Max Planck

Planck, Max

deutscher Physiker auf dem Gebiet der theoretischen Physik (1858-1947). Albumblatt mit eigenh. Unterschrift. o. O. u. D. 8vo. 1 p. Mit Kuvert.
$ 941 / 800 € (76842)

Namenszug unterhalb seines Portraits. Das Portrait, eine Original-Passphotographie des Wissenschaftlers. - Er gilt als Begründer der Quantenphysik. Für die Entdeckung einer später nach ihm benannten Konstanten in einer physikalischen Grundgleichung, des Planckschen Wirkungsquantums, erhielt er 1919 den Nobelpreis für Physik des Jahres 1918.

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Planck, Max

Physiker und Nobelpreisträger, Begründer der Quantenphysik (1858-1947). Eigenhändiger Brief mit Unterschrift. Göttingen. 1 1⁄4 pp. Gr.-8vo. Gelocht.
$ 9,178 / 7.800 € (83178)

Als kommissarischer Präsident der Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gesellschaft wohl an den Zoologen und Genetiker Alfred Kühn, der mit dem Institut für Biologie der KWG in Oberbayern evakuiert war. – Geschrieben gut zwei Wochen nach den Atombombenabwürfen auf Hiroshima und Nagasaki. „[…] Die liebenswürdigen Worte, mit denen Sie Ihr offizielles Schreiben an die K[aiser] W[ilhelm] G[esellschaft] begleiteten, haben mich hoch erfreut, da sie zeigen, daß Ihre freundliche Gesinnung auch mir gegenüber unverändert die alte geblieben ist.

Nehmen Sie meinen herzlichen Dank dafür. Es ist mir eine große Beruhigung, daß Sie Ihre Arbeit auch im Hochgebirge ungestört fortsetzen können. Darin haben Sie es besser als die Physiker und die Chemiker, denen die Atombombe einen bösen Strich durch ihre ruhige wissenschaftliche Beschäftigung gemacht hat. Hoffentlich wird es gelingen, die K.W.G. wie bisher von aller Politik fernzuhalten. Denn darin sehe auch ich ihre eigenartige, durch ihre vielfachen hervorragenden Leistungen vollauf gerechtfertigte Bedeutung. Nach dem, was ich von Dr. Telschow“ (der Chemiker Ernst T., der als Generalsekretär die KWG in Göttingen wieder aufgebaut hatte) „gehört habe, denke ich in dieser Beziehung ziemlich optimistisch […]“.

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Planck, Max

German physicist and Nobel laureate, founder of the quantum theory (1858-1947). Autograph letter signed. Berlin-Grunewald. 8vo. 4 pp.
$ 7,649 / 6.500 € (83382)

Handwritten letter to Dr. Ludwik Silberstein. In full (translated): "Your friendly letter, which I received so unexpectedly a few days ago, was a great, heartfelt double joy to me: for one thing, to see that you and yours are well, and then that you have evidently remained entirely as of old in your character and disposition. I see you in spirit before me as in earlier years (probably I am imagining you somewhat too youthfully), and I let you tell me about your so varied life, which has yet brought you to a safe harbor after many storms.

