Physiker, Nobelpreisträger; Begründer der Quantentheorie (1858-1947). ALS in German, signed “Planck,” Berlin-Grunewald. 4 pp. 8vo. Schwacher Papierschaden in der Bugfalte.
$ 11,059 / 9.800 €
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..