Our Famous Relatives

It's always exciting to receive new information from distant relatives. But when I received an e-mail from an eighth cousin, it brought some especially interesting news that he and I were related to, not just one but, two Nobel Prize winners! Although they certainly knew each other, Hendrik Lorentz and Heike Kamerlingh Onnes likely did not know they were fifth cousins.

Hendrik Antoon Lorentz

Photo

Second cousin, twice removed.

When asked who were the greatest men, the most powerful thinkers he had known, Albert Einstein answered without hesitation, "Lorentz".

The influence of Lorentz's work in the world of physics can't be overestimated. His work in understanding why objects shorten as they travel faster was fundamental to Einstein's relativity theory. Lorentz is also known for first postulating the existence of the electron as well as determining the hydraulic effects of the land reclamation project in the Zuyder Zee.

Lunar Farside Crater

Location: 32.6N 95.3W
Diameter: 312.0km

Additional Information

. Nobel Prize Biography
.  Another Biography
.  Lorentz & the Electron

Heike Kamerlingh Onnes

Photo

Fourth cousin, twice removed. Also, fifth cousin, twice removed.

Heike Kamerlingh Onnes is best known for his pioneering work in investigating the properties of matter at very low temperatures. His Nobel Prize was awarded to him specifically for this work. One of his discoveries had no practical use until well after his death: superconductivity.

He is also known for snubbing Albert Einstein. In 1901, Einstein sent a letter to Kamerlingh Onnes applying for a position at the University of Leiden. But, Kamerlingh Onnes never responded to Einstein's letter.

Lunar Farside Crater

Location: 15.0N 115.8W
Diameter: 66.0km

Additional Information

. Nobel Prize Biography
. The Coldest Place on Earth

Relationships between Hendrik Lorentz, Heike Kamerlingh Onnes, and Hans Boldt

Lubbert  = Willemken
Braakman   Jans
*1679
[Loenen]
   |
   +----------------------------------------------------------------+
   |                                                                |
Janna    = Hendrik                Aart      = Jentjen            Geertruit = Hendrik
Braakman   Wilbrink               Labots      Gerrits            Braakman    Moll
*1700      *1696                  *1685       *1690              *1700       *1709
[Velp]     [Apeldoorn]            [Rozendaal] [Epe]              [Velp]      [Velp]
   |                                 |                              |
   |           +---------------------+                              |
   |           |                     |                              |
Willemken = Jacob                 Johannes = Geertje             Evert   = Geertruid
Wilbrink    Labotz                Labots     Schut               Moll      van Donselaar
*1731       *1718                 *1723      *1730               *1730     *1742
[Velp]      [Velp]                [Velp]     [Velp]              [Velp]    [Velp]
   |                                 |                              |
   |                                 |                              |
   |                                 |                              |
Berendina = Aelbert               Gerrit   = Johanna             Gerrit  = Cornelia
Labotz      Coers                 Labots     Goedings            Moll      Brouwer
*1771       *1767                 *1771      *1780               *1776     *1782
[Velp]      [Arnhem]              [Velp]     [Rozendaal]         [Velp]    [Velp]
   |                                 |                              |
   |                                 |             +----------------+
   |                                 |             |                |
Jacobus   = Jenneken              Johanna     = Harmen           Teuniske = Tobias Hendrik
Coers       Gerritsen             Laboths       Moll             Moll       Lorentz
*1803       *1803                 *1821         *1822            *1803      *1791
[Arnhem]    [Arnhem]              [Rozendaal]   [Rozendaal]      [Rheden]   [Otterlo]
   |                                               |                |
   |                                               |                |
   |                                               |                |
Anna Gerdina = Harm               Geertje     = Gerrit           Gerrit Frederick = Geertruid
Coers          Kamerlingh Onnes   Beukers       Moll             Lorentz            van Ginkel
*1829          *1819              *1855         *1849            *1822              *1826
[Arnhem]       [Groningen]        [Nijkerk]     [Nijkerk]        [Arnhem]           [Utrecht]
   |                                               |                |
   |                                               |                |
   |                                               |                |
Heike                             Johanna     = Gerrit           Hendrik Antoon
Kamerlingh Onnes                  van de Bunt   Moll             Lorentz
*1853                             *1902         *1893            *1853
[Groningen]                       [Nijkerk]     [Nijkerk]        [Arnhem]
                                                   |
                                                   |
                                                   |
                                  Ernst       = Johanna
                                  Boldt         Moll
                                                   |
                                                   |
                                                   |
                                                Hans
                                                Boldt