Max von Laue

Max von Laue

Overview
Max Theodor Felix von Laue (9 October 1879 – 24 April 1960) was a German physicist
Physicist
A physicist is a scientist who studies or practices physics. Physicists study a wide range of physical phenomena in many branches of physics spanning all length scales: from sub-atomic particles of which all ordinary matter is made to the behavior of the material Universe as a whole...

 who won the Nobel Prize in Physics
Nobel Prize in Physics
The Nobel Prize in Physics is awarded once a year by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. It is one of the five Nobel Prizes established by the will of Alfred Nobel in 1895 and awarded since 1901; the others are the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Nobel Prize in Literature, Nobel Peace Prize, and...

 in 1914 for his discovery of the diffraction
Diffraction
Diffraction refers to various phenomena which occur when a wave encounters an obstacle. Italian scientist Francesco Maria Grimaldi coined the word "diffraction" and was the first to record accurate observations of the phenomenon in 1665...

 of X-rays by crystals. In addition to his scientific endeavors with contributions in optics
Optics
Optics is the branch of physics which involves the behavior and properties of light, including its interactions with matter and the construction of instruments that use or detect it. Optics usually describes the behavior of visible, ultraviolet, and infrared light...

, crystallography
Crystallography
Crystallography is the experimental science of the arrangement of atoms in solids. The word "crystallography" derives from the Greek words crystallon = cold drop / frozen drop, with its meaning extending to all solids with some degree of transparency, and grapho = write.Before the development of...

, quantum theory
Quantum mechanics
Quantum mechanics, also known as quantum physics or quantum theory, is a branch of physics providing a mathematical description of much of the dual particle-like and wave-like behavior and interactions of energy and matter. It departs from classical mechanics primarily at the atomic and subatomic...

, superconductivity
Superconductivity
Superconductivity is a phenomenon of exactly zero electrical resistance occurring in certain materials below a characteristic temperature. It was discovered by Heike Kamerlingh Onnes on April 8, 1911 in Leiden. Like ferromagnetism and atomic spectral lines, superconductivity is a quantum...

, and the theory of relativity
Theory of relativity
The theory of relativity, or simply relativity, encompasses two theories of Albert Einstein: special relativity and general relativity. However, the word relativity is sometimes used in reference to Galilean invariance....

, he had a number of administrative positions which advanced and guided German scientific research and development
Science and technology in Germany
Germany's achievements in science and technology have been significant and research and development efforts form an integral part of the country's economy. Germany has been the home of some of the most prominent researchers in various scientific disciplines, notably physics, mathematics, chemistry...

 during four decades. A strong objector to National Socialism
Nazism
Nazism, the common short form name of National Socialism was the ideology and practice of the Nazi Party and of Nazi Germany...

, he was instrumental in re-establishing and organizing German science after World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

.

Laue was born in Pfaffendorf, now part of Koblenz
Koblenz
Koblenz is a German city situated on both banks of the Rhine at its confluence with the Moselle, where the Deutsches Eck and its monument are situated.As Koblenz was one of the military posts established by Drusus about 8 BC, the...

, to Julius Laue and Minna Zerrenner.
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Encyclopedia
Max Theodor Felix von Laue (9 October 1879 – 24 April 1960) was a German physicist
Physicist
A physicist is a scientist who studies or practices physics. Physicists study a wide range of physical phenomena in many branches of physics spanning all length scales: from sub-atomic particles of which all ordinary matter is made to the behavior of the material Universe as a whole...

 who won the Nobel Prize in Physics
Nobel Prize in Physics
The Nobel Prize in Physics is awarded once a year by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. It is one of the five Nobel Prizes established by the will of Alfred Nobel in 1895 and awarded since 1901; the others are the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Nobel Prize in Literature, Nobel Peace Prize, and...

 in 1914 for his discovery of the diffraction
Diffraction
Diffraction refers to various phenomena which occur when a wave encounters an obstacle. Italian scientist Francesco Maria Grimaldi coined the word "diffraction" and was the first to record accurate observations of the phenomenon in 1665...

 of X-rays by crystals. In addition to his scientific endeavors with contributions in optics
Optics
Optics is the branch of physics which involves the behavior and properties of light, including its interactions with matter and the construction of instruments that use or detect it. Optics usually describes the behavior of visible, ultraviolet, and infrared light...

