Bitter Years

  • Michael Eckert


Following the appointment of “the worst imaginable successor,” Sommerfeld wrote a colleague in December 1939 that he had “gone permanently into retirement.” Three months earlier, with the invasion of Poland, Hitler had unleashed World War II. The conjunction of the catastrophe on the large scale and the ignominious end of his Munich “nursery” on the smaller made for a depressing transition into retirement for Sommerfeld. Once again, as in the summer of 1933, he suffered from insomnia. In 1939 at the neighboring Technical University of Munich, the “Lenard clique” also succeeded in installing a member of its ranks in the person of Rudolf Tomaschek in an academic chair. “It seems Munich is becoming the capital of the counter-movement in physics,” Sommerfeld’s former assistant Karl Bechert commented on this appointment. As professor of theoretical physics at the Justus Liebig University, Gieβen, Bechert could only observe events unfolding in Munich from afar.


Theoretical Physic Wind Tunnel German Physic Research Assignment Armament Work 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Eckert
    • 1
  1. 1.Deutsches MuseumMunichGermany

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