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Frits Zernike (1888-1966)

Frits Zernike (1888-1966)

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

Phase contrast microscope

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.

Nobel prize in Physics

Zernike received the Nobel Prize for his phase contrast microscope in 1953. He 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:22 May 2019 2.07 p.m.
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