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Johannes van der Waals



Johannes van der Waals was a Dutch scientist honored with a Nobel prize in 1910. Many revere the man as the father of molecular sciences and named interatomic forces in his honor.<ref>Science and Technology</ref>


Early Life

was born on November 23, 1837 in Leiden, a small town in The Netherlands.<ref>Nobel Prize Organization</ref> Joannes van der Waals, also known as J.D. van der Waals, became a schoolteacher just after finishing his elementary education. Although J.D. had no knowledge of any classical languages, and had no permission to take academic examinations, he spent his time attending mathematics, physics and astronomy lectures at a University in his hometown, but not enrolled as an official student. It wasn't until the University of Leiden had a provision that enabled outside students to take courses up to four years. <ref>Biography</ref> In 1865, Johannes was appointed as a physics teacher in Deventer and in 1866, he received the same position in The Hague, which is close enough to Leiden to allow van der Waals to resume his classes at the University he was attending.<ref>Biography</ref>


J.D. van der Waals Equation

Johannes van der Waals' stated that his incentive to his life's work "came to me when, after my studies at university, I learned of a treatise by Clausius on the nature of the motion which we call heat. In this treatise he showed how Boyle's law can very readily be derived on the assumption that a gas consists of material points which move at high velocity."<ref>Chemistry Explained</ref> Thus led van der Waals to make his equation of state from his thesis "Over de Continuiteit van den Gas en Vloeistoftoestand" or "On the Continuity of the Liquid and Gaseous State", which was honorably named after him. The equation relates to pressure, volume, and absolute temperature of a mole of some fluid. The equation is stated as shown : ( p + a / V2 ) ( V-b ) = RT this was based on a modification of the ideal gas law. The main importance of van der Waals equation is the recognition that the gas and liquid form of a compound continuously transform into one another.<ref>Van der Waals Equation</ref>


Van der Waals Forces

An attractive force existing, at very short distances, between atoms and molecules of all substances. The force arises as a result of electrons in neighboring atoms or molecules moving in sympathy with each other. This force is responsible for the term a/v2 in van der Waal's equation of state. In many substances it is small compared with other interatomic attractive and repulsive forces present.<ref>Force Explanation</ref>


Later Life

In September 1865, Johannes Diderik got married to eighteen-year-old Anna Magdalena Smit, together they had four children, three daughters and one son. In 1881, at the age of 34, Johannes wife Anna died of tuberculosis. Shaken by her death, Johannes never remarried, and didn't publish anything for about a decade. At the peak of Johannes Diderik's retirement in 1908,he was succeeded by his son Johannes Diderik van der Waals, Jr. He was a theoretical physicist, and the next occupant of the chair. <ref>The Dutch Scientist</ref> A year after his daughter Jacqueline's death, Johannes van der Waals passed away on March 8th, 1923 at the age of 85 in Amsterdam. The cause of death is unspecified.<ref>Death of a Scientist</ref>


Honors

Many honors were given out to Johannes, such as having the famous state of matter equation that is still used today. Van der Waals biggest achievement was earning the nobel prize for physics and for discovering the law of binary mixtures in 1910.<ref>Honor Article</ref> Another major accomplishment made by Johannes was the Van der Waals forces, which was about his explanation between the attractions of atoms or molecules, or more scientifically weak intermolecular interactions.<ref>Van der Waals Forces</ref> In 1887, when the Amsterdam Athanaeum became the new University of Amsterdam, van der Waals was appointed its first Professor of Physics.<ref>Professor van der Waals</ref> Van der Waals was also a member of Royal Netherlands Society of Arts and Sciences, and from 1896 to 1912, he was the secretary of this society.<ref>Scientists of the Dutch School</ref>



References

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