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Léon Charles Prudent Van Hove (Brussels, 10 February 1924 – Geneva, 2 September 1990)[1] was a Belgian physicist and a former Director General of CERN.[2][3] He developed a scientific career spanning mathematics, solid state physics, elementary particle and nuclear physics to cosmology.[4]

Professor Léon Van Hove
Léon Van Hove, Belgian theoretical physicist and Research Director General of CERN from 1976-80, here seen during an interview made at CERN in March 1976.


Van Hove studied mathematics and physics at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB). In 1946 he received his PhD in mathematics at the ULB. From 1949 to 1954 he worked at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey by virtue of his meeting with Robert Oppenheimer. Later he worked at the Brookhaven National Laboratory and was a professor and Director of the Theoretical Physics Institute at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands. In the 1950s he laid the theoretical foundations for the analysis of inelastic neutron scattering in terms of the dynamic structure factor. In 1958, he was awarded the Francqui Prize in Exact Sciences. In 1959, he received an invitation to become the head of the Theory Division at CERN in Geneva.[5] In 1975 Prof. Van Hove was appointed CERN Director-General, with John Adams, responsible for the research activities of the Organization.[6] The LEP project was proposed during Van Hove's tenure as Director General.[7]

Francqui Prize, 1958
Dannie Heineman Prize for Mathematical Physics, 1962

See also

Van Hove singularity
List of Directors General of CERN
Théophile de Donder
Hilbrand J. Groenewold for the Groenewold–Van Hove theorem


"Van Hove, Léon Charles Prudent (1924-1990)". Bestor - Belgian Science and Technology Online Resources. KU Leuven. Retrieved 2 September 2015.
"Léon Van Hove 1924-1990". CERN Courier. 30 (7): 7. September 1990.
Martin, André; Levaux, Paul; Gabathuler, E.; Woltjer, L.; Hugenholtz, N.M. (March 1991). "Léon Van Hove 1924-1990". CERN Courier. 31 (2): 20–27.
Jacob, Maurice (May 1991). "Obituary: Léon Van Hove". Physics Today. 44 (5): 78. Bibcode:1991PhT....44e..78J. doi:10.1063/1.2810123.
"Who's who in Cern: Léon van Hove: Director, Theoretical Studies division". CERN Courier. 1 (13-14): 2. August 1960.
"Appointment of the Directors-General of the Organization". CERN. Retrieved 2 September 2015.
"The LEP Project, Phase 1 - Proposal of the Directors-General to the CERN Council". CERN. Retrieved 2 September 2015.

Physics Encyclopedia

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