The J.B. Westerdijkprijs

The J.B. Westerdijk prize is awarded to a person who has shown exceptional dedication to the education provided at Applied Physics. The prize is named after Mr. Westerdijk, a much-loved former professor. He taught physics at various faculties within TU Delft and did so with such dedication that even students who had not chosen physics as their primary subject tremendously appreciated the subject.

At the time Mr Westerdijk retired, he did not want a parting gift, but chose to use this money to establish the J.B. Westerdijk Foundation, and so the J.B. Westerdijk prize was born.

The board of the J.B. Westerdijkfonds Foundation consists of:

  • J.T. Pronk, chairman
  • Dr. M. Blaauboer
  • Ir. K.M. van der Laan, secretary and treasurer

The Westerdijk Prize has been awarded to the following persons and association since 1982:

  • Dr. T. Idema (2020)
  • C.R. Kleijn (2019)
  • S. Heijnen (2016)
  • Dr. M. Blaauboer (2012)
  • Ing. E. Balsma (2010)
  • Dr. E. Lagendijk (2007)
  • Dr. J.M. Thijssen (2005)
  • Vereniging voor Technische Physica (2002)
  • J.J.J. Kokkedee (1999)
  • Dr. H. Bavinck (1987)
  • Prof.dr. I.T. Young (1986)
  • Prof.dr. G.J.C. Bots (1985)
  • Ir. P.E. van der Leeden (1982)

The history of the J.B. Westerdijkfonds

Prof. dipl. Ing. J.B. (Jan Berend) Westerdijk, the name giver of the fund, born in 1917 in Amsterdam, graduated in 1940 from the E.T.H. in Zurich. From 1951 to 1980 he was full professor of theoretical and applied physics at TH- (later TU) Delft.

Prof. Westerdijk had great didactic qualities. In the classrooms where he gave lectures there were often more students than there should have been. Prof. Westerdijk has given many lectures to students from other disciplines than technical physics. He liked it, while most physics teachers considered it to be a “corvee”.

Prof. Westerdijk did not want any gifts when he said goodbye in 1980. He eventually agreed that people who wanted to give a gift could do so by transferring money to the account of a fund to be established, which would bear his name and from which a prize would periodically be awarded to a lecturer or employee of the TU, who gives or has given a special contribution to education. The J.B. Westerdijkfonds Foundation was established in 1982.