Max von Laue

Max Theodor Felix von Laue (9 October 1879 – 24 April 1960) was a German physicist who won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1914 for his discovery of the diffraction of X-rays by crystals. In addition to his scientific endeavors with contributions in optics, crystallography, quantum theory, superconductivity, and the theory of relativity, he had a number of administrative positions which advanced and guided German scientific research and development during four decades. A strong objector to National Socialism, he was instrumental in re-establishing and organizing German science after World War II.

Max von Laue
Bundesarchiv Bild 183-U0205-502, Max von Laue
Laue in 1929
Max Theodor Felix Laue

9 October 1879
Died24 April 1960 (aged 80)
Alma materUniversity of Strasbourg
University of Göttingen
University of Munich
University of Berlin
Known forDiffraction of X-rays
AwardsNobel Prize for Physics (1914)
Matteucci Medal (1914)
Max Planck Medal (1932)
Scientific career
InstitutionsUniversity of Zürich
University of Frankfurt
University of Berlin
Max Planck Institute
Doctoral advisorMax Planck
Arnold Sommerfeld
Doctoral studentsLeó Szilárd
Friedrich Beck
Max Kohler
Erna Weber
Other notable studentsFritz London


Early years

Laue was born in Pfaffendorf, now part of Koblenz, Germany, to Julius Laue and Minna Zerrenner. In 1898, after passing his Abitur in Strassburg, he began his compulsory year of military service, after which in 1899 he started to study mathematics, physics, and chemistry at the University of Strassburg, the University of Göttingen, and the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU). At Göttingen, he was greatly influenced by the physicists Woldemar Voigt and Max Abraham and the mathematician David Hilbert. After only one semester at Munich, he went to the Friedrich-Wilhelms-University of Berlin in 1902. There, he studied under Max Planck, who gave birth to the quantum theory revolution on 14 December 1900, when he delivered his famous paper before the Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft.[1][2] At Berlin, Laue attended lectures by Otto Lummer on heat radiation and interference spectroscopy, the influence of which can be seen in Laue's dissertation on interference phenomena in plane-parallel plates, for which he received his doctorate in 1903.[3] Thereafter, Laue spent 1903 to 1905 at Göttingen. Laue completed his Habilitation[4] in 1906 under Arnold Sommerfeld at LMU.[5][6][7][8][9]


In 1906, Laue became a Privatdozent in Berlin and an assistant to Planck. He also met Albert Einstein for the first time; they became friends and Laue went on to contribute to the acceptance and development of Einstein's theory of relativity. Laue continued as assistant to Planck until 1909. In Berlin, he worked on the application of entropy to radiation fields and on the thermodynamic significance of the coherence of light waves.[7][9]

From 1909 to 1912, Laue was a Privatdozent at the Institute for Theoretical Physics, under Arnold Sommerfeld, at LMU. During the 1911 Christmas recess and in January 1912, Paul Peter Ewald was finishing the writing of his doctoral thesis under Sommerfeld. It was on a walk through the Englischer Garten in Munich in January, that Ewald told Laue about his thesis topic. The wavelengths of concern to Ewald were in the visible region of the spectrum and hence much larger than the spacing between the resonators in Ewald's crystal model. Laue seemed distracted and wanted to know what would be the effect if much smaller wavelengths were considered. In June, Sommerfeld reported to the Physikalische Gesellschaft of Göttingen on the successful diffraction of X-rays by Laue, Paul Knipping and Walter Friedrich at LMU, for which Laue would be awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics, in 1914. While at Munich, he wrote the first volume of his book on relativity during the period 1910 to 1911.[8][9][10][11]

In 1912, Laue was called to the University of Zurich as an extraordinarius professor of physics. In 1913, his father was raised to the ranks of hereditary nobility; Laue then became 'Max von Laue'.[9] In 1914 a new professor extraordinarius chair of theoretical physics had been created at the University of Berlin. Laue was offered the position but turned it down, and it was offered to Max Born. But Born was in the army until WW I ended, and before he had occupied the chair, Laue changed his mind and accepted the position.

Max von Laue sign
Max von Laue c. 1914

From 1914 to 1919, Laue was at the University of Frankfurt as ordinarius professor of theoretical physics. From 1916, he was engaged in vacuum tube development, at the University of Würzburg, for use in military telephony and wireless communications.[6][7][8][9]

In 1919, Laue was called to the University of Berlin as ordinarius professor of theoretical physics, a position he held until 1943, when he was declared emeritus, with his consent and one year before the mandatory retirement age. At the university in 1919, other notables were Walther Nernst, Fritz Haber, and James Franck. Laue, as one of the organizers of the weekly Berlin Physics Colloquium, typically sat in the front row with Nernst and Einstein, who would come over from the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Institut für Physik in Berlin-Dahlem, where he was the director. Among Laue's notable students at the university were Leó Szilárd, Fritz London, Max Kohler, and Erna Weber. In 1921, he published the second volume of his book on relativity.[6][8][12][13]

As a consultant to the Physikalisch-Technische Reichsanstalt (PTR), Laue met Walther Meissner who was working there on superconductivity. Meissner had discovered that a weak magnetic field decays rapidly to zero in the interior of a superconductor, which is known as the Meissner effect. Laue showed in 1932 that the threshold of the applied magnetic field which destroys superconductivity varies with the shape of the body. Laue published a total of 12 papers and a book on superconductivity. One of the papers was co-authored with Fritz London and his brother Heinz.[7] [14] [15][16] Meissner published a biography on Laue in 1960.[17]

