History in brief

The Lorentz Center is named after Dutch physicist Hendrik Antoon Lorentz, who won the 1902 Nobel Prize in Physics. Lorentz was chairman of the first Solvay Conferences and brought together renowned researchers to discuss results and share ideas.

1995
Three scientists at Leiden University decide to set up a workshop center in the Netherlands. Bert Peletier, Wim van Saarloos and Tim de Zeeuw had come to appreciate workshop centers in their respective fields: mathematics, physics and astronomy. They feel that the Dutch scientific community would benefit from a place to discuss results and ideas in an open and interactive manner.

1997
The Lorentz Center starts in four science disciplines: astronomy, informatics mathematics and physics – aiming at a combination of visitors and workshops. Gerrit van Dijk is the first director and the first workshop is held in March 1997.

1999
Wim van Saarloos becomes the second director of the Lorentz Center. The Lorentz Center begins to support workshop organizers with the practical issues: the first workshop coordinator starts.

2003
The workshops are growing steadily in number and in length. The first scientific advisory boards are established. 

2005
The Lorentz Center sets up a collaboration with NIAS – the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in the humanities and social sciences. The NIAS-Lorentz Program aims to bridge the humanities and social sciences with the natural and technological sciences.


2009
The workshop program reaches its limits in the number of workshops, while most workshops take 5 days. Lorentz Center is well known, with more than 2000 workshop participants from all over the world – 40% Dutch and 40% from other European countries. Plans for a second venue are born. Arjen Doelman becomes the third director of the Lorentz Center.

2011
NWO recognizes the importance of the Lorentz Center for the Dutch scientific community and extends its structural funding to all disciplines of the natural sciences, the humanities and the social sciences. 

2012
Opening of the second workshop venue in the Snellius building, across the street from the first Lorentz Center@Oort venue. The new venue accommodates groups of half the size of the Oort workshops.

2014
The Lorentz Center sets up special collaborations in the computational sciences, with joint annual workshops with CECAM (Centre Européen de Calcul Atomique et Moléculaire) in Lausanne and with NLeSC (the Netherlands e-Science Center) in Amsterdam.

2015
The scientific scope is extended with chemistry and medical sciences. At the request of the governing board of Leiden University, a major expansion is initiated in the humanities and social sciences. Now we organize workshops in all scientific disciplines. 

2017

The Lorentz Center celebrates its 20-year anniversary with its famous boat trip on the Kager Lakes and an impressive exhibition of its workshop announcement posters in the Old University Library and in the city hall of Leiden. 

2019
This year more than 3000 researchers from all over the world visit the Lorentz Center and the number of workshops is still growing. Plans are being made for moving to a new location where we can bring together both venues and facilitate our guests even better, maintaining our unique atmosphere.

 

Follow us on: