In Germany

  • Victor Ya. Frenkel


In November, 1925, Frenkel goes to Berlin and spends almost a year in Germany, France and England. His letters to his parents1 form the basis of this chapter.


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  1. 1).
    His correspondence with his wife seems to be lost.Google Scholar
  2. 2).
    A.F. Ioffe wrote from Berlin: «Yesterday I was here at a colloquium, where Frenkel’s paper on metals was presented and very much praised (especially by Einstein)» (cit. by: M.S. Sominsky «A.F. Ioffe», p. 470 (in Russian)).Google Scholar
  3. 3).
    «Evening Red Gazette.»Google Scholar
  4. 4).
    J.I. Frenkel. Memoirs, Letters, Documents. Leningrad: Nauka, 1986, p. 336 (in Russian).Google Scholar
  5. 5).
    Probably, one of the conversations of Einstein with J.I. himself is implied.Google Scholar
  6. 6).
    Encyclopedic dictionary «Granat», v. 51, p. 151.Google Scholar
  7. 7).
    We have described this article earlier (see Ch. 2).Google Scholar
  8. 8).
    G. Wentzel later became distinguished through his studies in quantum electrodynamics.Google Scholar
  9. 9).
    Frenkel speaks here about the paper on the electron spin («Electrodynamics of a rotating electron»). It was finished in Nice in April, 1926, and ended with acknowledgements to Pauli and Langevin.Google Scholar
  10. 10).
    Leon Brillouin, French physicist, theoretician, who worked in the field of solid state quantum physics (the bands in the energy spectrum of solids are known under his name), information theory, etc. In 1941 he emigrated to the USA.Google Scholar
  11. 11).
    S.I. Metal’nikov was a biologist, lecturing in Tavricheskiy University (in the Crimea) from 1918–20, and then emigrated to France. He worked at the Pasteur Institute.Google Scholar
  12. 12).
    An extremely flattering presentation marking the title of professor was composed by a committee of A.F. Ioffe, Yu.A. Krutkov and V.R. Bursian after J.I. had departed to Germany (See Archives of the A.F. Ioffe Physical-Technical Institute, personal file # 548, pp. 6-12 (in Russian)).Google Scholar
  13. 13).
    The paper about the Faraday effect (i.e., about the rotation of the light polarization plane in the magnetic field).Google Scholar
  14. 14).
    See the letter of January 24, 1926.Google Scholar
  15. 15).
    Scientific-astrological advice.Google Scholar
  16. 16).
    Viktor Nikolaevich and Yelena Ivanovna.Google Scholar
  17. 17).
    P. Debye is a famous physicist, the author of classical papers on the thermal capacity theory, electrolyte theory, etc.Google Scholar
  18. 18).
    A zoo in Hamburg founded by K. Hagenbeck.Google Scholar
  19. 19).
    «On the theory of the elasticity limit and the strength of crystal bodies» (Zeitschrift für Physik, Bd. 37, S. 572, 1926).Google Scholar
  20. 20).
    About a rotating electron.Google Scholar
  21. 21).
    In a postcard from Paris, of March 20, 1926, J.I. wrote: «This morning I was honoured to be promoted into the company of Einstein, Langevin, and Mme Curie at her institute, and even gave them a brief account of my latest paper».Google Scholar
  22. 22).
    O.A. Starosel’skaya-Nikitina. Paul Langevin. Fizmatgiz, Moscow, 1962, p. 169, (in Russian).Google Scholar
  23. 23).
    This excerpt from the G. Claude speech may be found in the op. cit. of O.A. Starosel’skaya-Nikitina.Google Scholar
  24. 24).
    Vestnik Akad. Nauk SSSR, # 5, pp. 44–45, 1947 (in Russian).Google Scholar
  25. 25).
    Yu. Rumer. Uspekhi Fizicheskikh Nauk, v. 78, 1962, p. 695 (in Russian).Google Scholar
  26. 26).
    «King’s road» (Lat).Google Scholar
  27. 27).
    See footnote 25.Google Scholar
  28. 28).
    M. Born. Jacov Frenkel. Uspekhi Fizicheskikh Nauk, 1962, v. 76, # 3, p. 431 (in Russian). See also: J.L Frenkel. Memoirs, Letters, Documents. Leningrad: Nauka, 1986, p. 76 (in Russian).Google Scholar
  29. 29).
    In Zoppot (Sopot), a resort town on the North Sea coast, J.I. lived in 1913.Google Scholar
  30. 30).
    Meaning: «Towers of Bismark» or «Stones of Bismark».Google Scholar
  31. 31).
    Hund is German for «dog».Google Scholar
  32. 32).
    Among them, in particular, was R. Oppenheimer.Google Scholar
  33. 33).
    A privy councillor in Germany.Google Scholar
  34. 34).
    Fraternities (German).Google Scholar
  35. 35).
    Duel (German).Google Scholar
  36. 36).
    «Soviet Physics Successes».Google Scholar
