D O C . 1 7 7 A C C E P T A N C E O F G O L D M E D A L 2 8 9
Published in Nederlandsch Tijdschrift voor Geneeskunde 68 (1924): 128–129. Published 14 January
1924. A manuscript in Ilse Einstein’s hand with no significant differences is available (Delprat Family
Archive [94 881]).
In its meeting of 22 October 1923, the Amsterdam Genootschap ter Bevordering van Natuur-,
Genees- en Heelkunde had decided to award its gold medal to Einstein and Hendrik A. Lorentz (see
Abs. 192). The medal would be presented at its annual general meeting on 31 October. Lorentz
received the medal on that date (see Nederlandsch Tijdschrift voor Geneeskunde 68 (1924): 120–123),
but because Einstein was unable to attend (see Abs. 196), a special meeting was organized for him on
13 December. Einstein’s acceptance speech followed the laudatio by Genootschap chairman J. D. van
der Waals Jr. (see Nederlandsch Tijdschrift voor Geneeskunde 68 : 125–128 for the text). The
text of Einstein’s speech was requested by the secretary of the Genootschap, Constant C. Delprat, on
16 December (see Abs. 232) and sent to him on 30 December (see Abs. 237, the accompanying letter).
The meeting took place in the auditorium of the University of Amsterdam and was attended by
members as well as nonmembers. The mayor of Amsterdam, Willem de Vlugt (1872–1945), was Pro-
tector of the Genootschap.
In the letter accompanying the manuscript (Abs. 237), Einstein points out that he has had to
reconstruct the lecture from his notes, so that its text may differ from what he actually said. In a report
of the meeting in the Nieuwe Rotterdamsche Courant of 14 December 1923, Einstein’s comments on
the problems of quantum theory are rendered as follows: “These problems are so great as never
before; physical science has never been confronted with such an intractable problem” (“Deze moei-
lijkheden zijn zoo groot, als nog nooit tevoren; nimmer heeft de natuurkundige wetenschap voor zulk
een onoplosbaar vraagstuk gestaan”).