The Kaiser-Wilhelm Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Wissenschaften (Today: Max-Planck Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Wissenschaften) was founded in 1911. Its purpose was to promote the sciences by founding and maintaining research institutes. One such institute was the Kaiser-Wilhelm Institut für Physik (KWIP) founded in Berlin-Dahlem in 1914, with Einstein as director. Laue was a trustee of the institute from 1917, and in 1922 he was appointed deputy director, whereupon Laue took over the administrative duties from Einstein. Einstein was traveling abroad when Adolf Hitler became Chancellor in January 1933, and Einstein did not return to Germany. Laue then became acting director of the KWIP, a position he held until 1946 or 1948, except for the period 1935 to 1939, when Peter Debye was director. In 1943, to avoid casualties to the personnel, the KWIP moved to Hechingen. It was at Hechingen that Laue wrote his book on the history of physics Geschichte der Physik, which was eventually translated into seven other languages.[7][18][19]

Opposition to Nazism

Laue opposed National Socialism in general and Deutsche Physik in particular – the former persecuted the Jews, in general, and the latter, among other things, put down Einstein's theory of relativity as Jewish physics, which Laue saw as ridiculous: "science has no race or religion". Laue and his close friend Otto Hahn secretly helped scientific colleagues persecuted by National Socialist policies to emigrate from Germany. Laue also openly opposed the policies. An address on 18 September 1933 at the opening of the physics convention in Würzburg, opposition to Johannes Stark, an obituary note on Fritz Haber in 1934, and attendance at a commemoration for Haber are examples which clearly illustrate Laue's courageous, open opposition:

  • Laue, as chairman of the Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft, gave the opening address at the 1933 physics convention. In it, he compared the persecution of Galileo and the oppression of his scientific views on the solar theory of Copernicus to the then conflict and persecution over the theory of relativity by the proponents of Deutsche Physik, against the work of Einstein, labeled "Jewish physics."
  • Johannes Stark, who had received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1919, wished to become the Führer of German physics and was a proponent of Deutsche Physik. Against the unanimous advice of those consulted, Stark was appointed President of the PTR in May 1933. However, Laue successfully blocked Stark's regular membership in the Prussian Academy of Sciences.
  • Haber received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1918. In spite of this and his many other contributions to Germany, he was forced to emigrate from Germany as a result of the Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service, which removed Jews from their jobs. Laue's obituary note[20] praising Haber and comparing his forced emigration to the expulsion of Themistocles from Athens was a direct affront to the policies of National Socialism.
  • In connection with Haber, Max Planck, Otto Hahn and Laue organized a commemoration event held in Berlin-Dahlem on 29 January 1935, the first anniversary of Haber's death – attendance at the event by professors in the civil service had been expressly forbidden by the government. While many scientific and technical personnel were represented at the memorial by their wives, Laue and Wolfgang Heubner were the only two professors to attend.[21][22] This was yet another blatant demonstration of Laue's opposition to National Socialism. The date of the first anniversary of Haber's death was also one day before the second anniversary of National Socialism seizing power in Germany, thus further increasing the affront given by holding the event.

The speech and the obituary note earned Laue government reprimands. Furthermore, in response to Laue blocking Stark's regular membership in the Prussian Academy of Sciences, Stark, in December 1933, had Laue sacked from his position as advisor to the PTR, which Laue had held since 1925. Chapters 4 and 5, in Welker's Nazi Science: Myth, Truth, and the Atomic Bomb, present a more detailed account of the struggle by Laue and Planck against the Nazi takeover of the Prussian Academy of Sciences.[14][23][24][25][26][27]

Hidden Nobel prize

When Nazi Germany invaded Denmark in World War II, the Hungarian chemist George de Hevesy dissolved the Nobel Prize gold medals of Laue and James Franck in aqua regia to prevent the Nazis from discovering them. At the time, it was illegal to take gold out of the country, and if it had been discovered that Laue had done so he could have faced prosecution in Germany. Hevesy placed the resulting solution on a shelf in his laboratory at the Niels Bohr Institute. After the war, he returned to find the solution undisturbed and precipitated the gold out of the acid. The Nobel Society then re-cast the Nobel Prize gold medals, using the original gold.[28]


On 23 April 1945, French troops entered Hechingen, followed the next day by a contingent of Operation Alsos – an operation to investigate the German nuclear energy effort, seize equipment, and prevent German scientists from being captured by the Soviets. The scientific advisor to the Operation was the Dutch-American physicist Samuel Goudsmit, who, adorned with a steel helmet, appeared at Laue's home. Laue was taken into custody and taken to Huntingdon, England, and interned at Farm Hall with other scientists thought to be involved in nuclear research and development.[14]

While incarcerated, Laue was a reminder to the other detainees that one could survive the Nazi reign without having "compromised"; this alienated him from others being detained.[29] During his incarceration, Laue wrote a paper on the absorption of X-rays under the interference conditions, and it was later published in Acta Crystallographica.[14] On 2 October 1945, Laue, Otto Hahn, and Werner Heisenberg, were taken to meet with Henry Hallett Dale, president of the Royal Society, and other members of the Society. There, Laue was invited to attend 9 November 1945 Royal Society meeting in memory of the German physicist Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen, who discovered X-rays; permission was, however, not forthcoming from the military authorities detaining von Laue.[14]

Laue was returned to Germany early in 1946. He went back to being acting director of the KWIP, which had been moved to Göttingen. It was also in 1946 that the Kaiser-Wilhelm Gesellschaft was renamed the Max-Planck Gesellschaft, and, likewise, the Kaiser-Wilhelm Institut für Physik became the Max-Planck Institut für Physik. Laue also became an adjunct professor at the University of Göttingen. In addition to his administrative and teaching responsibilities, Laue wrote his book on superconductivity, Theorie der Supraleitung, and revised his books on electron diffraction, Materiewellen und ihre Interferenzen, and the first volume of his two-volume book on relativity.[8][14][30]

