Posts Tagged ‘Dutch’

PIETER ZEEMAN  (Dutch)  (1865  –  1943)



Zeeman was awarded a Nobel Prize in 1902 for his discovery that the lines produced by passing the light from a flame through a diffraction grating – the spectral lines – were multiplied by a powerful magnetic field.

Each line was replaced by a triplet the additional lines having slighty lower and higher frequencies than the original one.

This effect – the Zeeman effect – showed exactly what light was – a form of energy produced by the movement of electrons. Careful study of the effect enabled Zeeman to calculate the magnetic moments of the nucleir of atoms: others observed that the light emitted near sun spots showed a marked Zeeman effect and realized that sun spots were associated with powerful magnetic fields. Since then Zeeman effect has been used to study magnetic field of other stars. Zeeman was eventually the first person to demonstrate a link between magnetism and light and thus to show that light was part of a spectrum that also included radio waves and x-rays.

No scientist works in a vacuum. God said,’Let there be light’ and there was light. Of course I am dealing with human knowledge that lifts little by little upon the shoulders of fellow men and covers more ground than before. Here we see Zeeman’s work bridging two great physicists Lorenz and Einstein.
from http://www.Answers.com: In 1875 Hendrik Antoon Lorenz refined James Clerk Maxwell’s theory of electromagnetic radiation so that it explained the reflection and refraction of light. Aiming to devise a single theory to explain the relationship of electricity, magnetism, and light, he later suggested that atoms might consist of charged particles that oscillate and produce light. In 1896 his student Pieter Zeeman demonstrated this phenomenon ( Zeeman effect), and in 1902 the two men were awarded the second Nobel Prize for Physics. In 1904 Lorentz developed the Lorentz transformations mathematical formulas that relate space and time measurements of one observer to those of a second observer moving relative to the first. These formed the basis of Albert Einstein’s special theory of relativity.



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After Rembrandt-oldman with flowing beard

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After Rembrandt etching-Clement de Jonghe

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Spinoza, Baruch (1632-1677) Dutch

The greatest of the modern philosophers brought rational approach to the enquiry of great questions like God and human destiny. He laid the groundwork for the 18th century Enlightenment. His masterpiece Ethics never found light of the day in his lifetime. The reason was simple. He was excommunicated* for his heretical thinking from the Jewish community in Amsterdam and the odium of it had preceded his brief life; however stoicism of his race was in his blood as a result of persecution running through centuries, and made him think his own thoughts and make a living by an useful trade of polishing lenses. If he, despite all odds became the greatest ( Frederick Hegel on one occasion speaking to his contemporaries said thus: ‘You are either Spinozit or not a philosopher at all.’) it still owed to his Jewish identity. The fact that he was born a Jew was both a curse and a blessing.
All his works were put on the proscribed list (index librorum prohibitorum) by the Roman Catholic Church. He was greatly influenced by Bruno (1548-1600) whose dictum, ‘all reality is one substance’ naturally would make him oppose Descartes’ mind-body dualism. Bruno perished under inquisition and if the Catholic Church proscribed Spinoza the reason was obvious.
Spinoza’s thinking however latched on to an idea of Descartes that all forms of matter had a ‘homogeneous’ substance, and it propelled him in the direction his precocious mind was taking, and served as light clearing many dark recesses of doubts on way. In 1656 he was excommunicated on charges of heresy and the upshot of it was his father refused to receive him and his sister tried to cheat him out of a small inheritance. (He contested the case in court and won. He duly handed the bequest over to his sister.) Rejected by his family and friends, an assassination attempt on his life made him leave Amsterdam. He changed his name to Bernard de Spinoza and disciplined his life to extreme thrift. He was happy living within his modest means and many influential men of his day found him stimulating and his company congenial. Some of them offered help but he refused stipends and money saying, ‘Nature is satisfied with little; if she is, I am also.’
He finally settled in The Hague in 1670 economically secure and surrounded by rich and powerful friends who looked up to him with great respect.
As a person he was of middle size, his face pleasing, and skin somewhat darker and his hair curly and eyebrows dark and long stamping his Portuguese ancestry in his looks.
Spinoza chose not to found a sect and he founded none and yet philosophy after him was permeated with his thought. The great German polymath Goethe was converted after one reading of Ethics and also was cured of wild romanticism of his past. Spinoza supplied what his yearning soul had sought, dass wir entsagen sollen-‘that we must accept the limitations Nature puts on us.’
There is a statue of him at The Hague erected from public subscription collected from every part of the educated world. At the unveiling of it (1882) Ernest Renan made a moving speech at the conclusion he said thus.’ This man from his granite pedestal, will point out to all men, the way of all blessedness which he found; and ages hence, the cultivated traveler, passing by this spot, will say in his heart, ‘the truest vision ever had of God came, perhaps, here.’

In 1656 the 24-year old Spinoza was summoned before the elders to answer the charges of heresy. One of the sticking points was his doubt regarding the belief in another life. The Synagogue was concerned such a view, contrary to the essence of Christianity would seem inimical to the community that had welcomed them into their midst. For their security in the host country the Dutch Calvinists had to be appeased and no cost was to be reckoned too little. The same mindset that had prompted Caiaphas to say about Jesus was alive in the elders of his time. (‘It was expedient that one man should die for the people’- Jn.18: 14) If the Synagogue had not spared Jesus or Uriel a Costa it was not going to spare the young Spinoza either.
The young skeptic was offered $500 in annuity for his silence and outward loyalty to the Synagogue and his faith. He refused.
On July 27, 1656, he was excommunicated with all the somber formalities of Hebrew ritual. During the reading of the curse, wailing of the great horn was heard and lights were put out one after the other, indicating the quenching of spiritual life of the man under curse. Spinoza took it under quite courage. He did not join another sect for comfort and determined, as he was to seek his own salvation. The form of the Synagogue and shape of elders that guided it was a mode far from the ‘substance’ of God that moved him. Mode pandered to circumstances and compromised wherever it suited while his soul was ever fixed. His life was his proof to his thought.
(ack: Will Durant- The story of Philosophy: Pub. The Washington Square Press-1964)

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