His Contributions To Structural Chemistry In Relation To Physical Properties
Jacob van Dijk and Kees Plug
This year we commemorate that prof. E.W. Gorter was born 100 years ago. In 1964 he became professor of inorganic chemistry at Leiden University, as the successor of prof. A.E. van Arkel. He flourished in this setting, but he also faced serious health problems, which resulted in his too early death at 59.
After Gorter completed his studies in inorganic chemistry with Van Arkel, he moved to the UK to become a Ramsey fellow as a start to a scientific career. The war, however, strongly interfered with this, and he joined the Princess Irene brigade doing war-related work in London, under the leadership of prof. J.H. de Boer. After the war he moved to Philips Eindhoven (Nat Lab), where he played a pivotal role in the understanding of the structures & magnetic properties of ferri-magnetic oxides. Philips commercialised cubic-spinel derived compounds under the brand-name of Ferroxcube as well as some specific hexagonal ferrites under the brand-name Ferroxdur.
In the presentation it will be endeavoured to highlight some of the special contributions E.W. Gorter made during his career. It will also be tried to place him in the context of a scientific tradition in Leiden. The authors, Jacob van Dijk and Kees Plug, took a university degree under his direction, and indeed are happy to have been among his first students. Due to the limited time-span of his professorship in Leiden, the importance of some of his contributions may not have received appropriate recognition.