van der Waals forces

plural noun \ ˈvan-dər-ˌwȯlz- , ˈvän-dər-ˌvälz- \

Definition of van der Waals forces

:the relatively weak attractive forces that act on neutral atoms and molecules and that arise because of the electric polarization induced in each of the particles by the presence of other particles

Origin and Etymology of van der waals forces

after Johannes Diderik van der Waals †1923 Dutch physicist, who postulated the existence of such a force


Medical Dictionary

van der Waals forces

noun plural \ ˈvan-dər-ˌwȯlz- \

medical Definition of van der Waals forces

:the relatively weak attractive forces that are operative between neutral atoms and molecules and that arise because of the electric polarization induced in each of the particles by the presence of other particles

Biographical Note for van der waals forces

  • Waals \ˈwäls\, Johannes Diederik van der (1837–1923), Dutch physicist. Van der Waals was a professor of physics at the University of Amsterdam. In 1873 he first postulated the van der Waals forces in support of his theoretical treatment of real as distinguished from ideal gases. In 1910 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics for his research on the mathematical equations describing the gaseous and liquid states of matter.

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