Lorentz, Hendrik Antoon

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Lorentz, Hendrik Antoon

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Hendrik Antoon Lorentz was born in Arnhem, Netherlands, in 1853. He studied at the University of Leiden, earning a degree in mathematics and physics in 1871. He began teaching at evening schools and at the same time pursued his doctoral research. At the age of 22 he received his doctorate for work on the theory of reflection and refraction of light. Three years later, the University of Leiden created a chair for theoretical physics specifically for him. His studies focus on the theory of light and electromagnetism. In 1902, Lorentz received the Nobel Prize in Physics, together with his compatriot Pieter Zeeman, for “their research into the influence of magnetism upon radiation phenomena.” In 1912 he accepted the post of curator of the physical cabinet at the Teyler Museum, Haarlem, and also became Secretary of the Royal Dutch Society of the Science (Hollandsche Maatschappij der Wetenschappen). He continued to teach at Leiden until his death. Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) established the Lorentz Medal in his honour in 1926. Lorentz died in Haarlem in 1928.

A polyglot and internationalist, Lorentz was nominated a member of the International Committee on Intellectual Cooperation (ICIC) in 1923 to replace Albert Einstein. Although Einstein joined again the next year, both stayed members of the ICIC from 1924 on, increasing the total number of ICIC members to fourteen. Henri Bergson, President of the ICIC, had recommended his election at the Council of the LN. In 1925, Lorentz succeeded Bergson as President of the ICIC and held this position until his death. It was on his initiative that in September 1926 the Dutch Committee of Intellectual Cooperation was founded. When he died in 1928, his colleagues Albert Einstein (member of the ICIC) and Jules Destrée (Vice-President of the ICIC) gave his funeral speech.


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International Committee on Intellectual Cooperation

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Lorentz was President of the ICIC from 1925 to 1928.

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Created by Marie Caillot 26/10/2011. English translation by Jan Stöckmann 11-08-2015.




  • UNESCO Archives, Archival Group 1: IICI / 01. IICI. Bulletin de la Section d'Information et de Documentation, n°17, février 1928, p. 1.
  • UNESCO Archives, Archival Group 1: IICI / 01. IICI. Bulletin de la Section d'Information et de Documentation, n°18, mars 1928, p. 1-7.
  • UNESCO Archives, Archival Group 1: boîte 3. IICI. A. I. 16. Correspondance avec le Président de la CICI. (1924-1946). 24 pièces concernant H. A. Lorentz, dont : 3 lettres manuscrites d’H. A. Lorentz à Julien Luchaire, directeur de l’IICI (28 février 1926, 26 décembre 1926, 3 avril 1927) et 1 lettre manuscrite d’Albert Einstein au Dr. Prezzolini, chef de la Section d’Information de l’IICI [au sujet de la notice nécrologique qu’il doit écrire pour H.A. Lorentz], datée du 3 mars 1928.
  • UNESCO Archives, Archival Group 1 : CICI/461. Organisation de Coopération intellectuelle, "Les Commissions nationales de Coopération intellectuelle", Genève 1937, "Pays-Bas", p. 104-107.
  • Broglie, L. de. "Notice sur la vie et l’œuvre de Hendrik Antoon Lorentz", 10 décembre 1951 in Institut de France, Académie des sciences. Notices et discours. T. 3 : 1948-1956. P. 241-276. Retrieved from: http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k3287f/f292.image.r Accessed 26 October 2011.
  • "Hendrik A. Lorentz. Biography". Site du Prix Nobel. Retrieved from http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/physics/laureates/1902/lorentz-bio.html Accessed 26 October 2011.
  • Renoliet, J.-J. (1999). L'UNESCO oubliée. La Société des Nations et la coopération intellectuelle (1919-1946). Paris : Publications de la Sorbonne. P. 31, 33, 49, 60, 66-67, 71, 74, 85, 181, 184, 210, 213, 268, 323.

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