2 5 8 D O C . 3 0 9 F E B R U A R Y 1 9 2 0 Many thanks for the publication about Lille.[4] I read it with great interest and gained the impression that, with this objective discussion, which leaves it to the reader to form his own judgment, you can only be doing some good. (I say “you” even though I find in the booklet neither your name nor that of the others you had mentioned to me before.)[5] ————— I have (inspired by an earlier remark of Schouten’s) worked out exactly accord- ing to your theory the motion of a planet rotating around an axis and actually do find a peculiar precessional motion of the axis, albeit one too slow to be revealed by observations.[6] That is, provided I did not make any coefficient or sign errors and provided that, in actuality, all the terms do not have to cancel each other out in the final result.– With cordial greetings from both of us, yours truly, H. A. Lorentz. 309. From Hans T. Cohn Berlin, 12 February 1920 Esteemed Professor, I just came away from your course and take the liberty, even though you do not know me at all, of saying a few words to you in this way about the audience’s be- havior, to apologize to you to some extent.[1] I do this not so much for my own sake rather, I believe that there are quite a number among your auditors who are just as offended as I by today’s scene. With- out even mentioning the issue itself, both parties showed themselves in such an ugly light today that one could only blush with shame.[2] I am not one of the advanced students, let alone an expert I am 18 years old and a physics student in my 1st term. That’s a period when one doesn’t know yet whether one is a Communist or a Monarchist, whether an atheist or a nationalistic Jew.[3] But the one thing I do know for certain is that knowledge, great knowledge, is a matter that should not be besmirched by such dirty and base discussions as it was today, and even if I can’t yet grasp the full extent of the greatness of your creation, Professor—and these are not meant to be just empty words—surely everyone senses it just a bit, the topic notwithstanding.– And when you then hear words like “Socialist” and “money refund”[4] or “Are we still students?!” uttered in a hall in which lectures like the one that has been tak- ing place these past Thursdays, well, all you can feel is shame for one’s own class- mates and for the adolescence common to us all, which in its rude, partly even over- zealous well-meant radicalism has caused so much mischief.
Previous Page Next Page