In July 1946, Laue went back to England, only four months after having been interned there, to attend an international conference on crystallography. This was a distinct honor, as he was the only German invited to attend. He was extended many courtesies by the British officer who escorted him there and back, and a well-known English crystallographer as his host; Laue was even allowed to wander around London on his own free will.[14]

After the war, there was much to be done in re-establishing and organizing German scientific endeavors. Laue participated in some key roles. In 1946, he initiated the founding of the Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft in only the British Occupation Zone, as the Allied Control Council would not initially allow organizations across occupation zone boundaries. During the war, the PTR had been dispersed; von Laue, from 1946 to 1948, worked on its re-unification across three zones and its location at new facilities in Braunschweig. Additionally, it took on a new name as the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt, but administration was not taken over by Germany until after the formation of West Germany on 23 May 1949. Circa 1948, the President of the American Physical Society asked Laue to report on the status of physics in Germany; his report was published in 1949 in the American Journal of Physics.[31] In 1950, Laue participated in the creation of the Verband Deutscher Physikalischer Gesellschaften, formerly affiliated under the Nordwestdeutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft.[8][14][30]

In April 1951, Laue became director of the Max-Planck Institut für physikalische Chemie und Elektrochemie, a position he held until 1959. In 1953, at the request of Laue, the Institute was renamed the Fritz Haber Institut für physikalische Chemie und Elektrochemie der Max-Planck Gesellschaft.[14][32]

Personal life

Grave of Max von Laue at Stadtfriedhof Göttingen 2017 01
Max von Laue's grave in Göttingen

It was in 1913 that Laue's father, Julius Laue, a civil servant in the military administration, was raised into the ranks of hereditary nobility. Thus Max Laue became Max von Laue.[9] Laue married Magdalene Degen, while he was a Privatdozent at LMU. They had two children.[9]

Among Laue's chief recreational activities were mountaineering, motoring in his automobile, motor-biking, sailing, and skiing. While not a mountain climber, he did enjoy hiking on the Alpine glaciers with his friends.[7]

On 8 April 1960, while he was driving to his laboratory, Laue's car was struck in Berlin by a motorcyclist, who had received his license only two days earlier. The motorcyclist was killed and Laue's car was overturned. He died from his injuries sixteen days later on 24 April.[7] Being a profound believer, he had asked that his epitaph should read that he had died trusting firmly in God's mercy.[33][34][35]


Honours and awards

Selected bibliography

Deutsche Post (der DDR) Briefmarke (postage stamp), 1979
  • Max von Laue Die Relativitätstheorie. Band 1: Die spezielle Relativitätstheorie (Friedr. Vieweg & Sohn, Braunschweig, 1911, and 1919)
  • Max von Laue Das Relativitätstheorie. Erster Band. Das Relativitätsprinzip der Lorentz-transformation. Vierte vermehrte Auflage. (Friedr. Vieweg & Sohn, 1921)
  • Max von Laue Die Relativitätstheorie. Zweiter Band : Die Allgemeine Relativitätstheorie Und Einsteins Lehre Von Der Schwerkraft (Friedr. Vieweg & Sohn, Braunschweig, 1921 and 1923)
  • Max von Laue Korpuskular- und Wellentheorie (Leipzig, 1933)
  • Max von Laue Die Interferenzen von Röntgen- und Elektronenstrahlen. Fünf Vorträge. (Springer, 1935)
  • Max von Laue Eine Ausgestaltung der Londonschen Theorie der Supraleitung (Barth, 1942)
  • Max von Laue Materiewellen und ihre Interferenzen (Akadem. Verl.-Ges. Becker & Erler, 1944) (Geest und Portig, 1948)
  • Max von Laue Theorie der Supraleitung (Springer, 1947 and 1949)
    • Max von Laue, translated by Lothar Meyer and William Band Theory of Superconductivity (N.Y., 1952)
  • Max von Laue Geschichte der Physik (Univ.-Verl., 1946 and 1947), (Athenäum-Verl., 1950) and (Ullstein Taschenbücher-Verl., 1959, 1966 and 1982) [This book was translated into seven other languages.[7]]
    • Max von Laue, translated by Ralph E. Oesper History of Physics (Academic Press, 1950)
    • Max von Laue Historie De La Physique (Lamarre, 1953)
    • Max von Laue Geschiedenis der natuurkunde ('s Gravenhage, Stols, 1950 and 1954)
  • Max Planck and Max von Laue Wissenschaftliche Selbstbiographie (Barth, 1948)
  • Max von Laue Röntgenstrahlinterferenzen (Akadem. Verl.-Ges., 1948)
  • Max von Laue Die Relativitätstheorie. Bd. 2. Die allgemeine Relativitätstheorie (Vieweg, 1953)
  • Max Planck and Max von Laue Vorlesungen über Thermodynamik de Gruyter (Gebundene, 1954)
  • Walter Friedrich, Paul Knipping, and Max von Laue Interferenzerscheinungen bei Röntgenstrahlen (J. A. Barth, 1955)
  • Max von Laue Die Relativitätstheorie. Bd. 1. Die spezielle Relativitätstheorie (Vieweg, 1955)
  • Max von Laue Die Relativitätstheorie. Bd. 2. Die allgemeine Relativitätstheorie (Vieweg, 1956)
  • Max von Laue Max von Laue
  • Max von Laue Röntgenwellenfelder in Kristallen (Akademie-Verl., 1959)
  • Max von Laue Von Laue-Festschrift. 1 (Akadem. Verl.-Ges., 1959)
  • Max von Laue Von Laue-Festschrift. 2 (Akadem. Verl.-Ges., 1960)
  • Max von Laue and Ernst Heinz Wagner Röntgenstrahl-Interferenzen (Akadem. Verl.-Ges., 1960)
  • Max von Laue and Friedrich Beck Die Relativitätstheorie. Bd. 1. Die spezielle Relativitätstheorie (Vieweg, 1961 and 1965)
  • Max von Laue Gesammelte Schriften und Vorträge. Bd. 1 (Vieweg, 1961)
  • Max von Laue Gesammelte Schriften und Vorträge. Bd. 2 (Vieweg, 1961)
  • Max von Laue Gesammelte Schriften und Vorträge. Bd. 3 (Vieweg, 1961)
  • Max von Laue Aufsätze und Vorträge (Vieweg, 1961 and 1962)
  • Max von Laue and Friedrich Beck Die Relativitätstheorie. Bd. 2. Die allgemeine Relativitätstheorie (Vieweg, 1965)
  • Max von Laue Die Relativitätstheorie II. Die allgemeine Relativitätstheorie (Vieweg Friedr. und Sohn Ver, 1982)

