Dirk Coster

Dirk Coster (October 5, 1889 – February 12, 1950), was a Dutch physicist. He was a Professor of Physics and Meteorology at the University of Groningen.

Coster was born in Amsterdam. On February 26, 1919, he married Lina Maria Wijsman, who held a degree in Oriental languages. Eventually, she was one of the first women to obtain a doctorate degree in this field from the University of Leiden. Dirk and Miep had two sons and two daughters (Hendrik, Ada, Els, and Herman). Coster is known as the co-discoverer of Hafnium (Hf) (element 72) in 1923, along with George de Hevesy, by means of X-ray spectroscopic analysis of zirconium ore. The discovery took place in Copenhagen, Denmark. Hafnia is the Latin name for Copenhagen.

Dirk Coster

Childhood and education

Coster grew up in Amsterdam in a large working-class family; he was the third child of Barend Coster, a blacksmith, and Aafje van der Mik. The Coster family valued education. Ten of their children survived to adulthood and all received enough education to go onto middle-class professions. From 1904 to 1908 Dirk went to the Teacher's College in Haarlem, then was a teacher until 1913. With the aid of private support he was able to study mathematics and physics at the University of Leiden, first having passed the exams required for students who had no gymnasium education. In Leiden he was influenced by the inspiring lectures of Paul Ehrenfest, and in 1916 he obtained his M.Sc. degree. From 1916 to 1920 Coster was assistant of Lodewijk Siertsema and Wander de Haas at the Delft University of Technology, where in 1919 he obtained an Engineer's degree in electrical engineering. In 1920 and 1921 he did research at Lund University under Manne Siegbahn, on X-ray spectroscopy of different elements. Coster's thesis was on this subject, and he obtained his Ph.D. degree in 1922 in Leiden under Paul Ehrenfest; his thesis was entitled "Röntgenspectra en de atoomtheorie van Bohr" (X-ray spectra and Bohr's atomtheory).[1]

Academic career

From August 1922 until the summer of 1923, Coster worked in Niels Bohr's Institute in Copenhagen. Within a few months he co-authored a landmark publication with Bohr, on X-ray spectroscopy and the periodic system of the elements. In addition he worked with chemist George de Hevesy on the identification of element No. 72. Element 72 had been known to be a gap in the sequence of elements since 1914, when Henry Moseley created an experimental technique for placing the elements in a definite sequence. Radiochemist Fritz Paneth suggested that element 72 might be found in ores of zirconium. (Some histories incorrectly attribute this suggestion to physicist Niels Bohr.) Bohr published a prediction of the electronic configuration of element 72 in 1923. von Hevesy had been working with Bohr at the time.

After Coster returned from Copenhagen he became Hendrik Lorentz' assistant at the Teylers Museum in Haarlem, where he developed an X-ray spectrometer. In 1924 he was appointed at the University of Groningen, where he was the successor of Wander de Haas. At Groningen he started an active research program in X-ray spectroscopy.

In 1934 Coster became member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences.[2]

Later years

Coster was politically involved. In 1938 he traveled to Berlin to convince Lise Meitner that she had to leave Germany to escape[1] the persecution of the Jews. Together they went by train to Groningen; at the Dutch border, Coster persuaded German immigration officers that she had permission to travel to the Netherlands. From there she went on to Sweden by way of Copenhagen.

During the German occupation of Holland, Coster also helped Jews hide from the Nazis and listened to the BBC on a daily basis using a bicycle-powered radio. He died in Groningen.

The asteroid 10445 Coster[2] is named after Dirk Coster.


  • Coster, D (July 1923). "Röntgenspektren und Bohrsche Atomtheorie". Naturwissenschaften. 11 (27): 567–577. Bibcode:1923NW.....11..567C. doi:10.1007/BF01554353. ISSN 0028-1042.
  • Bohr, N; Coster, D (December 1923). "Röntgenspektren und periodisches System der Elemente". Zeitschrift für Physik A. 12 (1): 342–374. Bibcode:1923ZPhy...12..342B. doi:10.1007/BF01328104. ISSN 0939-7922.
  • Coster, D; von Hevesey, G (January 20, 1923). "On the missing element of atomic number 72". Nature. 111 (2777): 79. Bibcode:1923Natur.111...79C. doi:10.1038/111079a0.
  • Coster, D; de Laer Kronig, R (1935). "A new type of Auger effect and its influence on the x-ray spectrum". Physica. 2 (1): 13–24. Bibcode:1935Phy.....2...13C. doi:10.1016/S0031-8914(35)90060-X.

