van de Graaff
in reference to an electrostatic charge generator, 1934, named for U.S. physicist R.J. van de Graaff (1901-1967).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Van de Graaff
[văn′ də grăf′]Robert Jemison 1901-1967
American physicist who in 1929 invented an improved electrostatic generator (later called the Van de Graaff generator) that was adapted for use as a particle accelerator. The generator became an important research tool for atomic physicists and was also used to produce high-energy x-rays helpful in treating cancer.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.