Other publications

  • Laue, Max von (1913). "Kritische Bemerkungen zu den Deutungen der Photogramme von Friedrich und Knipping". Physikalische Zeitschrift. 14 (10): 421–423. Received 1 April 1913, published in issue No. 10 of 15 May 1913. As cited in Mehra, Volume 5, Part 2, 2001, p. 922.
  • Laue, Max von (1913). "Zur Optik der Raumgitter". Physikalische Zeitschrift. 14 (21): 1040–1041. Received 1 October 1913, published in issue No. 21 of 1 November 1913. As cited in Mehra, Volume 5, Part 2, 2001, p. 922.
  • Laue, Max von (1913). "Röntgenstrahlinterferenzen". Physikalische Zeitschrift. 14 (22/23): 1075–1079. Presented on 24 September 1913 at the 85th Naturforscherversammlung, Vienna, published in issue No. 22/23 of 15 November 1913. As cited in Mehra, Volume 5, Part 2, 2001, p. 922.
  • Laue, Max von (1913). "Zur Optik der Raumgitter". Physikalische Zeitschrift. 14 (25): 1286–1287. Received 21 November 1913, published in issue No. 25 of 15 December 1913. As cited in Mehra, Volume 5, Part 2, 2001, p. 922.
  • Laue, Max von; Fritz London; Heinz London (1935). "Zur Theorie der Supraleitung". Zeitschrift für Physik. 96 (5–6): 359–364. Bibcode:1935ZPhy...96..359L. doi:10.1007/BF01343868.

See also


  1. ^ Waerden, B. L. van der (ed.) (1968) Sources of Quantum Mechanics. Dover. ISBN 048645892X. p. 1.
  2. ^ Planck, Max (1900). "Zur Theorie des Gesetzes der Energieverteilung im Normalspektrum" (PDF). Verhandlungen der Deutschen Physikalischen Gesellschaft. 2: 237–245. Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 August 2015. Cited in Hans Kango, editor, and translated by D. ter Haar and Stephen G. Bush Planck's Original Papers in Quantum Physics: German and English Edition (Taylor and Francis, 1972) p. 60.
  3. ^ Max von Laue – Mathematics Genealogy Project. Max von Laue, Ph.D., Universität Berlin, 1903, Dissertation title: Über die Interferenzerscheinungen an planparallelen Platten.
  4. ^ Habilitation title: "Über die Entropie von interferierenden Strahlenbündeln"
  5. ^ Walker, p. 73
  6. ^ a b c Max von Laue Archived 5 February 2007 at the Wayback Machine – American Philosophical Society Author Catalog
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Max von Laue – Nobel Prize Biography
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Hentschel, 1996, Appendix F, see entry for Max von Laue.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i Max von Laue Biography – Deutsches Historisches Museum Berlin
  10. ^ Ewald, P. P. (ed.) 50 Years of X-Ray Diffraction (Reprinted in pdf format for the IUCr XVIII Congress, Glasgow, Scotland, International Union of Crystallography). Ch. 4, pp. 37–42.
  11. ^ Jungnickel, Christa; Russell McCormmach (1990). Intellectual Mastery of Nature. Theoretical Physics from Ohm to Einstein, Volume 2: The Now Mighty Theoretical Physics, 1870 to 1925. University of Chicago Press. pp. 284–285. ISBN 0-226-41585-6.
  12. ^ Max von Laue – Mathematics Genealogy Project
  13. ^ Lanouette, William; Bela Silard (1992). Genius in the Shadows: A Biography of Leó Szilárd the Man Behind the Bomb. New York: Scribners. pp. 56–58. ISBN 0-684-19011-7.
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h i von Laue, Max. "My Development as a Physicist; AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY". International Union of CRYSTALLOGRAPHY. International Union of CRYSTALLOGRAPHY.
  15. ^ Max von Laue Biography – University of Frankfurt on Main
  16. ^ Fritz London Publications Archived 12 June 2007 at the Wayback MachineDuke University
  17. ^ Meissner, Walter (1960). Max von Laue als Wissenschaftler und Mensch. Verl. d. Bayer. Akademie d. Wissenschaften. and C. H. Beck Verlag (1986)
  18. ^ Hentschel, 1966, Appendix F, see entries for von Laue and Debye.
  19. ^ Hentschel, 1966, Appendix A, see entries for KWG and KWIP.
  20. ^ Laue, M. (1934). "Fritz Haber". Die Naturwissenschaften. 22 (7): 97. Bibcode:1934NW.....22...97V. doi:10.1007/BF01495380.
  21. ^ Hentschel, 1996, Document #29, pp. 76–78: See Footnote #3.
  22. ^ Hentschel, 1996, Document #120, pp. 400–402: A letter from Lise Meitner to Otto Hahn.
  23. ^ Walker, pp. 65–122
  24. ^ Hentschel, 1966, Appendix F, see entries for Max von Laue, Johannes Stark, and Fritz Haber.
  25. ^ Hentschel, 1966, Appendix A, see entry for the DFG.
  26. ^ Heilbron, J. L. (2000). The dilemmas of an upright man: Max Planck and the Fortunes of German Science. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. pp. 159–162, 167–168. ISBN 0-674-00439-6.
  27. ^ Beyerchen, Alan D. (1977). Scientists under Hitler: politics and the physics community in the Third Reich. New Haven, Conn: Yale University Press. pp. 64–69, 208–209. ISBN 0-300-01830-4.
  28. ^ Adventures in radioisotope research – the collected papers of George Hevesy, 1962, Pergamon Press, New York
  29. ^ Bernstein, Jeremy (2001). Hitler's uranium club: the secret recordings at Farm Hall. New York: Copernicus. pp. 333–334. ISBN 0-387-95089-3.
  30. ^ a b Hentschel, 1996, Appendix A, see entries on KWG and KWIP.
  31. ^ Laue, Max von (1949). "A Report on the State of Physics in Germany". American Journal of Physics. 17 (3): 137–141. Bibcode:1949AmJPh..17..137V. doi:10.1119/1.1989526.
  32. ^ Hentschel, 1996, Appendix A, see entry on KWIPC.
  33. ^ Max von Laue: Biographical The Nobel Prize in Physics 1914. Nobel Foundation.
  34. ^ Ewald, P. P. (1960). "Max von Laue 1879-1960". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society. 6: 134. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1960.0028.
  35. ^ Magill, Frank Northen (1989) The Nobel Prize Winners, Salem Press. ISBN 0893565598. p. 198
  36. ^ Hentschel, 1966, Appendix A, see entry for NG.
  37. ^ "Membership list" (PDF). Austrian Academy of Sciences. Retrieved 2 November 2011.
  38. ^ "Max von Laue". Notable Names Database. Retrieved 2 November 2011.


