World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article
 

Simon van der Meer

Simon van der Meer
Simon van der Meer (left) and wife are received by Queen Beatrix and Prince Claus in 1985
Born (1925-11-24)24 November 1925
The Hague, The Netherlands
Died 4 March 2011(2011-03-04) (aged 85)
Geneva, Switzerland
Residence Switzerland
Nationality Dutch
Fields Physics
Institutions CERN
Alma mater TU Delft
Known for Stochastic cooling
Notable awards Duddell Medal and Prize (1982)
Nobel Prize in Physics (1984)

Simon van der Meer (24 November 1925 – 4 March 2011) was a Dutch particle accelerator physicist who shared the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1984 with Carlo Rubbia for contributions to the CERN project which led to the discovery of the W and Z particles, two of the most fundamental constituents of matter.[1][2]

Contents

  • Biography 1
  • Work at CERN 2
  • Nobel prize 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5

Biography

One of four children, Simon van der Meer was born and grew up in The Hague, the Netherlands, in the family of teachers.[3] He was educated at the city's gymnasium, graduating in 1943 during the German occupation of the Netherlands. He studied Technical Physics at the Delft University of Technology, and received an engineer's degree in 1952. After working for Philips Research in Eindhoven on high-voltage equipment for electron microscopy for a few years, he joined CERN in 1956 where he stayed until his retirement in 1990.[4][5][6]

He married Catharina M. Koopman in the mid-1960s; they had two children: Esther van der Meer (daughter) and Mathijs van der Meer (son). He also had a sister: Ge van der Meer, and a granddaughter.

Work at CERN

Simon’s contributions to CERN and accelerator physics speak for themselves.[7][8]
These started with magnet design in the 28 GeV Proton Synchrotron (PS) era in the 1950s and the 1961 invention of a pulsed focusing device, known as the ‘van der Meer horn’. Such devices are necessary for long-base-line neutrino facilities and are used even today.

That was followed in the 1960s by the design of a small storage ring for a physics experiment studying the anomalous magnetic moment of the muon. Soon after and in the following decade, he did some very innovative work on the regulation and control of powersupplies for the Intersecting Storage Rings (ISR) and, later, the SPS.

His ISR Collider days in the 1970s led to his technique for luminosity calibration of colliding beams, first used at the ISR and still used today at the LHC, as well as in other colliders.

Last, but not the least was the Nobel Prize-winning idea behind stochastic cooling and the application of that at CERN in the late 1970s and 1980s.

During his work at the ISR, Simon developed a technique using steering magnets to vertically displace the two colliding beams with respect to each other; this permitted the evaluation of the effective beam height, leading to an evaluation of the beam luminosity at an intersection point. The famous ‘van der Meer scans’ are indispensable even today in the LHC experiments; without these, the precision of the calibration of the luminosity at the intersection points in the Collider would be much lower.

For the new SPS machine constructed in the early seventies, he proposed that the generation of the reference voltages for the bending and quadrupole supplies should be based on measurements of the field along the cycle, and gave an outline of the correction algorithms. His proposal resulted in the first ever computer-controlled closed-loop system for a geographically distributed system, as the 7 km circumference SPS was; this was a no simple feat for the early 1970s. Measurements of the main magnet currents were introduced only later, when the SPS had to run as a storage ring for the SPS p–pbar collider.

Van der Meer’s accelerator knowledge and computer programming meant he developed very sophisticated applications and tools to control the antiproton source accelerators as well as the transfer of antiprotons to the SPS Collider for Nobel-winning discoveries. The AA and AC pbar source complex machines remained from 1987 to 1996 the most highly automated set of machines in CERN’s repertoire of accelerators.[9]

His prolific inventiveness to the whole park of accelerators at CERN that run so well today for physics, whether they might be for neutrinos sent to Gran Sasso, colliding proton beams at the LHC, or antiproton physics at the Antiproton Decelerator (AD), owe him an immense amount of gratitude. Likewise, the Fermilab antiproton programme that has been running since 1983–85 and the successes of the p–pbar Tevatron Collider up to 2011 and its discovery of the top quark, owe him considerable gratitude.

Nobel prize

Van der Meer invented the technique of stochastic cooling of particle beams.[10] His technique was used to accumulate intense beams of antiprotons for head-on collision with counter-rotating proton beams at 540 GeV centre-of-mass energy or 270 GeV per beam in the Super Proton Synchrotron at CERN. Such collisions produced W and Z bosons which could be detected for the first time in 1983 by the UA1 experiment, led by Carlo Rubbia. The W and Z bosons had been theoretically predicted some years earlier, and their experimental discovery was considered a significant success for CERN. Van der Meer and Rubbia shared the 1984 Nobel Prize for their decisive contributions to the project.[11]
Without Van der Meer, particle physics would have probably taken a very different course over the 1980's, 1990's and the early 21st century.

Van der Meer and Ernest Lawrence are the only two accelerator physicists who have won the Nobel prize.

References

  1. ^ "The Nobel Prize in Physics 1984".  
  2. ^ Darriulat, Pierre. "The W and Z particles: a personal recollection". CERN Courier 44 (3): 13–16. 
  3. ^ "Obituary: Simon Van der Meer". The Daily Telegraph. 9 March 2011. Retrieved 10 March 2011. 
  4. ^ Telegdi, Val (January 1991). "Simon van der Meer retires". CERN Courier 31 (1): 14–15. 
  5. ^ Simon van der Meer – Biographical. Nobelprize.org (4 March 2011). Retrieved on 3 April 2014.
  6. ^ Caspers, Fritz; Koziol, Heribert; Mohl, Dieter (June 2011). "Simon van der Meer: a quiet giant of engineering and physics". CERN Courier 51 (5): 24–27. 
  7. ^ Chohan, Vinod C (2011). "Simon van der Meer (1925-2011): A modest genius of accelerator science". Rev. Accel. Sci. Technol. 4 (1): 279–291. 
  8. ^  
  9. ^  
  10. ^ Nobel Press Release. Nobelprize.org (17 October 1984). Retrieved on 3 April 2014.
  11. ^ The Economist, "Simon van der Meer", 19 March 2011, p. 96.

External links

  • Carlo Rubbia and Simon van der Meer celebrating the Nobel prize
  • CERN pays tribute to Simon van der Meer
  • Simon van der Meer at Find a Grave
  • Scientific publications of Simon van der Meer on INSPIRE-HEP


This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 


Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.