D O C U M E N T 1 4 4 A P R I L 1 9 2 2 1 3 7
tion as the temperature drops. Nernst rejects my arguments in his textbook “if only
because Debye’s assumptions lead to an attraction independent of the temperature”
(quoted from memory, therefore accurate only in
It is thus evident that
you do not “subscribe to it word for word,” as Nernst writes in his letter.
In the first paragraph of your letter, you now present a new reason why my con-
siderations should be rejected. You think that although everything is in order theo-
retically and the molecular forces I suppose are in fact present, I am incorrect
insofar “as until now, owing to a deformation of the molecule, the attraction effect
merely constitutes a practically vanishing fraction.” This, too, I must reject, how-
ever. It happens that I can justify this position irrefutably and, in fact, without it
being necessary to resort to the numerical calculations. Indeed: For all monatomic
gases the polarization attraction is the sole one known up to now that could come
into consideration. If you wanted to take the orientational attractions here as well,
according to the classical calculation followed by Van der Waals, junior, and by
then, at the same time, you are also implicitly reckoning that the indi-
vidual particles possess a rotational energy measurable by the equipartition theo-
rem, i.e., you assume the value 5 instead of 3 for the specific heat. For you, I surely
do not need to elaborate further on this remark! I would just still like to point out
that (1) Zwicky demonstrated in the Phys[ikalische] Zeitschr[ift] that the theoreti-
cal temperature dependence of polarization forces also sets the practical course of
the attraction for the noble
and (2) that Keesom meanwhile completed his
calculations for hydrogen by taking the polarization forces into
ing the order of magnitude, one can specify more precisely thus: Polarization
attraction is of the same order of magnitude as the total attraction observed in the
noble gases.
I would very much like to receive a response from you.
With best regards, yours,
P. Debye.
144. From Paul G. Tomlinson[1]
Princeton, New Jersey, 14 April 1922
My dear Professor Einstein,
We have received the proof sheets of your book and the translation is now
It has been suggested by one of the members of the Mathematics
Department here at
that possibly the book would have more appeal to
the general reader if certain passages in it which are rather technical could be
explained and somewhat simplified. The suggested method of doing this is either
Previous Page Next Page