  • Hentschel, Klaus, editor; and Ann M. Hentschel; editorial assistant and Translator (1996). Physics and National Socialism: An Anthology of Primary Sources. Basel: Birkhäuser Verlag. ISBN 0-8176-5312-0.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  • Walker, Mark H. (1995). Nazi science: myth, truth, and the German atomic bomb. New York: Plenum Press. ISBN 0-306-44941-2.

Further reading

  • Greenspan, Nancy Thorndike (2005). The End of the Certain World: The Life and Science of Max Born. New York: Basic Books. ISBN 0-7382-0693-8.
  • Herneck, Friedrich (1979). Max von Laue. Leipzig: Teubner.
  • Jammer, Max (1966). The Conceptual Development of Quantum Mechanics. New York: McGraw–Hill.
  • Medawar, Jean: Pyke, David (2012). Hitler's Gift: The True Story of the Scientists Expelled by the Nazi Regime (Paperback). New York: Arcade Publishing. ISBN 978-1-61145-709-4.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  • Mehra, Jagdish; Helmut Rechenberg (2001). The Historical Development of Quantum Theory. Volume 1 Part 1 The Quantum Theory of Planck, Einstein, Bohr and Sommerfeld 1900–1925: Its Foundation and the Rise of Its Difficulties. Springer. ISBN 0-387-95174-1.
  • Mehra, Jagdish; Helmut Rechenberg (2001). The Historical Development of Quantum Theory. Volume 1 Part 2 The Quantum Theory of Planck, Einstein, Bohr and Sommerfeld 1900–1925: Its Foundation and the Rise of Its Difficulties. Springer. ISBN 0-387-95175-X.
  • Mehra, Jagdish; Helmut Rechenberg (2001). The Historical Development of Quantum Theory. Volume 5 Erwin Schrödinger and the Rise of Wave Mechanics. Part 1 Schrödinger in Vienna and Zurich 1887–1925. Springer. ISBN 0-387-95179-2.
  • Mehra, Jagdish; Helmut Rechenberg (2001). The Historical Development of Quantum Theory. Volume 5 Erwin Schrödinger and the Rise of Wave Mechanics. Part 2 Schrödinger in Vienna and Zurich 1887–1925. Springer. ISBN 0-387-95180-6.
  • Rosenthal-Schneider, Ilse (1988). Begegnungen mit Einstein, von Laue und Planck. Realität und wissenschaftliche Wahrheit. Braunschweig: Vieweg. ISBN 3-528-08970-9.
  • Rosenthal-Schneider, Ilse (1980). Reality and Scientific Truth: Discussions with Einstein, von Laue, and Planck. Wayne State University. ISBN 0-8143-1650-6.
  • Walker, Mark H. (1993). German National Socialism and the Quest for Nuclear Power, 1939–1949. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-43804-7.
  • Zeitz, Katharina (2006). Max von Laue (1879–1960) Seine Bedeutung für den Wiederaufbau der deutschen Wissenschaft nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg. Steiner Franz Verlag. ISBN 3-515-08814-8.

External links

Arthur Lindo Patterson

Arthur Lindo Patterson (23 July 1902, Nelson, New Zealand - 6 November 1966, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) was a pioneering British X-ray crystallographer. Patterson was born to British parents in New Zealand in 1902. Shortly afterwards the family moved to Montreal, Canada and later to London, England. In 1920 Patterson moved to Canada for college at McGill University, Montreal. Firstly he concentrated on Mathematics and but then changed his major to Physics. He received his bachelor's degree in 1923 and a master's in 1924. His master's thesis was on the production of hard X-rays by interaction of radium β rays with solids.

From 1924 to 1926 he worked in London in the laboratory of W. H. Bragg, where he learnt the art of crystal structure analysis.

