D O C U M E N T 3 8 J A N U A R Y 1 9 2 1 3 3
can attain with partially reflective walls was at the bottom of
Lately I have
thought up only little things. The best one yet is an experimental inquiry regarding
the radiation
The statistical laws of radiation raise doubts about whether
Maxwell’s field really exists in radiation. The mean field strength in powerful ther-
mal radiation is of order of magnitude 100 volt/cm; wherever such a field is present
it must produce a Stark effect on emitting and absorbing atoms that is just within
the range of perceptibility. If, however, another distribution of the field’s influence
prevails according to statistical laws of radiation, then the effect must take place on
only a few molecules, and on these very strongly, so one would have beside a very
sharp line a very weak, diffuse effect. I want to test out this matter with
it’s not easy.– Take a look at Byk’s little article on the law of corre-
sponding states and quanta in the Phys.
that is a pretty thing. Your book
made understanding the subject accessible to very many. Half the
Foreign Office, for inst[ance], are supposed to have slogged through it (so now it
can’t miss the mark).You shouldn’t let yourself be so depressed about the political
The large reparations figures and the threats are just moral fodder for
the dear public in France, in order to let the situation appear rosier. The more
impossible the conditions are, the more certain it is that they aren’t going to be
I hope all of you are in good health. Best regards also to your wife from your
This letter opens with the formal address “Ihnen,” reverting toward the end to the familiar second
person singular “Du.”
38. To Evelyn N. Wagner[1]
Berlin, 31 January 1921
Dear Madam,
I cannot persuade myself to follow your kind
not for lack of time,
for instance, but for the following reasons. First, opinions and judgments I express
are currently being assigned too great weight so I avoid making public statements
about areas in which I am not particularly competent; second, there is, here in Ger-
many, an undeniable irritability toward
because of my pacifist and other polit-
ical attitudes, which is only heightened by the country’s difficult political situation.
Under these conditions misinterpretations of my statements would be as good as
certain to occur, so they would rather cause more harm than good.
In great respect.
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