1 4 6 D O C U M E N T 1 5 7 A P R I L 1 9 2 2
polarization forces is just as secure as the fact of electrostriction. The order of mag-
nitude of these forces fits excellently with the observed attractions in the noble
gases. Even their temperature development is described, as far as current observa-
tions go. What forces us in this situation to first want to anticipate a future, still very
arbitrarily, formulizable theory for what the existing one today has long since
achieved? This, when we are already certain that even in that future theory the
polarization forces will continue to play their old role!
Best regards, yours,
P. Debye
“Even in the useful equations of state by D. Berthelot and lately by Wohl , the
volume correction and the pressure correction occurs, similarly in van der
Although the former poses hardly any basic difficulties of comprehension, we are
kept entirely in the dark about the effect of the molecular forces, regarding both
their nature and the law governing their forces. Nor can I detect any essential
advancement in the experiment recently done by Debye (Physik. Zeitschr. 21, 178
if only for the reason that by attributing the attractive forces to a kind of
electrostatic influence of the individual molecules, the author arrives at forces that
are independent of temperature, consequently at van der Waals’s formula. But a
useful theory, even if only for weakly compressed gases, would necessarily have
had to lead back to D. Berthelot’s
One can demonstrate, e.g., that the
molecular forces in gaseous hydrogen act c. 50 times more weakly in the vicinity
of 1000° than near boiling point; for this Debye’s theory offers no
156. From Maja Winteler-Einstein
Quinto pr. Firenze 5 via Strozzi, 20-IV-22.
[Not selected for translation.]
157. To Paul Ehrenfest
[Berlin,] 21 April 1922
Dear Ehrenfest,
Many thanks for the English letter and your statement about
Of course a
Hamilton edition merits being published. Now Ilse showed me your postcard with
the comment that St. John wants to come in
Well, we have a problem:
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