2 6 6 D O C . 3 1 9 F E B R U A R Y 1 9 2 0 voice will have little influence. Your letter would have to come into my hands very soon (the first committee meeting takes place this Saturday already).[4] It will be difficult to win over Born, and one would later have to leave to him the deciding word regarding Voigt’s successor—a more experimental physicist could then be considered for this position of Voigt’s, which incidentally is just an Extraordinary Professorship.[5] In asking you to accept my apologies for the disturbance and thanking you very much in advance, I am, with cordial regards, yours, Hilbert. 319. From Friedrich Kottler Vienna, 19 February 1920 Esteemed Professor, I thank you sincerely for your friendly letter of 5 February and for forwarding your paper.[1] First of all, as regards the question of my employment, I have been eyeing a tran- sition into the practical world as an ultima ratio for some time now. But I had men- tal reservations about embarking on this path until now because, with my way of working, it would presumably mean an end to my academic career. For I am depen- dent on my lecture, which I tend to use to develop my ideas but it seems difficult for me to unite the duties of academic teaching with a practical profession. More- over, at one time I had bad experiences with a similar position, an assistantship un- der Lecher I could not get around to doing any productive work, which is why I had to give up the position after 2 years.[2] It seems to me that all practical jobs hold the same dangers here in Vienna, at least, there are none that offer any prospect of much free time, which is no wonder with such a large pool of job seekers. On the other hand, though, I am compelled by my material circumstances to look increas- ingly seriously for a livelihood. But at the advice of my friend Prof. Ehrenhaft[3] I decided to stay in the academic profession as long as the remainder of my inherit- ance permits, which is obviously getting more and more difficult by the day, owing to the misguided social policy of our government.[4] Allow me to mention in this regard another prospect that seems to present itself for me: the situation in theoretical physics evidently looks unpromising mathemat- ics, on the other hand, does look much better. I am actually more a mathematician, originally, and habilitated in mathematical physics [5] my work is on the border be- tween the two fields. For this reason I feel qualified to aspire to a teaching position
Previous Page Next Page