Cornelis Bernardus van Niel

The man who coined the phrase "Delft School of Microbiology"

During his years as Professor of Microbiology in Delft, Kluyver had a number of very talented students and post-graduates. The first, and probably one of the most influential of these pupils, Cornelis van Niel, remained a life-long friend and colleague, despite the fact that he moved to the USA very early in his career and meetings between the two were, of necessity, limited after that.

Van Niel was, of course, the man who coined the phrase "Delft School of Microbiology". He is, today, frequently remembered as a charismatic teacher, especially his summer schools at Pacific Grove, and many eminent scientists trace their "Delft roots" back through studies with him .

The scientist

He also spent a great deal of his time studying the phototrophic sulphur bacteria - research begun in Delft and continued when he moved to the New World to become a Professor at the Hopkins Marine Station in California and co-wrote a very influential paper on comparative biochemistry with Kluyver which showed that metabolic reactions are similar in all animals.

Cornelis Bernardus van Niel 1897-1985