In 1926 Patterson moved to the Kaiser-Wilhelm-institut of Fibrous Materials Chemistry in Berlin-Dahlem, where he worked on the X-ray crystallography of cellulose fibres. In Berlin he had the fortune to meet the scientific elite of the time, which included Max von Laue, Albert Einstein, Max Planck, Walther Nernst, Hans Bethe, Otto Hahn, Lise Meitner and Peter Pringsheim.

In 1927 he returned to McGill, finishing his work for the Ph.D. degree in 1928.

From 1933 to 1946, Patterson was a visiting researcher in the laboratory of Bertram Eugene Warren (1902–1991) at MIT. It was during this time that he published his famous function, now called the Patterson function, which subsequently developed into an extremely important theoretical tool in X-ray crystal structure analysis, especially when one or more heavy atoms are present in the structure.

From 1936 to 1949, he taught at Bryn Mawr College, and from 1949 to 1966, he was a faculty member at the Institute for Cancer Research, now the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia.

Franz Harress

Franz Harress (died circa 1915) was a mathematician and contemporary of Albert Einstein and is best known for his experiment on the propagation of light in a rotating glass device. This experiment sparked an argument between Einstein and Paul Harzer related to the theory of Special Relativity.

Harress was a student of Professor Otto Julius Heinrich Knopf at Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena in 1912. His dissertation was "Die Geschwindigkeit des Lichtes in bewegten Körpern" ("The speed of light in moving bodies"). His work on the Sagnac effect was analyzed by Max von Laue in his 1920 paper "On the Experiment of F. Harress."

Fritz Haber Institute of the Max Planck Society

The Fritz Haber Institute of the Max Planck Society (FHI) is a science research institute located at the heart of the academic district of Dahlem, in Berlin, Germany.

The original Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Physical Chemistry and Electrochemistry, founded in 1911, was incorporated in the Max Planck Society and simultaneously renamed for its first director, Fritz Haber, in 1953.

The research topics covered throughout the history of the institute include chemical kinetics and reaction dynamics, colloid chemistry, atomic physics, spectroscopy, surface chemistry and surface physics, chemical physics and molecular physics, theoretical chemistry, and materials science.During World War I and World War II, the research of the institute was directed more or less towards Germany's military needs.

To the illustrious past members of the Institute belong Herbert Freundlich, James Franck, Paul Friedlander, Rudolf Ladenburg, Michael Polanyi, Eugene Wigner, Ladislaus Farkas, Hartmut Kallmann, Otto Hahn, Robert Havemann, Karl Friedrich Bonhoeffer, Iwan N. Stranski, Ernst Ruska, Max von Laue, Gerhard Borrmann, Rudolf Brill, Kurt Moliere, Jochen Block, Heinz Gerischer, Rolf Hosemann, Kurt Ueberreiter, Alexander Bradshaw, Elmar Zeitler, and Gerhard Ertl.

Nobel Prize laureates affiliated with the institute include Max von Laue (1914), Fritz Haber (1918), James Franck (1925), Otto Hahn (1944), Eugene Wigner (1963), Ernst Ruska (1986), Gerhard Ertl (2007).

Gerhard Borrmann

Gerhard Borrmann (April 30, 1908 – April 12, 2006) was a German physicist.

He was born in Diedenhofen, then part of Germany, and received his early education there. He continued his secondary school at Gießen, where he apprenticed at a steel mill. After studying at the Technische Universität München and Technische Hochschule Danzig, he wrote his Ph.D. thesis on the Kossel effect while working at the laboratory of Walther Kossel in Danzig. Following his doctorate, he continued to work at the laboratory as an assistant to Kossel, where he studied X-ray transmission through thin crystal foils. Due to his refusal to join the Nazi Party he was forced to leave laboratory in 1938, upon which he went to work with Max von Laue at the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Institut für Physikalische Chemie und Elektrochemie (KWI). There he discovered a phenomenon regarding the anomalous low absorption of X-rays that became known as the "Borrmann effect" (or "Borrmann-Campbell effect", for Herbert N. Campbell.)Following the war, in 1951 Bormann was offered the Kristalloptik der Röntgenstrahlen department of the KWI. He became a Scientific Fellow in 1956. He was appointed Professor at the Technische Universität Berlin, retiring in 1970. In 1996, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Kristallographie honored Gerhard Borrmann pioneering work in X-ray diffraction with the first Carl-Hermann Medal.

German Physical Society

The German Physical Society (German: Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft, DPG) is the world's largest organization of physicists. The DPG's worldwide membership is cited as 61,954, as of 2018. It holds an annual conference (Jahrestagung) and multiple spring conferences (Frühjahrstagungen), which are held at various locations and along topical subjects of given sections of the DPG.

The DPG serves the fields of pure and applied physics. Main aims are to bring its members and all physicists living in Germany closer together, represent their entirety outwards as well as foster the exchange of ideas between its members and foreign colleagues. The DPG binds itself and its members to advocate for freedom, tolerance, veracity and dignity in science and to be aware about the fact that the people working in science are responsible to a particularly high extent for the configuration of the overall human activity.

Goethe University Frankfurt

University of Frankfurt (German: Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main) is a university located in Frankfurt, Germany. It was founded in 1914 as a citizens' university, which means it was founded and funded by the wealthy and active liberal citizenry of Frankfurt. The original name was Universität Frankfurt am Main. In 1932, the university's name was extended in honour of one of the most famous native sons of Frankfurt, the poet, philosopher and writer/dramatist Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. The university currently has around 45,000 students, distributed across four major campuses within the city.

The university celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2014. The first female president of the university, Birgitta Wolff, was sworn into office in 2015. 18 Nobel Prize winners have been affiliated with the university, including Max von Laue and Max Born. The university is also affiliated with 11 winners of the prestigious Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize.

