In consultation with its corresponding section of the NNV, the Chemistry History Group (CHG) has organised this session on Solid State Chemistry and Physics in the 20th Century, where the emphasis is on the role of Dutch scientists. As it will appear from the various abstracts, 2012 is a good year to have such a session. The first of the four presentations will focus on Peter Debye, and it is something of a first in another sense, as the speaker, Jurrie Reiding, will give us the fruit of his work in the Maastricht Debye-archive, on Debye’s American period, which has led to the reconstruction of Debye’s important role in the rise of lattice dynamics (think Debye-temperature), a subject usually associated with Max Born. Among Debye’s many other interests was also an early one in X-Ray diffraction (cf., the Debye-Scherrer method), a then new method which P. Ehrenfest considered of great importance especially for chemists, and this forms the bridge to the second presentation, on the work of the Dutch crystallographers J.M. Bijvoet and W.G. Burgers. The fame of the former rests largely on his development of a method for the determination of the absolute configuration of molecules, while the latter is well-known for his insights into the formation and structure of dislocations. The determination of structures is one thing, predicting them is another one, and establishing relations between structure & physical properties a third one. Evert W. Gorter spent his career pursuing the last two, first in Philips (magnetic materials, like Ferroxdur), and then at Leiden University – and note: this presentation has been put together by two of Gorter’s former graduate students. Gorter’s successor at Leiden, B.G. Hyde, was an avid user of electron microscopy to look at defect oxides (a.o. Magnéli phases), which leads into the final presentation, on the history of this technique. The role of Le Poole (Delft) will be highlighted, Burgers will make a brief reappearance, and the power of the various instruments will be illustrated with examples from material science.
Jurrie Reiding (Nieuwegein), “Peter Debye and the Genesis of Solid State Physics – Commemorating Debye’s 1912 paper on specific heat”
Convener: Rob van Veen, together with Patricia Kooyman & Ernst Homburg.