  37. 37).
    One such animate subject, says Kapitza who remembers this evening very well, was a policeman met by the company.Google Scholar
  38. 38).
    This photo is reproduced in: «A.F. Ioffe. Meetings with physicists». Moscow, Fizmatgiz, 1960, p. 76 (in Russian).Google Scholar
  39. 39).
    All the persons mentioned worked at the State Physical-Technical Röntgen Institute (later simply Physical-Technical Institute) in Leningrad.Google Scholar
  40. 40).
    «But, gentlemen, that is not physics».Google Scholar
  41. 41).
    J.I. seems to be speaking here about the probability interpretation of the wavefunction.Google Scholar
  42. 42).
    Tat’yana Alekseevna Afanas’eva-Ehrenfest.Google Scholar
  43. 43).
    Nataliya Nikolaevna Semenova, the wife of N.N. Semenov.Google Scholar
  44. 44).
    The State Publishing House (abbreviation in Russian).Google Scholar
  45. 45).
    Scientific Editor of the State Publishing House.Google Scholar
  46. 46).
    LE. Tamm. Uspekhi Fizicheskikh Nauk, 1962, v. 76., # 3, p. 411 (in Russian).Google Scholar
  47. 47).
    J.I. Frenkel. Lehrbuch der Electrodynamik, Bd. I, S. VIL Berlin, 1926. (in German).Google Scholar
  48. 48).
    Ph. Frank. Scientia, v. 25, p. 192, 1931. Philipp Frank, Einstein’s successor at the Chair of Prague University, a famous physicist-encyclopaedician who, along with R. Mises, published a book which was well-known in the thirties: «Differential and Integral Equations of Mathematical Physics».Google Scholar
  49. 49).
    «Nature», v. 19, # 3006, p. 851, 1927.Google Scholar
  50. 50).
    I.E. Tamm. In: J.I. Frenkel. Electrodynamics. Collection of Selected Papers, v. I. Acad. of Sci. of the USSR Publ. Moscow-Leningrad, 1956, p. 3 (in Russian). See also: B.G. Kuznetsov. The Evolution of Electrodynamics. Acad. of Sci. of the USSR Publ. Moscow, 1963, pp. 129-132 (in Russian).Google Scholar
  51. 51).
    I.K. Kikoin. In: J.I. Frenkel. Memories, Letters, Documents. Leningrad: Nauka, 1986, p. 66 (in Russian).Google Scholar
  52. 52).
    Theoretical Physics of the XXth Century. IL, Moscow, 1962 (in Russian). See also: V.J. Frenkel. Paul Ehrenfest (2nd edition). Moscow: Atomizdat, 1977, pp. 137–145 (in Russian).Google Scholar
  53. 53).
    P. Ehrenfest. Collected Scientific Papers. Amsterdam, 1959, p. 478.Google Scholar
  54. 54).
    J.I. means a representation of the rotating sphere as a set of currents running in the planes perpendicular to the rotation axis.Google Scholar
  55. 55).
    ZhRFKhO, phys. ser., v. 50, 4-6, p. 143, 1919 (in Russian).Google Scholar
  56. 56).
    On the other hand, one also cannot avoid noticing a characteristic discrepancy here. In 1925 J.I. intensively studied the electrodynamics of point electrons (ZRHFO, phys. ser., v. 7, 3-4, p. 393, 1925; Zeitschrift für Physik, Bd. 32, S. 516, 1925). On February 23, 1926, he wrote to Ya.I. Perel’man: «No matter how disgusting the thought of an extended electron is to me, the hypothesis of a rotating electron explains the anomalous Zeeman effect in such an easy and natural way, as well as the similarity between X-ray and optical doublets, nonmagnetism of helium and other noble elements, that I’m starting to believe in it.» (See: Archive of the USSR Ac. of Sci., f. 796, file 3, # 18).Google Scholar
  57. 57).
    Ya.A. Smorodinskii and I.E. Tamm in: J.I. Frenkel. «Collection of Selected Papers», v. 2, Leningrad-Moscow: 1958. AN SSSR publ, pp. 455–456 (in Russian).Google Scholar
  58. 58).
    J.I. here means Philipp Frank who often visited Göttingen and was there in the autumn of 1926.Google Scholar
  59. 59).
    A priority right for a topic was defended not only by Göttingen physicists. This may be illustrated by the example of the famous American chemist M. Gomberg, who discovered free radicals. He concluded one of his papers («Berichte der deutschen chemischen Gesellschaft», Bd. 33, S. 3163, 1900) with the following words: «The investigation will be continued, and I would like to ask that this field be left to me for the time being.» It really is a polite form of something like: «I will continue to work here and do not want anybody to interfere.»Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Basel AG 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Victor Ya. Frenkel
    • 1
  1. 1.A.E. Ioffe Physico-Technical InstituteSt. Petersburg K-21Russia

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