6 0 D O C U M E N T S 3 8 , 3 9 J A N U A R Y 1 9 2 2
38. To Paul Hausmeister[1]
Berlin, 26 January 1922
Dear Sir,
I join my colleague
in his verdict insofar as I also consider your idea
of practical importance. Whether or not in your case the work of electrical decom-
position depends on the pressure is difficult to say, because, in the practical condi-
tions under consideration, the decomposition voltage of the water is, in all
circumstances, higher than the theoretical value. Under all conditions, the decisive
thing is that you do not need any compression system. I advise you to patent the
matter and then to contact pertinent firms. The following wording would apply for
the patent claim:
Process for the production of gases at high voltage, characterized by the electro-
lytic disintegration of liquids under high pressure for the purpose of eliminating the
need for a separate compression system for the gaseous products of electrolysis.
I recommend you immediately register a general patent of this type and perhaps
also protect with a special patent the system for executing the procedure, in case
specific arrangements turn out to be necessary or advantageous in the practical
In great respect.
39. From Paul Ehrenfest
Leyden, 26 January 1922
Dear Einstein,
I naturally thank you very much for your return
Well, I wish you and
your proof all the best, but I don’t believe you at all, zilch; and I fear, I fear .
I don’t, of course, know what you’ll be proving in your “correction
In any
case, note for the record that I say the following:
a.) that an individual wave plane of the wave-fan turns more and more and more,
the farther it travels in the bisulfide-carbon, I gladly concede without any further
proof (but am also willing to read that proof, if you’ve proven this).
b.) But although I concede this, I deny that very slanted waves come out at the
c.) For, as one sees by recalling the circumstance that the experiment essentially
operates with wave “groups,” an individual wave never experiences traveling from
the left end of the tube up to the right end (see letter).—The waves entering at the
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