Hendrika Johanna van Leeuwen

Physicist, Academic

1887 – 1974


Who was Hendrika Johanna van Leeuwen?

Hendrika Johanna van Leeuwen was a Dutch physicist, known for her early contributions to the theory of magnetism. She studied at Leiden University under the guidance of Hendrik Antoon Lorentz, obtaining her doctorate in 1919. Her thesis explained why magnetism is an essentially quantum mechanical effect, a result now referred to as the Bohr–van Leeuwen theorem. She continued to investigate magnetic materials at the "Technische Hogeschool Delft", first as "assistant" until 1947, when she was promoted to "lector in de theoretische en toegepaste natuurkunde".

Hendrika van Leeuwen was the sister-in-law of Gunnar Nordstrom, known as the "Einstein of Finland", who studied in Leiden with Paul Ehrenfest, the successor of Lorentz. She was present at the celebration of the golden anniversary of the doctorate of Lorentz, on 11 December 1925, and on that occasion reported on the role of Lorentz as scientist and teacher.

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Jul 3, 1887
The Hague
  • Netherlands
Feb 26, 1974

on July 23, 2013


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