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kindly Alsatian woman cooks for me and Langevin, who comes here daily to eat
with me;
Solovine,[3]
who is helping me very much as the strain is huge, is usually
also here. But my being here is very useful and I am getting to know the most inter-
esting people. Tomorrow I’ll be visiting
Barclay.[4]
There’s no real socializing. All
scrapped. My reception among fellow professionals is extremely cordial. It’s mid-
night, and I’m too tired to report more. God knows when I’ll have some time again!
Warm regards to all of you,
Albert.
I hope you’re keeping your
friend[5]
at arm’s length and you’re feeling well.
On Tuesday evening I’ll be with Aunt
Mathilde.[6]
124. From Peter Debye
Zurich 7, 36 Gloria Street, 31 March 1922
Dear Mr. Einstein,
About my paper, Nernst published a remark on the attractive power of
polarization and the Van der Waals
forces[1]
in his
book.[2]
He rejects the matter on
the justification that I arrived at forces that are independent of temperature, which
was supposedly
unacceptable.[3]
In a notice I composed, after entirely perchance
seeing Nernst’s remark in his book, I summarized the foregoing development of the
subject and contended that Nernst’s remark was completely erroneous. The notice
has not yet been printed; I initially sent it to Nernst in manuscript so that he could
express his opinion on it. Today, now, I received an answer from him, from which
I gather that he has not understood me at all. In particular, it is evidently unclear to
him that whenever attractive forces exist between molecules, in the equation of
state an increasing term for the attraction must appear with decreasing temperature;
therefore the grounds for his rejection cannot hold.
I would not bother you at all with this matter if Nernst had not himself named
you as a witness. He writes: “Perhaps the following fact also interests you. A few
days ago I asked Einstein whether he had read my remarks about your theory. He
immediately answered that he knew these remarks very well and subscribed to
every word of it. Perhaps you will doubly reconsider whether you really want to
pick an entirely unmotivated fight.”
I cannot imagine that you would want to back Nernst’s assertion about a pur-
ported temperature independence of the attraction term following from the theory.
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