D O C U M E N T 1 1 5 S E P T E M B E R 1 9 2 3 1 1 1
it very much that you thought of me in warm and amicable terms on the 18th of
I still vividly remember how you argued with me, over 13 years ago in my room
in Leyden, that my clock would run a little faster if it were positioned near the
That was the beginning of many an instructive correction; and thus the
revolution in our science, which we owe to you, has contributed much toward keep-
ing me young. It was very valuable to me that in issues other than scientific ones
we also almost always basically have been of like mind, such as the way we feel
about the oppression during these times.
Shortly after my celebration, my
and I traveled to Geneva, where the ses-
sions of the Committee on Intellectual Cooperation claimed somewhat over one
week; we at least worked undaunted, two long sessions
Mrs. Curie unfor-
tunately was not
she needed rest to recuperate; neither could Hale
But I did meet his representative, Professor Périgord, with whom I had become
well acquainted in
Otherwise, it’s a colorful assortment. I had the im-
pression that if you had stayed on the Committee, you could have collaborated very
well with its members. Among these circles a striving for universal mutual under-
standing really does exist, even though it cannot yet manifest itself as such, as one
might now wish. Later I shall tell you about our negotiations; we certainly are hop-
ing to achieve something; but here, too, patience is needed.
Shortly after my return home, your letter arrived in which you inform me that
you deem it better not to go to Brussels next
I understand your reasons
and must comply with your wish, although I shall very much regret missing you. I
shall see to it that you receive no official invitation. Nonetheless, I must make one
comment. Accurately speaking, one cannot say that, as Sommerfeld thinks, Ger-
mans were being excluded. Not a word in the statutes speaks of
I could say
that the door is not shut, but still ajar; and in the future let us hope to open it wider.
That won’t work in the next few years, however; Sommerfeld will understand that,
too. We shouldn’t forget that an institute is involved here that coincidentally has its
seat in Belgium; it involves the work of a man who suffered severely from the
events of the war
With cordial regards, also from my wife, yours truly,
H. A. Lorentz.
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