See also

References and further reading

  1. ^ Dirk Coster (1922). "Röntgenspectra en de atoomtheorie van Bohr" (PDF).
  2. ^ "D. Coster (1889 - 1950)". Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 19 July 2015.

External links

1923 in science

The year 1923 in science and technology involved some significant events, listed below.

Adriaan Fokker

Adriaan Daniël Fokker (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈaːdriaːn ˈdaːniɛl ˈfɔkər]; 17 August 1887 – 24 September 1972) was a Dutch physicist and musician. He was the inventor of the Fokker organ, a 31-tone equal-tempered organ.

Canon of Dutch Literature

The Basisbibliotheek (canon of Dutch literature) comprises a list of 1000 works of Dutch Literature culturally important to the cultural heritage of the Low Countries, and is published on the DBNL. Several of these works are lists themselves; such as early dictionaries, lists of songs, recipes, biographies or encyclopedic compilations of information such as mathematical, scientific, medical or plant reference books. Other items include early translations of literature from other countries, history books, and first-hand diaries and published correspondence. Notable original works can be found by author name.

What follows is the list of the first 500 works, leading up to the early 20th century.


Coster is a Dutch occupational surname. Notable people with the surname include:

Anne Vallayer-Coster (1744-1818), French painter

Arnold Coster (born 1976), Dutch mountaineers

Charles Coster (1837-1888), American soldier and public official

Charles De Coster (1827-1879), Belgian novelist

Dick Coster (born 1946), Dutch sailor, father of Sven and Kalle Coster

Dirk Coster (1889–1950), Dutch physicist

Coster–Kronig transition named after him

Elizabeth Coster (born 1982), New Zealand swimmer

Francis Coster (1532-1619), Flemish Jesuit theologian

Herman Coster (1865-1899), Dutch lawyer and soldier

Howard Coster (1885-1959), British photographer

Janet Coster, English operatic mezzo-soprano

John Coster (1838–1886), New Zealand politician

Kalle Coster (born 1982), Dutch sailor, son of Dick Coster

Keith Coster (1920-2012), South African army officer

Laurens Janszoon Coster (c. 1370-c. 1440), Dutch printer

Moses Elias Coster (c.1791–1848), Dutch diamond cutter

Nick Coster (born 1985), Dutch footballer

Nicolas Coster (born 1934), British-born American actor

Ritchie Coster (born 1967), English actor

Salomon Coster (c. 1620-1659), Dutch clockmaker

Samuel Coster (1579–1665), Dutch playwright

Stan Coster (1930-1997), Australian country musician

Sven Coster (born 1978), Dutch sailor, son of Dick Coster

Tom Coster (born 1941), American musician, father of Tommy

Tommy Coster (born 1966), American keyboardist and composer, son of Tom

Tracy Coster (born 1966), Australian country music singer

Willem Jacobszoon Coster (1590–1640), Dutch Governor of CeylonCoster-WaldauNikolaj Coster-Waldau (born 1970), Danish actor

Nukaaka Coster-Waldau (born 1971), Greenlandic singer, actress, and model

Coster–Kronig transition

The Coster–Kronig transition is a special case of the Auger process in which the vacancy is filled by an electron from a higher subshell of the same shell. If, in addition, the electron emitted (the "Auger electron") also belongs to the same shell, one calls this a super Coster–Kronig transition.

The Coster–Kronig process is named after the physicists Dirk Coster and Ralph Kronig.

Delft University of Technology

Delft University of Technology (Dutch: Technische Universiteit Delft) also known as TU Delft, is the largest and oldest Dutch public technological university, located in Delft, Netherlands. It counts as one of the best universities for engineering and technology worldwide, typically seen within the top 20. It is repeatedly considered the best university of technology in the Netherlands.With eight faculties and numerous research institutes, it hosts over 19,000 students (undergraduate and postgraduate), more than 2,900 scientists, and more than 2,100 support and management staff.The university was established on 8 January 1842 by William II of the Netherlands as a Royal Academy, with the main purpose of training civil servants for the Dutch East Indies. The school rapidly expanded its research and education curriculum, becoming first a Polytechnic School in 1864, Institute of Technology in 1905, gaining full university rights, and finally changing its name to Delft University of Technology in 1986.Dutch Nobel laureates Jacobus Henricus van 't Hoff, Heike Kamerlingh Onnes, and Simon van der Meer have been associated with TU Delft. TU Delft is a member of several university federations including the IDEA League, CESAER, UNITECH International, and 4TU.

