D O C U M E N T 4 2 1 M A R C H 1 9 2 9 3 8 3 421. To Adolf von Harnack [Berlin,] 5 March 1929 To the President of the Kaiser Wilhelm Society for the Furtherance of the Sciences, His Excellency High Privy Councilor von Harnack Proposal: Construction of an institute for theoretical physics as an extension of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Physics. On 6 July 1917, the senate of the Kaiser Wilhelm Society decreed the founding of a Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for physical research, in accordance with the proposal submitted by Messrs. HABER,[1] NERNST, PLANCK, RUBENS, and WAR- BURG. Shortly thereafter, on 1 October 1917, that institute was initiated under the direction of Albert EINSTEIN.[2] During the intervening 12 years, the institute has carried out its work in accord with the report that laid the basis for its founding. Ini- tially, its budget amounted to 75,000 M, of which 2/3 was contributed annually by the Kaiser Wilhelm Society and 1/3 by the Koppel Foundation. Following the pe- riod of inflation, the financial basis for the institute was gone, but in recent years, economic support for its activities has been provided by regular funding from the Kaiser Wilhelm Society, which at present amounts to 70,000 M per annum. The di- rectorship has been occupied in the recent past by Professor Max von LAUE as stand-in for Professor Albert EINSTEIN, supported by a board of directors consist- ing of the Messrs. HABER, NERNST, PASCHEN, PLANCK, and WARBURG. The original plan stipulated a small building in Dahlem as the seat of the institute, which would permit meetings to be held as well as providing space for archives, a library, and for some physical apparatus. This building has thus far not been erect- ed. In the past 12 years, the significance of the role of such a Kaiser Wilhelm Insti- tute has not diminished on the contrary, it has substantially increased. An evolu- tion of theoretical physics has occurred that is unique in the history of the field, and it is now so productive and successful that we are almost at a loss to name a com- parable development in all the history of the sciences. It is no exaggeration to say that theoretical physics, which forms a central theme in the field of the exact sci- ences from which all the other fields find support, has become a center within the past quarter century out of which the most light radiates and the strongest impulses for the work of the other fields emanate. It is furthermore not to be expected that this situation will change in the near future. For this reason, we, the undersigned members of the board of directors of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Physics, be- lieve that an extension of this institution lies in the interest of all the exact natural sciences, and in the spirit of the Kaiser Wilhelm Society for the Furtherance of the Sciences.
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