Rob Herber

“Nicolaas Bloembergen, one of the most well-known Dutch physicists, is the subject of this biography, which provides a personal portrait of Bloembergen. Bloembergen was born in 1920 in Dordrecht, and he went on to study physics at the University of Utrecht before moving to the United States after World War II. He eventually became a citizen of the United States in 1958. At Harvard University, he was a pioneer in the fields of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), laser theory, and nonlinear optics. NMR is used in chemistry and biology for the identification of structures, and it ultimately led to the development of MRI. It was in 1981 when he was presented with the Nobel Prize in Physics alongside Arthur Schawlow and Kai Siegbahn. In 1978, he was given the Lorentz Medal for his contribution to the theory of nonlinear optics (which is used in fiber optics), and in 1981, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in physics.

This book is based on numerous conversations that the author had with Nicolaas Bloembergen himself, as well as with his wife Deli Brink, his family, and his colleagues in the scientific community. His early life, including his education in Bilthoven and Utrecht, his postwar years at Harvard, the invention of masers and lasers, and his receipt of the Nobel Prize are covered in this biography. In addition to this, it investigates Bloembergen’s involvement in American politics, specifically his part in the contentious “Star Wars” program that Ronald Reagan initiated.”