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Archive J.C. Francken

Description of the collection of J.C. Francken

Brief overview

Subject: J.C. Francken (1919-2007), professor of engineering physics

Name of the archive: Archive Francken

Dated: 1965-1984

Size: 11 binders, 5 notebooks and 2 archive boxes

Language of the materials: Dutch, German, French

requests: uklu Francken

Collection number: UBG033

Institute: University of Groningen

Retainer: University Library Groningen

Provenance and acquisition


This archive was gifted to the University Museum by Professor J.C. Francken on 20 february 1998.

Future additions

No future additions are expected.


Professor J.C. Francken was born 29 March 1919 in Soerabaja (formerly part of the Dutch East Indies). In 1937 he graduated from the high school in Medan, where his father was the principal. He left the Dutch East Indies to study at the technical college in Delft, now known as the Technical University Delft. Here he studied Physics, and successfully passed his propaedeutic exams in 1939. After this, he went to visit his parents in Semarang, intending to return to his studies by September. This did not turn out as planned, he instead spent six years in the Koninklijk Nederlandsch-Indisch Leger (K.N.I.L.). He was a prisoner of war from march 1942 until august 1945, having been captured by the Japanese imperial army. He returned to Delft in 1946, and passed his exams in 1948, being awarded the title of Ingenieur (Engineer), focusing on studying electron optics under the supervision of professor H.B. Dorgelo. In 1949 Francken started working for Philips, at their physics laboratory in Eindhoven. Here, he once again focused on electron optics, now under the guidance of professor H.B. Casimir. His projects at Philips included studying electron optics of the Cathode-ray tube in early television sets. He also wrote a dissertation on the subject, under the supervision of professor Dorgelo in Delft. This led to him being awarded his doctorate degree, with high distinction for his dissertation ‘electron Optics of the Image Iconoscope’. After a period of heading up his own division at the Philips laboratory, Francken was installed as Professor of engineering physics at the University of Groningen on 1 august 1962, following a royal decree issued on 3 july 1962.

From then on, until his retirement in 1984, J.C. Francken worked tirelessly to get engineering physics recognized as an important and valuable branch of physics, and to get it recognized as an official degree programme. In 1971, the University of Groningen added engineering physics as an official degree programme, and set up a doctoral exam and the accompanying title ingenieur (engineer). Whilst in Groningen, Francken diversified his research, from the optical qualities of magnetic electron lenses to the object lens of the electron microscope. After retirement, Francken focused on methods of harvesting solar energy and improving their efficiency.

Professor Jan Carel Francken passed away 15 january 2007 in Baarn.

Instructions for users of the archive


The collection is accessible for research purposes. To look at the collection, a University Library Access Pass is required.

Limitations to use

The materials in this collection are available for viewing only. They cannot be borrowed. When consulting this collection, the rules set out in the Reglement voor de gebruikers van de Bibliotheek der Rijksuniversiteit Groningen apply. Reproductions, insofar as they are allowed are to be made in line with the rules set out in the Tarieven en diensten Bibliotheek der Rijksuniversiteit Groningen.

Accessing the collection

An inventory of the collection is available. 


When referencing (works from) the collection, the following information must be provided:

Groningen University Library, Archief Francken


Materials in this collection can be requested through the online Library Catalogue (Smartcat) orby sending an email to Special Collections Department.


Last modified:06 January 2023 1.39 p.m.
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