Sincere thanks now above all for your amiable offer to do me kindness not only in word but also in deed. Fortunately, I do not need to make such demands on your goodness. Even if we had to endure many kinds of sadness during the war (my oldest son fell in France, and one of my twin daughters died in childbed), we have still never directly suffered lack, and now, hopefully, things will gradually start to move forward again with diligent work. I am very happy to hear from you that there are also people in England who are looking toward the future with rational ideas and know how to distinguish between political and personal antagonisms. Only if one considers even a political opponent as an honorable man is one able to judge him correctly. Still, I believe that science will soon do its part to pave the way for a proper understanding. One must only have patience. I do not know whether you are aware that I lost my first wife to death in 1909 and am now married for the second time, since 1911, to a niece of hers, who has given me a little son, now 7 years old. We are all well; my other twin daughter has married her brother-in-law and at the same time taken on the little orphaned grandchild, who is thriving splendidly, as a second mother. So you have ended up in optics; that fully corresponds to your exceedingly conscientious way of thinking, analyzing each thing down to the smallest details. And you do not seem to me to have forgotten your German in the least. Your letter is really beyond reproach. You also ask for news of Sommerfeld in Munich. Things are going quite well for him there; he has completed excellent papers in recent years, and in particular, I consider his discovery of the cause of the fine structure of the spectral lines a masterwork. But like all of us, he is suffering severely under the impressions of the war. May the frightful suffering soon come to an end! If you wish, I will send you some offprints of my most recent publications with the Academy soon." Silberstein notes the dates of receipt and reply at the top. In fine condition. In this significant autobiographical letter, Planck catches Silberstein up on some of the goings-on in his personal life, which was marred by tragedy in the World War I era: after the death of his first wife in 1909, his son Erwin was taken prisoner by the French in 1914, his son Karl was killed in action at Verdun in 1916, and his beloved daughter Grete died in childbirth. Her twin sister, Emma, married her widower, took in the orphaned child, and was “thriving splendidly," but she too would die in childbirth later on in 1919. Although Erwin survived, he would be executed during World War II as a conspirator in the 20 July Plot, Claus von Stauffenberg's attempt to assassinate Hitler. Planck, a staunchly patriotic German, had been a signatory to the infamous 'Manifesto of the Ninety-Three,’ a 1914 proclamation in which prominent German scientists, scholars, and artists declared their unequivocal support of German military actions in the early period of World War I. This helped to solidify support for the war amongst the intellectual class. However, Planck’s principal focus was physics, not politics. By 1916, he had moderated his views, and went semi-public with his regret about having signed the manifesto. Writing after war’s end, he looks forward to renewed cooperation among the international scientific community and hopes that science will “pave the way for a proper understanding” between peoples. From the collection of physicist Ludwik Siberstein..

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Planck, Max

German physicist and Nobel laureate, founder of the quantum theory (1858-1947). Autograph letter signed. Berlin-Grunewald. 8vo. 4 pp.
$ 7,649 / 6.500 € (83383)

Handwritten letter to Dr. Ludwik Silberstein. In full (translated): "You will have been waiting a long time already for my thanks for your detailed letter of the 7th, as well as for the work on vector algebra, very interesting and valuable to me, and yet I am only getting to writing to you today, after having also received your friendly congratulations on the Nobel Prize (of the 15th of this month). But you will understand me when I tell you that deep sadness has taken up residence in my house in the last week.

I had two twin daughters, dear blooming girls, who were the joy of my whole heart. One married the history professor Dr. Fehling in Heidelberg 5 years ago and was snatched away in childbed upon the birth of her child. My son-in-law Fehling married my other daughter, his sister-in-law, 2 years later, and now she has been overtaken by exactly the same fate as her sister. Now only the little grandchildren are left, two healthy, strong girls who nonetheless chiefly arouse and keep alive in me grief and melancholy about those lost. I feel certain of your warm sympathy, even without your expressing it to me in a special letter. Now, first and foremost, I am sending you Major MacMahon’s letter back. Where the matter of the Pt standard is concerned, it goes without saying that I regret the incident most deeply. I probably scarcely need to emphasize that, if I had had any influence on the handling of the affair, if I had even known about it at all, I would in any event have attempted to bring it about that this object, intended for scientific purposes, was protected and taken good care of. As it is, however, I must first of all find out what can still be established after the fact in this matter. For the time being, I and my colleague, the chemist Prof. Haber, have not yet unearthed what has become of the Pt rod. It is of course possible that this object, like any and all publicly and privately owned platinum, was confiscated and used for military purposes. It is also still possible, however, that it will yet turn up somewhere. In any case, I will report to you later about the results of our inquiries. It matters a great deal to me not to appear in your eyes and those of all objectively thinking people as a defender of unjustified expedients of force. However much every patriot feels the moral duty to take action on behalf of his fatherland’s interests, national egoism still finds a limit in respect for such goods as serve supranational goals, namely science or art. I must conclude for today; there are still far too many storms breaking in on me. May God keep your wife and children in health." Silberstein notes the dates of receipt and reply at the top. In fine condition, with slight running to ink at the top of the first page. Planck was awarded the 1918 Nobel Prize in Physics in 1919 (as a ‘reserved’ prize awarded after no recipient was selected the previous year), in ‘recognition of the services he rendered to the advancement of Physics by his discovery of energy quanta.’ After thanking Silberstein for a congratulatory note, he details his recent personal tragedy—the death in childbirth of his second twin daughter, Emma—and ponders the disappearance of a platinum rod, evidently a length standard defining the meter. In 1889, the International Bureau of Weights and Measures distributed 'National Prototype Metre Bars’ to thirty nations to define the international standard; Planck seems to suspect that Germany’s bar (no. 18) had been confiscated and used for war materiel. From the collection of physicist Ludwik Siberstein..