E. du Perron

Charles Edgar du Perron, more commonly known as E. du Perron, was a famous and influential Dutch poet and author of Indo-European descent. Best known for his literary acclaimed masterpiece Land van herkomst (Land of origin) of 1935. Together with Menno ter Braak and Maurice Roelants he founded the short-lived, but influential literary magazine Forum in 1932.

E. du Perron, born in Meester Cornelis, Batavia, Java, Dutch East Indies on 2 November 1899, and died in Bergen, North Holland, the Netherlands on 14 May 1940, descended from French aristocracy. Most probably his bloodline can be traced back to the legendary Jean Roch du Perron (Born in Bulhon, in Auvergne, France in 1756 – Died in Batavia, Dutch East Indies in 1808).

George de Hevesy

George Charles de Hevesy (German: Georg Karl von Hevesy; 1 August 1885 – 5 July 1966) was a Hungarian radiochemist and Nobel Prize in Chemistry laureate, recognized in 1943 for his key role in the development of radioactive tracers to study chemical processes such as in the metabolism of animals. He also co-discovered the element hafnium.

Group 4 element

Group 4 is a group of elements in the periodic table.

It contains the elements titanium (Ti), zirconium (Zr), hafnium (Hf) and rutherfordium (Rf). This group lies in the d-block of the periodic table. The group itself has not acquired a trivial name; it belongs to the broader grouping of the transition metals.

The three Group 4 elements that occur naturally are titanium, zirconium and hafnium. The first three members of the group share similar properties; all three are hard refractory metals under standard conditions. However, the fourth element rutherfordium (Rf), has been synthesized in the laboratory; none of its isotopes have been found occurring in nature. All isotopes of rutherfordium are radioactive. So far, no experiments in a supercollider have been conducted to synthesize the next member of the group, unpentoctium (Upo, element 158), and it is unlikely that they will be synthesized in the near future.


Hafnium is a chemical element with symbol Hf and atomic number 72. A lustrous, silvery gray, tetravalent transition metal, hafnium chemically resembles zirconium and is found in many zirconium minerals. Its existence was predicted by Dmitri Mendeleev in 1869, though it was not identified until 1923, by Coster and Hevesy, making it the last stable element to be discovered. Hafnium is named after Hafnia, the Latin name for Copenhagen, where it was discovered.Hafnium is used in filaments and electrodes. Some semiconductor fabrication processes use its oxide for integrated circuits at 45 nm and smaller feature lengths. Some superalloys used for special applications contain hafnium in combination with niobium, titanium, or tungsten.

Hafnium's large neutron capture cross-section makes it a good material for neutron absorption in control rods in nuclear power plants, but at the same time requires that it be removed from the neutron-transparent corrosion-resistant zirconium alloys used in nuclear reactors.

Index of physics articles (D)

The index of physics articles is split into multiple pages due to its size.

To navigate by individual letter use the table of contents below.

Lise Meitner

Lise Meitner (; German: [ˈmaɪtnɐ]; 7 November 1878 – 27 October 1968) was an Austrian-Swedish physicist who worked on radioactivity and nuclear physics. Meitner, Otto Hahn and Otto Robert Frisch led the small group of scientists who first discovered nuclear fission of uranium when it absorbed an extra neutron; the results were published in early 1939. Meitner, Hahn and Frisch understood that the fission process, which splits the atomic nucleus of uranium into two smaller nuclei, must be accompanied by an enormous release of energy. Nuclear fission is the process exploited by nuclear reactors to generate heat and, subsequently, electricity. This process is also one of the basics of nuclear weapons that were developed in the U.S. during World War II and used against Japan in 1945.

