D O C U M E N T 3 4 4 S E P T E M B E R 1 9 2 2 4 9 5
344. From Jacques Loeb
The Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research, New York
66th
Street and Avenue A
Marine Laboratory, Woods Hole, Mass. September 4, 1922
My dear Professor Einstein:
It was extremely kind of you to take the trouble of reading my book and to write
to me in such an appreciative
way.[1]
The reason why the protein molecule only acts
as acid or as base is difficult to explain, except that it is a fact as far as gelatin and
proteins in general are concerned. I have ventured to explain it in analogy with the
experiences on indicators which have shown that the chromophore group of indi-
cators undergoes a tautomeric change at a definite hydrogen ion concentration. As
a preliminary suggestion, I offered the idea that an isomeric change may also occur
in the protein molecule at a critical hydrogen ion concentration.
We were all very much worried and shocked at the turn of events in Germany. I
think it is an excellent idea for you to follow the invitation which takes you across
the seas, and I only wish that you would accept my suggestion that I made to you
a year ago, that you spend several years in the United States. If you would consider
this possibility, I think arrangements could be made whereby you could have full
independence and facilities to work. I do not think that matters will be very much
different in Germany in the next few years. Will you let me know how you feel
about this matter?
I have had to abandon my trip to Germany for the reason that Mrs. Loeb was not
very well and that it looked for a time as if she had to undergo a serious operation.
I could not make up my mind to go to Germany with the burden of that worry re-
sting on my shoulders, and it seemed only fair to me that I should inform the com-
mittee of this situation. It would have been a great satisfaction to me if I had had a
chance to bring some of my results before the physical chemists, since I have a very
limited audience in this country and since in Germany they are not familiar with
the literature published during the
year.[2]
In addition, the opposition on the part of
the majority of the biologists to any application of physical chemistry to biological
problems, and the opposition of the old-fashioned type of colloid chemists like
Wolfgang Ostwald, prevent the dissemination of these facts in German literature.
I hope it will be possible, finally, to get support in this country for those German
scientists who are able to do the right kind of work; if not, I am afraid there will be
added to the brutality following this war the cessation of scientific activity which
can only result in keeping the forces of brutality longer in power.
I remain with kindest regards from all of us to yourself and Mrs. Einstein, Yours
very sincerely,
Jacques Loeb
Previous Page Next Page