D O C U M E N T 3 4 3 O C T O B E R 1 9 2 4 3 4 5
I’m probably coming on
Best regards,
343. From Auguste Piccard
Brussels, 14 Ernestine Avenue, 22 October 1924
Highly esteemed Professor,
I duly received both of your letters (of the 15th and the 18th). I replied to the first
immediately. In case you have not received my letter, in what follows I would like
to repeat some things: By the first method, I very quickly arrived at a precision that
was [almost] sufficient to decide the
Then I improved the apparatus
somewhat but initially did not arrive at a definitive result. Furthermore, I explained
that it would please me very much if you permitted me to work according to the
vaporization method as well, and I attached some remarks about that experiment.
Now I have received your second letter, which replies in part to my letter. To this,
now, the following: I thank you very much for your proposal that I can work by the
vaporization method. I shall do everything I can to warrant this trust you are thus
placing in me and my laboratory. First, I am going to conduct trials to establish how
one can best vaporize a liquid without bubble formation. I am taking into consid-
eration: boiled air-free water, boiled organic liquids, or mercury. Various things
must be taken into account. The vapor must not be ionized too intensely by any
penetrating γ radiation. It must not corrode the insulation material. Organic liquids
will consequently only be usable with quartz piping. The temperature must not be
too high due to the indispensable gaskets. I think it will be best to connect the con-
densation sphere to the electrometer; one can then make the vaporizing vessel as
large as one likes and can observe it well. Albeit, cooling down cannot be done so
easily because the electric current [then] acts as a heater. However, I can fill the ves-
sel with lumps of ice beforehand. Then one obtains a very rapid condensation and
the fact that the temperature is constant will be very convenient. A large vessel
filled with moistened pieces of pumice could serve as carburetor. After this vessel
has been heated, and after both vessels have been evacuated, the connecting tap is
opened and the liquid will evaporate and condense at a [rapid] arbitrary rate.
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