Meitner spent most of her scientific career in Berlin, Germany, where she was a physics professor and a department head at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute; she was the first woman to become a full professor of physics in Germany. She lost these positions in the 1930s because of the anti-Jewish Nuremberg Laws of Nazi Germany, and in 1938 she fled to Sweden, where she lived for many years, ultimately becoming a Swedish citizen.

Meitner received many awards and honors late in her life, but she and Otto Frisch, did not share in the 1944 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for nuclear fission that was awarded exclusively to her long-time collaborator Otto Hahn. In the 1990s, the records of the committee that decided on that prize were opened. Based on this information, several scientists and journalists have called her exclusion "unjust", and Meitner has received many posthumous honors, including naming chemical element 109 meitnerium in 1992. Despite not having been awarded the Nobel Prize, Lise Meitner was invited to attend the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting in 1962.

List of Delft University of Technology faculty

This is an incomplete list of notable faculty at TU Delft .

List of the Delft University of Technology Alumni

This is an incomplete list of TU Delft graduates.

Niels Bohr

Niels Henrik David Bohr (Danish: [nels ˈboɐ̯ˀ]; 7 October 1885 – 18 November 1962) was a Danish physicist who made foundational contributions to understanding atomic structure and quantum theory, for which he received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1922. Bohr was also a philosopher and a promoter of scientific research.

Bohr developed the Bohr model of the atom, in which he proposed that energy levels of electrons are discrete and that the electrons revolve in stable orbits around the atomic nucleus but can jump from one energy level (or orbit) to another. Although the Bohr model has been supplanted by other models, its underlying principles remain valid. He conceived the principle of complementarity: that items could be separately analysed in terms of contradictory properties, like behaving as a wave or a stream of particles. The notion of complementarity dominated Bohr's thinking in both science and philosophy.

Bohr founded the Institute of Theoretical Physics at the University of Copenhagen, now known as the Niels Bohr Institute, which opened in 1920. Bohr mentored and collaborated with physicists including Hans Kramers, Oskar Klein, George de Hevesy, and Werner Heisenberg. He predicted the existence of a new zirconium-like element, which was named hafnium, after the Latin name for Copenhagen, where it was discovered. Later, the element bohrium was named after him.

During the 1930s, Bohr helped refugees from Nazism. After Denmark was occupied by the Germans, he had a famous meeting with Heisenberg, who had become the head of the German nuclear weapon project. In September 1943, word reached Bohr that he was about to be arrested by the Germans, and he fled to Sweden. From there, he was flown to Britain, where he joined the British Tube Alloys nuclear weapons project, and was part of the British mission to the Manhattan Project. After the war, Bohr called for international cooperation on nuclear energy. He was involved with the establishment of CERN and the Research Establishment Risø of the Danish Atomic Energy Commission and became the first chairman of the Nordic Institute for Theoretical Physics in 1957.

Paul Ehrenfest

Paul Ehrenfest (18 January 1880 – 25 September 1933) was an Austrian and Dutch theoretical physicist, who made major contributions to the field of statistical mechanics and its relations with quantum mechanics, including the theory of phase transition and the Ehrenfest theorem.

University of Copenhagen Faculty of Science

The Faculty of Science (Danish: Det Natur- og Biovidenskabelige Fakultet) at the University of Copenhagen houses 12 departments, including the Natural History Museum of Denmark. The faculty also encompasses several national and international research centres, and has a number of field stations in Denmark and Greenland, among them the university's Arctic Station in central West Greenland. The faculty's administration is housed at the university's Frederiksberg Campus.

The faculty offers three-year Bachelor of Science (BS), two-year Master of Science (MS) and a three-year Ph.D. degree programmes. There are two main areas of study programmes. One is the mathematical-physical-chemical subject group, which includes mathematics, computer science, actuarial science, mathematical economy, statistics, physics, astronomy, geophysics, meteorology, biophysics, chemistry, environmental chemistry, food science, biochemistry and nano-science. The other is the natural history-geography group, which includes biology, physical education, sports science, geology, geography, geo-informatics, geology-geophysics and bio-informatics. The University was co-founder of the Euroleague for Life Sciences (ELLS) which was established in 2001.

Willy Marckwald

Willy Marckwald (1864, Jakobskirch, Germany – 1942, Rolândia, Brazil) was a German chemist. He was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1922 by Gustav Tammann and again in 1929 by Niels Bohr, Dirk Coster and George de Hevesy.

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