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Planck, Max

Physiker und Nobelpreisträger, Begründer der Quantenphysik (1858-1947). Eigenhändige Postkarte mit Unterschrift. Gössweinstein. Quer-8vo. 1 p.
$ 1,765 / 1.500 € (83506)

An den Physiker und Nobelpreisträger Max von Laue: „[…] Nach einigen sehr erholsamen Wochen in Amorbach wollten wir hier in der fränkischen Schweiz noch einige Tage verbringen. Die Gegend ist reizvoll u. die Verpflegung gut, aber das Wetter unfreundlich und kalt. Am 15. Abends kommen wir nach Berlin zurück und am 17. hoffe ich im Coll. zu sein. […]“

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Planck, Max

Physiker und Nobelpreisträger, Begründer der Quantenphysik (1858-1947). Autograph letter signed ("M. Planck"). (Berlin-)Grunewald. 1½ SS. auf Doppelblatt. 8vo.
$ 5,295 / 4.500 € (80990/BN52948)

To Mrs Warburg, a relative of the physicist Emil Warburg, thanking her for a letter of congratulations which has so overjoyed him that he has given his twin daughters permission to skip their appointment with their tailor in favour of accepting an invitation to visit the letter-writer: "Eigentlich weiß ich nicht, was ich stärker empfinde: die Freude oder die Ehre, die Sie mir mit Ihrem eigenhändigen Glückwunschschreiben erwiesen haben. Wie groß der Eindruck auf micht war, läßt sich nur an der Unvernunft messen, mit der ich gegen alle meine Grundsätze den Zwillingen erlaubt habe, Ihre freundliche Einladung anzunehmen und ihre wichtige Schneiderin zu versäumen; denn in solchen Dingen verstehe ich sonst keinen Spaß.

Inzwischen werden Sie wohl den Brief der Kinder empfangen haben. Gerne denke ich noch zurück an den angenehmen Abend bei Ihnen, an dem ich mich besonders freute, Ihre Käthe wieder einmal singen zu hören [...]"..

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Planck, Max

E. Brief mit U.
Autograph ist nicht mehr verfügbar

Max Planck (1858–1947), physicist, Nobel laureate; father of the quantum theory. A.L.S., Berlin, 18 May 1942, 2 pp. large 8vo. With printed letterhead. Punched holes torn out. To Mr. von Bohlen: “[…] Please accept my warmest thanks for your kind letter of May 4. Of course my wife and I likewise regretted being unable to see you and your dear wife in Essen; but as the time of my visit there was fixed in advance, we had no alternative. Apart from that, we found our day in Essen very comfortable and stimulating. The mayor Dillgardt and the chairman of the local chapter of the Goethe Society received us most hospitably, and my lecture was also received with gratifying interest, as far as I could tell. I have been back here now since the 13th, and I sincerely hope that you and your dear wife have in the meantime restored your health in Badgastein as planned. In these times which can bring new agitation every day, it is necessary to rejuvenate body and soul regularly. I myself profited greatly in this respect from my travels to Italy, to Rome and later to Bozen. Apparently the war atmosphere weighs less heavily upon the Italians than on us. When you return via Berlin I will be ready to hand over the pictures to you at any time. I only request that you not choose the 26th or 27th of June, for I will probably not be in Berlin on these days […]”.


