The Fysisch-Mathematische Faculteitsvereniging has a rich history. It all started on the 18th of May, 1907 when the Groninger Natuurfilosofische Faculteitsvereniging (GNFV) was formed. From this, the Fysisch-Mathematische Afdeling (FMA) was later born. Eventually, after a few years the FMF came into being.
De goals of the GNFV were as follows:
- The organization of scientific lectures for which the speakers were usually invited via the nationwide alliance of Natuurphilosofische Faculteitsverenigingen. Such speakers went from city to city in just a few days, visiting all Dutch universities.
- The organization of congresses that spanned several days. This responsibility was passed down from city to city every time, so each university could eventually organize it.
At such a congress there were lectures from local scientists and academics in the morning, while in the afternoon there would be excursions to local industries.
The first board of the GNFV consisted of a chairman, secretary, vice secretary and the chairmen of the different departments. The GNFV was the governing body of the whole faculty and so not only physicists, but also chemists and pharmacists were members.
On the 5th of November, 1959 the Fysisch-Mathematische Afdeling (FMA) was established. This date is also seen as the date of establishment of the FMF. The FMA, was created, because the GNFV split up into a chemical department and a physical and mathematical department. The former would later become the sprout of which the De Chemische Binding came into being. At the helm of the FMA stood: K. Bulthuis as chairman, M.W. Aarnoudse as secretary and L. Th. Van der Weele as treasurer.
The most valued activity of the FMA was the biweekly excursion to the West, which returned annually. During this two day excursion the participants would go to the West of The Netherlands to visit several companies. Examples of which are: Unilever, the Institute of Nuclear Fysical Research and the nuclear power plant in Petten and TNO.
In 1960 the first foreign excursion was organized, with Paris as their destination. There was no internet at that time, so the organization had to be done via oral communication with different French agencies. So you see, they had gone through a lot of work and trouble to make sure everything was planned. A fun fact: the supervisor was none other than Hendrik de Waard!
On February 2nd, 1964 the first contact was established with another study association. Back then, the vice chairman (S.B. van der Molen) talked with the ‘Amsterdamse Vereniging van Natuurkunde Studenten’ (AVNS) about collaboration between the physics associations. After a while, the ‘Natuurkunde Studenten Coördineringsorganisatie’ (NASCO) was born. Later, this organisation became the ‘Studenten Physica in Nederland’ SPIN, which still exists today.
At this moment, not much is known about the actual moment when the FMA became the FMF. In 1963 the name FMA changed was changed to FMF in the statutes of the association, but since 1968-1969 the name FMF has been in full use everywhere. So, actually the precise date that the name was changed is not known. It is known that the full name was actually spelled differently than it is nowadays, namely: Fysisch Mathematische Faculteitsvereniging, so without a hyphen. It was not until 1970 that the hyphen was added to the name. This name change did not go without battle, as there has even been an amendment on the name FMF. On January 12th, 1962 a prize was awarded to whichever name was the best for the FMA. The only submission was: ‘Fyselan'. The description of this name was as follows: ‘fysica' (Dutch for the physics part); elementary analysis, ellipse and analytical geometry (for the mathematics part). Besides this, the name also implies: elan of physics (and mathematics).