Göttingen Eighteen

The Göttingen Eighteen (German: Göttinger Achtzehn) was a group of eighteen leading nuclear researchers of the newly founded Federal Republic of Germany who wrote the Göttingen Manifesto on April 12, 1957, opposing Chancellor Konrad Adenauer and Defense Secretary Franz-Josef Strauß's move to arm the West German army, the Bundeswehr, with tactical nuclear weapons.

The eighteen atomic scientists were: Fritz Bopp, Max Born, Rudolf Fleischmann, Walther Gerlach, Otto Hahn, Otto Haxel, Werner Heisenberg, Hans Kopfermann, Max von Laue, Heinz Maier-Leibnitz, Josef Mattauch, Friedrich Adolf Paneth, Wolfgang Paul, Wolfgang Riezler, Fritz Straßmann, Wilhelm Walcher, Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker and Karl Wirtz.

These eighteen people were leading researchers and members of public institutions for research on nuclear energy and technology in West Germany in that time.

The group's name was chosen because many of the signatories were connected with the university town of Göttingen, and as a reference to the 19th century Göttingen Seven.

Göttingen Manifesto

The Göttingen Manifesto was a declaration of 18 leading nuclear scientists of West Germany (among them the Nobel laureates Otto Hahn, Max Born, Werner Heisenberg and Max von Laue) against arming the West German army with tactical nuclear weapons in the 1950s, the early part of the Cold War, as the West German government under chancellor Adenauer had suggested.

Ilse Rosenthal-Schneider

Ilse Rosenthal-Schneider (25 April 1891 – 6 February 1990) was a German-Australian physicist and philosopher. She is best known for her collaboration and correspondence with physicists Albert Einstein, Max von Laue, and Max Planck. Rosenthal-Schneider earned a PhD in philosophy in 1920 at the University of Berlin, where she first met Albert Einstein. After leaving Nazi Germany and emigrating to Australia in 1938, she became a tutor in the German department at the University of Sydney in 1945 and taught history and philosophy of science. In the 1940s and 1950s, she exchanged a series of letters with Albert Einstein about philosophical aspects of physics, such as theory of relativity, fundamental constants and physical reality. She remained in contact with Einstein through correspondence until the death of Einstein in 1955.

Institut Laue–Langevin

The Institut Laue–Langevin (ILL) is an internationally financed scientific facility, situated on the Polygone Scientifique in Grenoble, France. It is one of the world centres for research using neutrons. Founded in 1967 and honouring the physicists Max von Laue and Paul Langevin, the ILL provides one of the most intense neutron sources in the world and the most intense continuous neutron flux in the world in the moderator region: 1.5×1015 neutrons per second per cm2, with a thermal power of typically 58.3 MW.

The ILL neutron scattering facilities allow the analysis of the structure of conducting and magnetic materials for future electronic devices, the measurement of stresses in mechanical materials. It also allows investigations into macromolecular assemblies, particularly protein dynamics and biomolecular structure. It is a world-renowned centre for nanoscale science.

John Lansdale Jr.

John Lansdale Jr. (9 January 1912 – 22 August 2003) was a United States Army colonel who was in charge of intelligence and security for the Manhattan Project.

A graduate of the Virginia Military Institute and Harvard Law School, Lansdale was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the United States Army Reserve in 1933. He was called up for active duty in June 1941, and was assigned to the Investigations Branch in the Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff, G-2 (military intelligence) of the War Department General Staff. He became involved with the Manhattan Project in 1942, eventually becoming Brigadier General Leslie Groves's special assistant for security. Lansdale coordinated the activities of the Manhattan Project's field security teams with those of other agencies such as the FBI.

In April 1945, Groves sent Lansdale to Europe, where he worked with the Alsos Mission to secure 1,000 tons of uranium ore from the German Wirtschaftliche Forschungsgesellschaft (WiFO) plant in Stassfurt. He also participated in the planning and execution of Operation Harborage, in which a special Allied force went deep behind enemy lines, seized 1.5 tons of uranium ingots, and captured a number of German nuclear energy project scientists, including Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker, Max von Laue, Karl Wirtz, Horst Korsching and Erich Bagge and Otto Hahn.

Kernphysikalische Forschungsberichte

Kernphysikalische Forschungsberichte (Research Reports in Nuclear Physics) was an internal publication of the German Uranverein, which was initiated under the Heereswaffenamt (Army Ordnance Office) in 1939; in 1942, supervision of the Uranverein was turned over to the Reichsforschungsrat under the Reichserziehungsministerium. Reports in this publication were classified Top Secret, they had very limited distribution, and the authors were not allowed to keep copies. The reports were confiscated under the Allied Operation Alsos and sent to the United States Atomic Energy Commission for evaluation. In 1971, the reports were declassified and returned to Germany. Many of the reports are available at the Karlsruhe Nuclear Research Center and the Niels Bohr Library of the American Institute of Physics. Many of them are reprinted and transcribed in the book

"Collected Works / Gesammelte Werke" listed below which is available in most libraries. There are reports numbered G-1 to G-395.Prominent German scientists who published reports in Kernphysikalische Forschungsberichte as members of the Uranverein can be grouped as follows:

Nine of the ten German nuclear physicists, except for Max von Laue, incarcerated in England at the close of World War II under Operation Epsilon: Erich Bagge, Kurt Diebner, Walther Gerlach, Otto Hahn, Paul Harteck, Werner Heisenberg, Horst Korsching, Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker, and Karl Wirtz.

German physicists sent to Russia to work on the Soviet atomic bomb project: Robert Döpel, Walter Herrmann, Heinz Pose, Nikolaus Riehl, and Karl Zimmer.

