1 5 2 D O C U M E N T 1 5 6 N O V E M B E R 1 9 2 3
to you now, that I mentioned to you when we were speaking about this matter after
the colloquium, namely, that the atoms could be directed by the light-radiation field
itself, was first expressed by Ornstein during a conversation in
jokingly. I would like to see whether something can be done with that; I do, of
course, have my strong reservations about whether Wood’s so-called field-free
space can have been so precisely compensated for; that, on the contrary, the light
fields, amounting to probably scarcely over one-hundredth gauss, make a differ-
ence, and whether there should not rather have always also been residual fields
there of minimal magnitude either from the Earth’s magnetism or from the com-
Avoiding such fields will be a quite complicated matter, I fear.
Having already forced myself to write a letter, I would like to quickly add a cou-
ple of staffing issues that might interest you. The appointment affair here is stuck
in a completely ridiculous stage again. The faculty had been asked by the Ministry
for a new list, but only with nominees with some prospect of coming. Planck and
Laue had
as I completely reliably know, that a better man from the out-
side would not be obtainable at all today and for that reason wanted to propose a
provisional solution, with me as imperial administrator. But during the committee
meeting, little
jumps up from his seat, like the devil from a box, he, as
the only experimental physicist, etc., and there’s only one possible list: Lenard,
and he is most eagerly seconded by
Lenard was
the greatest living German physicist, and it was a shame, and more of the like; and
Planck and Laue, who are not at all able to cope with such intrigues, and evidently
in order not to let seemingly personal antipathies appear to be decisive, didn’t open
their mouths until someone else (who had previously been taken into their confi-
dence to support their proposals) designates at least the first two as impossible and
after interminable debate unanimously agree on Zenneck (for whom, additionally,
if he came here, Telefunken would do a great deal: selling to the highest bidder)
with the proviso that in the event he declines, a final provisional solution with Weh-
nelt as director would be implemented. Wehnelt—in every respect totally incapable
himself of intrigue—told me afterwards, entirely innocently, that now all would
stay as is, because the possibility that Zenneck (whom he himself had placed on the
list as someone very likely to accept) would come is really completely excluded;
since then he has been putting himself forward very much as the new man, graces
the colloquium with his presence—in short: it is a disgusting mess, and after having
never said a word previously about the whole matter out of principle, I recently
thoroughly enlightened Laue about my opinion; he agreed with [me] about every-
thing, but that’s not going to help anyway. In the end it doesn’t matter to me, but
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