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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index K > Heike Kamerlingh Onnes Quotes

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Heike Kamerlingh Onnes
(21 Sep 1853 - 21 Feb 1926)

Dutch physicist who was awarded the 1913 Nobel Prize for Physics for his work on low-temperature physics in which he liquified hydrogen and helium.

Science Quotes by Heike Kamerlingh Onnes (3 quotes)

According to my views, aiming at quantitative investigations, that is at establishing relations between measurements of phenomena, should take first place in the experimental practice of physics. By measurement to knowledge [door meten tot weten] I should like to write as a motto above the entrance to every physics laboratory.
— Heike Kamerlingh Onnes
'The Significance of Quantitative Research in Physics', Inaugural Address at the University of Leiden (1882). In Hendrik Casimir, Haphazard Reality: Half a Century of Science (1983), 160-1.
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The experiment left no doubt that, as far as accuracy of measurement went, the resistance disappeared. At the same time, however, something unexpected occurred. The disappearance did not take place gradually but abruptly. From 1/500 the resistance at 4.2K, it could be established that the resistance had become less than a thousand-millionth part of that at normal temperature. Thus the mercury at 4.2K has entered a new state, which, owing to its particular electrical properties, can be called the state of superconductivity.
— Heike Kamerlingh Onnes
'Investigations into the Properties of Substances at low Temperatures, which have led, amongst other Things, to the Preparation of Liquid Helium', Nobel Lecture (11 Dec 1913). In Nobel Lectures in Physics 1901-1921 (1967), 333.
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The first time the appearance of the liquid had really escaped our observation. [L]ater on we clearly saw the liquid level get hollow by the blowing of the gas from the valve The surface of the liquid was soon made clearly visible by reflection of light from below and that unmistakably, because it was clearly pierced by the two wires of the thermoelement. After the surface had once been seen, the sight of it was no more lost. It stood out sharply defined like the edge of a knife against the glass wall.
— Heike Kamerlingh Onnes
In 'The Liquefaction of Helium', Communication No. 108 from the Physical Laboratory at Leiden, Proceedings of the Royal Academy of Amsterdam (1909), 11, Part 1, 181.
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Carl Sagan Thumbnail In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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