect, which has important consequences in Micro Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS), among others.

He was awarded six honorary doctor degrees by universities outside the Netherlands. He received numerous awards and prizes, among them the illustrious IRI Medal from the Industrial Research Institute in 1976. He was a Foreign Associate of the National Academy of Engineering.


  • Casimir, H. B. G. (1940). Magnetism and Very Low Temperatures. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. 
  • H. B. G. Casimir, Haphazard Reality: half a century of science (Harper & Row, New York, 1983); Casimir's autobiography in English. ISBN 0-06-015028-9
  • H. B. G. Casimir, Het toeval van de werkelijkheid: Een halve eeuw natuurkunde (Meulenhof, Amsterdam, 1992); Casimir's autobiography in Dutch. ISBN 90-290-9709-4
  •; H. B. G. Casimir, and D. Polder, The Influence of Retardation on the London-van der Waals Forces, Physical Review, Vol. 73, Issue 4, pp. 360–372 (1948).
  •; H. B. G. Casimir, On the attraction between two perfectly conducting plates, Proceedings of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, Vol. 51, pp. 793–795 (1948).
  •; H. B. G. Casimir, and J. Ubbink, "The Skin Effect", "Philips Technical Review", Vol. 28, pp; 300-315 (1967)
  • References

    Hendrik Casimir Wikipedia

    Similar Topics
    Carolyne Van Vliet
    Dirk Polder
    Paul Ehrenfest