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About usFaculty of Science and EngineeringFrits Zernike

Frits Zernike (1888-1966)

Frits Zernike (1888-1966)

Frits Zernike was born in 1888 in Amsterdam, where he studied chemistry before becoming the assistent to astronomer J.C. Kapteyn in Groningen. In 1915 he became a lecturer in mathematical physics and in 1920 professor in pure physics.

Zernike developed an interest in physical optics in the 1930s which led to his discovery of phase contrast and the invention of the phase contrast microscope.

He also developed a colour phase contrast microscope with American optics specialists and the company Zeiss. This increased the contrast of preparations, making them easier to study.

Zernike received the Nobel Prize for his phase contrast microscope, but also received countless other awards, honorary memberships and doctorates, both nationally and internationally, for his work in the field of physics.

Zernike with the phase contrast microscope (left) and the galvanometer (right)
Zernike with the phase contrast microscope (left) and the galvanometer (right)
Frits Zernike receives the Nobel Prize (left) and Zernike’s Nobel medal (right)
Frits Zernike receives the Nobel Prize (left) and Zernike’s Nobel medal (right)
Last modified:31 January 2017 11.14 p.m.
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