Cloth $78.00 ISBN: 9789069845197 Published July 2008 Not for sale in the United Kingdom or Europe

Freezing Physics

Heike Kamerlingh Onnes and the Quest for Cold

Dirk van Delft

Freezing Physics

Dirk van Delft

Distributed for Edita-the Publishing House of the Royal

592 pages | 6 2/3 x 9 2/3 | © 2007
Cloth $78.00 ISBN: 9789069845197 Published July 2008 Not for sale in the United Kingdom or Europe
In 1908, Heike Kamerlingh Onnes (1853–1926) liquefied helium for the first time, briefly rendering his Dutch laboratory “the coldest place on earth.” Freezing Physics is the first book to tell the story of Leiden University’s famed cryogenics laboratory and the man behind it, whose scientific accomplishments earned him the Nobel Prize for Physics.
This fascinating portrayal of Kamerlingh Onnes traces his storied career from his first experiments with helium to his later work that opened up unexplored territories of extreme cold, magnetism, and thermodynamics—and cleared the path for the eventual discovery of superconductivity in 1911. Dirk van Delft here illuminates the scientific acuity, managerial talent, and visionary character that equipped Kamerlingh Onnes to almost single-handedly change the course of the history of physics. 



1. Between Schifpot en Noorderhaven

2. That wonderful HBS

3. No drinking binges

4. Heidelberg

5. Restless atoms

6. ‘Maintain and refine’

7. Foucault’s pendulum

8. Delft: corresponding states and other matters

9. To Leiden

10. New heights

11. ‘Door meten tot weten’: knowledge through measurement

12. Monstrosity gets a face-lift

13. The fullness of wisdom

14. Cold war (i)

15. The Lorentz series

16. The Zeeman effect

17. A collection of explosive devices

18. Retrograde condensation

19. Into the breach for Van der Waals

20. The blue-collar boys

21. Stolen rooms and other personnel matters

22. Committee work: a necessary evil

23. Cold war (ii)

24. Old peat and neighbourhood squabbling

25. Die Zustandsgleichung

26. Huize ter Wetering

27. Monsieur Zéro Absolu

28. The quantum and zero-point energy

29. ‘Supra-conductivity’

30. A chocolate from Stockholm

31. World War: turning-point

32. Declining years

33. Successors

34. Duty, joy and harmony

Epilogue: the Kamerlingh Onnes Laboratory


Illustration sources


Sources and abbreviations/terms used in references to sources


Name index

Subject index
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