Frits Zernike

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Zernike, Frits


Born July 16, 1888, in Amsterdam; died Mar. 10, 1966, in Groningen. Dutch physicist. Member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences (1946).

After graduating from the University of Amsterdam, Zernike received the degree of doctor of science from the university in 1915. He joined the staff of the University of Groningen in 1913 and served as a full professor from 1920 to 1958. Zernike’s principal works deal with such areas as optics and mathematical statistics. He made contributions to the theory of optical instruments, particularly the telescope and microscope. He discovered the phase-contrast principle in 1935 and subsequently built the first phase-contrast microscope. For his invention of the phase-contrast microscope, Zernike received a Nobel Prize in 1953.


“Das Phasenkontrastverfahren bei der mikroskopischen Beobachtung.” Zeitschrift für technische Physik, 1935, year 16, no. 11.
“Phase Contrast, a New Method for the Microscopic Observation of Transparent Objects.” Physica, 1942, vol. 9, nos. 7 and 10.
“Wie ich den Phasenkontrast entdeckte.” Physikalische Blätter, 1955, year 11, issue 4.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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