Planck, Max

E. Brief mit U.
Autograph ist nicht mehr verfügbar

Max Planck (1858-1947), Physiker, Nobelpreisträger. E. Brief m. U., Gutshof Rogätz, 7. Juli 1944, 1 ½ Seiten gr.-8°. Gedruckter Briefkopf. An einen Herrn Oberkirchenrat [Artur Neuberg], dem er für die Übersendung der neuen Auflage seines Buches dankt [Das naturwissenschaftliche Weltbild der Gegenwart]: „[…] Heute empfing ich die neue Auflage Ihres schönen Buches und sage Ihnen für dies wertvolle Geschenk meinen herzlichen Dank. Daß Ihre beiden Bücher nun in einem einzigen Buch zusammengefasst sind, hat auch seine Vorzüge. Ich sehe darin ein Symbol für die enge Zusammengehörigkeit des physikalischen und des biologischen Weltbildes, deren Betonung ja gerade für Ihre Arbeitsrichtung charakteristisch ist. Gewiß werden Sie auch mit dieser neuen Auflage einen vollen Erfolg haben. Ich benutze die Gelegenheit, um Ihnen für Ihren Brief […] zu danken. Daß Sie in Wien nach so eingehenden naturwissenschaftlichen Studien getrieben haben, erregt meine aufrichtige Bewunderung […]“. – Max Planck schrieb das Vorwort zu Neubergs „Das neue Weltbild der Physik“ (1941), das hier in neuer Auflage mit dem „Weltbild der Biologie“ zusammengefasst erschien.


Planck, Max

E. Brief mit U.
Autograph ist nicht mehr verfügbar

Max Planck (1858-1947), Physiker, Nobelpreisträger; Begründer der Quantentheorie. E. Brief m. U., Berlin, 26. Dezember 1934, 1 ¾ Seiten kl.-4°. Gedruckter Briefkopf. Etwas angestaubt und lichtschattig, kleine Randeinrisse. An eine befreundete Dame, die ihn für ihren Sohn [den Mediziner Hans Jürgen Kaempffer] „wegen der Zulassung von Nichtariern zum Famulieren“ befragt hatte: „[…] Wenn ich Ihnen freilich auch jetzt noch nichts endgültiges mitteilen kann – es exististieren darüber anscheinend überhaupt keine wirklich bindenden Vorschriften, sondern es wird von Fall zu Fall anders verfahren – so möchte ich Ihnen doch wenigstens das mitteilen, was ich bis jetzt in Erfahrung gebracht habe. Demnach ist eine Zulassung zu einer der städtischen Anstalten so gut wie ausgeschlossen. Dagegen besteht bei den Universitätsanstalten eine viel größere Bewegungsfreiheit und daher auch viel eher die Möglichkeit, einen nichtarischen Famulus einzustellen, so z.B. in der Charité bei Hrn. Wagner, oder im Pathologischen Institut bei Hrn. Rössler […]“


Planck, Max

Eigenh. Brief mit Unterschrift.
Autograph ist nicht mehr verfügbar

Significant letter to physicist Wilhelm Wien, about the ether drift experiments of Dayton C. Miller, who attempted to disprove the Theory of Relativity. Planck himself had just returned from the Soviet Union, where he had been one of the foreign guests of honor at the 200th anniversary of the Russian Academy of Sciences. In part (translated): "I fully agree with you that if the results of Miller's experiments are confirmed, the whole theory of relativity, including the 'special' one, is done and the ether problem must be tackled anew. But for that very reason I am facing this matter with the utmost skepticism. To be sure: after all, nothing is impossible in this enigmatic world, but I have preserved a certain belief in a harmony of its laws that can be grasped by us, and that would certainly be greatly shaken if all the new connections that have been opened up to us by the theory of relativity, now would have to be revealed again. My close-by colleagues here, with whom I spoke yesterday about the matter: Laue, Einstein, Paschen, are of the same opinion, they suspect that the results of Miller have been influenced by any systematic sources of error. After all, the decision of the whole question is of the utmost importance, and we have therefore decided in the Directorate of the Kaiser Wilhelm Faculty of Physics to support a plan drawn up by Edgar Meyer, according to which the Miller measurements on the Jungfraujoch are to be repeated. It will cost a lot of money, but the cause is probably worth a lot of sacrifice…From Russia we have brought many strong impressions. In addition to the terrible devastation left behind by the war and especially the revolution, one is everywhere struck by the strong desire to restore order, and with very energetic means…The Russian government has recently come to the conclusion, that the study of pure science is also one of the 'useful' activities deserving to be supported by the state." In fine condition. Miller's findings were refuted by the measurements carried out by Georg Joss on the Jungfraujoch. An absolutely spectacular letter from a significant period in the development of quantum physics.