Publisher Information: Berlin: 1954.
Laue, Max von (1879-1960). (1) Typed letter signed, in German with typed and ms. corrections, dated 12.6.54 (June 12, 1954), to Rolf Hosemann (b. 1912), addressed to "Lieber Kollege" (dear colleague). 1-1/3pp., on single sheet with letterhead of the Fritz-Haber-Institut der Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, Berlin. (2) Typed letter signed, in German to Hosemann dated 19.7.54 (July 19, 1954). 1 page, on letterhead of the Institut as above. (3) Undated typed letter signed (draft) in German, written in 1954 or later, to an unnamed member of the Stiftenverband fur die Deutsche Wissenschaft. 2-1/4pp., on 2 sheets. (4) Printed circular letter in German dated 1.11.53 (November 1, 1953) with von Laue's autograph signature at the foot and Hosemann's name and the date "3.5.1952" filled in by typewriter. 1 sheet, on letterhead of the Institut as above. (5) Printed thank-you note in German dated 9 October 1953, signed in ink by von Laue, with a portrait photograph of von Laue (85 x 114 mm.) attached. 4pp. 211 x 149 mm. Together 5 items, comprising the thank-you note and 4 letters on 5 sheets total, all measuring 292 x 211 mm.; all sheets punched for a two-hole binder. Letters creased where previously folded, slight soiling and wear, thank-you note a little dust-soiled and browned with thumbtack holes in each corner, but very good. English translations included.
Max von Laue received the Nobel Prize for physics in 1914 for his discovery of the diffraction of x-rays in crystals, a discovery that Einstein called one of the most beautiful in physics."Subsequently it was possible to investigate X radiation itself by means of wavelength determination as well as to study the structure of the irradiated material. . . . The new field of X-ray structural analysis that Laue established developed into an important branch of physics and chemistry" (DSB). Laue continued to develop his theory of X-ray interference in the following decades, and did some important work on superconductivity as well. An early supporter of Einstein's theory of relativity, Laue was one of the few members of the Prussian Academy of Sciences to protest Einstein's dismissal from that organization in 1933 following the Nazi rise to power; that same year, Laue also successfully prevented the Academy from admitting Johannes Stark, the pro-Hitler physicist who believed relativity to be a "world-wide Jewish trick."
After World War II Laue played an active role in rebuilding German science, founding the German Physical Society and re-establishing both the German Research Association and the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt. In April 1951, at the age of 71, Laue took over the directorship of the Fritz-Haber-Institut der Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, a post he occupied until his death nine years later.
This collection of materials contains two letters from Laue to Rolf Hosemann, his chief assistant at the Fritz-Haber-Institut. Hosemann had submitted a paper to Laue for review, and in (1), the first of his letters to Hosemann, von Laue critiques it thoroughly: I have gone to a lot of trouble with the second section of your work, "Lorentz-invariant deduction of Hamiltonian mechanics, Maxwellian electrodynamics and Schroedinger wave mechanics from the so-called general wave equation. Clarification of the wave-particle dualism." I have objections in many places. . . . What do you want to do in this second section? The fact that you present the reader the mechanics of the mass point, which are well known to him, in a peculiar and most unpleasant notation, in my opinion, is rather superfluous. You want to begin with Equations (36) and (28), which are known to lead to the Hamiltonian equations of mechanics. What is the rest for? . . . You refer to de Broglie's agreement. Are you sure that he has actually studied your manuscript? Being French, he has a strong tendency to avoid an uncomfortable discussion by using some pleasing phrases. In any case, I cannot accept your manuscript as submitted for the Zeitschrift fur Physik. In my opinion, the rewriting must rephrase the title, which promised entirely too much, to something more modest. . . . I have now also read Section III. In this section you state that Section II has already covered the movement of a mass point in a specified electromagnetic field. The reader would be happy to believe that, because of the introduction of your "potential four-vector" pe was directed to that from the beginning. But these laws of motion do not by any means include all of electrodynamics. . . . The claim you make at the beginning of the work, that you can derive electrodynamics from the relativity principle, completely misses the target.
Hosemann then apparently sent Laue a rewrite of his paper, to which Laue responded in (2): I began yesterday to read your manuscript, the boomerang, and must admit that this manuscript makes an infinitely better impression than the previous one. . . . I have made many marginal comments, but they only concern format. I will continue reading, and hope that we will very quickly agree when we next meet. But I hope that the important content of your work will find a form adequate for it. In order to inform you at once of some of my reservations: At more than one point in your proof you refer to equations which appear later. I have convinced myself that this is superfluous in all of these cases, and therefore not harmful. But the reader, seeing something like that, immediately expects circular reasoning, as you derive the later equations from the earlier ones. . . .
No. (3), the draft of a letter from Laue to the Stiftenverband fur die Deutsche Wissenschaft (Society for the Support of German Science), contains a great deal of information about Hosemann and his work at the Fritz-Haber-Institut, as well as the type of research the Institut was engaged in, and some insight into how the Institut obtained its funding during the 1950s: Over the last four years, my chief assistant, Professor R. Hosemann, established an X-ray department at my Institute concerned particularly with study of the structures of non-crystalline substances (e.g., high polymers or colloids). . . . The Institute first worked with fundamental problems of diffraction. For example, the theory of the ideal paracrystal was published (Z. Physik 128, 1 & 465 ), as well as the diffraction theory of the lamellar bundle (Z. Physik 127, 16 ; Koll. Z. 117, 13 ). The monograph, "The statistical character of the fine structure of high-molecular weight and colloidal substances," was published in "On the Structure and Matter of Solids," Springer-Verlag, 1952. . . . Independent of that, experimental studies initially concerned primarily with fundamental problems were started at this Institute (see, for example, Die Naturwissenschaften 41, 440 ). But many of these works are so well completed that it is possible to start studying practical problems (e.g., X-ray interferences in colloidal systems such as latex emulsions, crystal structure studies with the counting tube goniometer, etc.) Unfortunately, we have not yet been able to realize adequate support for the completion of this work at the Max Planck Society. Given the existing controls, then, we fear that Prof. Hosemann will lose his coworkers, who have worked very intensively and successfully for the last four years in this new and rather difficult field of work. . . .
No. (4) is a printed circular letter addressed to Hosemann, concerning an agreement between the Institut and the Deutschen Forschungshochschule Berlin-Dahlem.
No. (5) is a printed thank-you notice with original photograph, apparently sent to all who participated in the October 9, 1953 celebration of Laue's 74th birthday and the 50th anniversary of his receiving the doctorate.
Despite all his researches mentioned in no. (3) above, Laue's correspondent and assistant Hosemann is not mentioned in our reference works on the history of 20th century physics. OCLC cites three monographs written or co-written by Hosemann: Die Erforschung der Struktur hochmolekular und kolloider Stoffe mittels Kleiwinkelstreuung (1952), mentioned in Laue's letter; Lichtoptische Herstellung und Diskussion der Faltungsquadrate parakristaller Gitter (1956); and Direct Analysis of Diffraction by Matter (1962). DSB. Weber, Pioneers of Science, pp. 49-50.Book Id: 32972