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Simon van der Meer

My father was a schoolteacher and my mother came from a teacher's family.

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I visited the Gymnasium in The Hague and passed my final examination (in the sciences section) in 1943.

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Under these conditions it is not astonishing that learning was highly prized; in fact, my parents made sacrifices to be able to give their children a good education.

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My interest in matters more directly concerned with the handling of particles was growing, in the meantime, stimulated by many contacts with people understanding accelerators.

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At this time, my work on the SPS power supplies had just come to an end; I joined a study group on the pp project and an experimental team studying cooling in a small ring (ICE).

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After developing a primitive theory (1968) I therefore did not pursue this subject. However, the work was taken up by others and in 1974 the first experiments were done in the ISR.

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Since then, I have worked with the group that commissioned and improved the ring and that is now preparing the construction of a second ring to increase the p stacking rate by an order of magnitude.

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Nevertheless, if I have at times been able to make original contributions in the accelerator field, I cannot help feeling that to a certain extent my slightly amateur approach in physics, combined with much practical experience, was an asset.

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