Others: Fritz Bopp, Walther Bothe, Wolfgang Finkelnburg, Siegfried Flügge, Hans Geiger, Karl-Heinz Höcker, Fritz Houtermans, Georg Joos, Horst Korsching, Carl Ramsauer, Fritz Sauter, and Fritz Strassmann.

Kurd von Mosengeil

Kurd Friedrich Rudolf von Mosengeil, also Curd Friedrich Rudolf von Mosengeil (* 7 March 1884 in Bonn; † 5 September 1906 at Wildgall in Rieserfernergruppe), was a German physicist.

Kurd von Mosengeil was a student of Max Planck. In 1905, the latter became the most prominent early advocate of the theory of special relativity of Albert Einstein. In the subsequent years, Planck published several works, in which he explained further consequences of Einstein's theory. He conveyed his enthusiasm to his assistant Max von Laue and his student Kurd of Mosengeil, who became the first physicists to habilitate and graduate, respectively, in relativity-related subjects.

Tragically, Kurd von Mosengeil died in a mountaineering accident in Tyrol in September 1906, as he was completing his doctoral dissertation. Planck and Wilhelm Wien edited his draft for publication in the Annalen der Physik in 1907. The resulting posthumous paper (Theorie der stationären Strahlung in einem gleichförmig bewegten Hohlraum, en:Theory of stationary radiation in a uniformly moving cavity) contains the correct relativistic expression for the temperature of a moving body among other equations of relativistic thermodynamics and a statement of the mass-energy equivalence inspired by the work of Friedrich Hasenöhrl (1904). Planck vouched personally for the scientific content of von Mosengeil's dissertation and believed in its lasting value. Von Mosengeil's results help break new ground in further researches by Planck (1907) and Einstein (1908).

Laue equations

In crystallography, the Laue equations relate the incoming waves to the outgoing waves in the process of diffraction by a crystal lattice. They are named after physicist Max von Laue (1879–1960). They reduce to Bragg's law.

List of Fellows of the Royal Society elected in 1949

This page lists Fellows of the Royal Society elected in 1949.

Matteucci Medal

The Matteucci Medal is an Italian award for physicists, named after Carlo Matteucci. It was established to award physicists for their fundamental contributions. Under an Italian Royal Decree dated July 10, 1870, the Italian Society of Sciences was authorized to receive a donation from Carlo Matteucci for the establishment of the Prize.

Matteucci MedalistsSource: Italian Society of Sciences

Max Planck Institute for Physics

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is a physics institute in Munich, Germany that specializes in high energy physics and astroparticle physics. It is part of the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft and is also known as the Werner Heisenberg Institute, after its first director in its current location.

The founding of the institute traces back to 1914, as an idea from Fritz Haber, Walther Nernst, Max Planck, Emil Warburg, Heinrich Rubens. On October 1, 1917, the institute was officially founded in Berlin as Kaiser-Wilhelm-Institut für Physik (KWIP, Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Physics) with Albert Einstein as the first head director. In October 1922, Max von Laue succeeded Einstein as managing director. Einstein gave up his position as a director of the institute in April 1933. The Institute took part in the German nuclear weapon project from 1939-1942.A year after the end of fighting in Europe in World War II, the institute was moved to Göttingen and renamed the Max Planck Institute for Physics, with Heisenberg continuing as managing director. In 1946, Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker and Karl Wirtz joined the faculty as the directors for theoretical and experimental physics, respectively.In June 1942, Werner Heisenberg took over as managing director. In 1955 the institute made the decision to move to Munich, and soon after began construction of its current building, designed by Sep Ruf. The institute moved into its current location on September 1, 1958 and took on the new name the Max Planck Institute for Physics and Astrophysics, still with Heisenberg as the managing director. In 1991, the institute was split into the Max Planck Institute for Physics, the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics and the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics.

Peter Fulde

Peter Fulde (born April 6, 1936 in Breslau, now Wroclaw) is a physicist working in condensed matter theory and quantum chemistry.

Fulde received a PhD degree at the University of Maryland in 1963. After spending more than one year as a postdoc with M. Tinkham in Berkeley, he returned in 1965 to Germany where he obtained a chair for theoretical physics in 1968 at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt/M. From 1971-74 he was in charge of the theory group of the Institute Max von Laue-Paul Langevin in Garching. In 1971 he became a director at the Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research in Stuttgart where he served until 1993 when he became the founding director of the Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems in Dresden. After his retirement in 2007 he became president of the Asia Pacific Center for Theoretical Physics and a faculty member at POSTECH in Pohang (Korea). He directed the center until 2013.

Fulde has made numerous contributions to Condensed matter physics including superconductivity and correlated electrons in molecules and solids. Particicularly known is the Fulde-Ferrell-Larkin-Ovchinnikov (FFLO) phase which may occur when fermions with imbalanced populations are paired.

Fulde is a founding member of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities (former Preussische Akadamie der Wissenschaften). He is a member of the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina and Deutsche Akademie für Technikwissenschaften (acatech). Among his awards are the Order of Merit of the Free State of Saxony (2007), the Tsungming Tu Award of the National Science Council of Taiwan (2009) and the Marian-Smoluchowski-Emil-Warburg-Award of the German and Polish Physical Societies (2011).

He is an Honorary Citizen of the Province Gyeongsangbuk do of the Republic of Korea (2014) and of the City of Pohang (2016).

Stadtfriedhof (Göttingen)

The old Stadtfriedhof (City Cemetery) in Göttingen is a historic cemetery with graves of important scholars. It is the final resting place of no less than eight Nobel Prize winners: Max Born, Otto Hahn, Max von Laue, Walther Nernst, Max Planck, Otto Wallach, Adolf Windaus and

Richard Zsigmondy.


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