, crystallography
Crystallography
Crystallography is the experimental science of the arrangement of atoms in solids. The word "crystallography" derives from the Greek words crystallon = cold drop / frozen drop, with its meaning extending to all solids with some degree of transparency, and grapho = write.Before the development of...

, quantum theory
Quantum mechanics
Quantum mechanics, also known as quantum physics or quantum theory, is a branch of physics providing a mathematical description of much of the dual particle-like and wave-like behavior and interactions of energy and matter. It departs from classical mechanics primarily at the atomic and subatomic...

, superconductivity
Superconductivity
Superconductivity is a phenomenon of exactly zero electrical resistance occurring in certain materials below a characteristic temperature. It was discovered by Heike Kamerlingh Onnes on April 8, 1911 in Leiden. Like ferromagnetism and atomic spectral lines, superconductivity is a quantum...

, and the theory of relativity
Theory of relativity
The theory of relativity, or simply relativity, encompasses two theories of Albert Einstein: special relativity and general relativity. However, the word relativity is sometimes used in reference to Galilean invariance....

, he had a number of administrative positions which advanced and guided German scientific research and development
Science and technology in Germany
Germany's achievements in science and technology have been significant and research and development efforts form an integral part of the country's economy. Germany has been the home of some of the most prominent researchers in various scientific disciplines, notably physics, mathematics, chemistry...

 during four decades. A strong objector to National Socialism
Nazism
Nazism, the common short form name of National Socialism was the ideology and practice of the Nazi Party and of Nazi Germany...

, he was instrumental in re-establishing and organizing German science after World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

.

Early years


Laue was born in Pfaffendorf, now part of Koblenz
Koblenz
Koblenz is a German city situated on both banks of the Rhine at its confluence with the Moselle, where the Deutsches Eck and its monument are situated.As Koblenz was one of the military posts established by Drusus about 8 BC, the...

, to Julius Laue and Minna Zerrenner. In 1898, after passing his Abitur
Abitur
Abitur is a designation used in Germany, Finland and Estonia for final exams that pupils take at the end of their secondary education, usually after 12 or 13 years of schooling, see also for Germany Abitur after twelve years.The Zeugnis der Allgemeinen Hochschulreife, often referred to as...

in Strassburg, he entered his compulsory year of military service, after which he began his studies in mathematics, physics, and chemistry, in 1899, at the University of Strassburg, the University of Göttingen, and the Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich
Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich
The Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich , commonly known as the University of Munich or LMU, is a university in Munich, Germany...

 (LMU). At Göttingen, he was greatly influenced by the physicists Woldemar Voigt
Woldemar Voigt
Woldemar Voigt was a German physicist, who taught at the Georg August University of Göttingen. Voigt eventually went on to head the Mathematical Physics Department at Göttingen and was succeeded in 1914 by Peter Debye, who took charge of the theoretical department of the Physical Institute...

 and Max Abraham
Max Abraham
Max Abraham was a German physicist.Abraham was born in Danzig, Imperial Germany to a family of Jewish merchants. His father was Moritz Abraham and his mother was Selma Moritzsohn. Attending the University of Berlin, he studied under Max Planck. He graduated in 1897...

 and the mathematician David Hilbert
David Hilbert
David Hilbert was a German mathematician. He is recognized as one of the most influential and universal mathematicians of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Hilbert discovered and developed a broad range of fundamental ideas in many areas, including invariant theory and the axiomatization of...

. After only one semester at Munich, he went to the Friedrich-Wilhelms-University of Berlin
Humboldt University of Berlin
The Humboldt University of Berlin is Berlin's oldest university, founded in 1810 as the University of Berlin by the liberal Prussian educational reformer and linguist Wilhelm von Humboldt, whose university model has strongly influenced other European and Western universities...

 in 1902. There, he studied under Max Planck
Max Planck
Max Karl Ernst Ludwig Planck, ForMemRS, was a German physicist who actualized the quantum physics, initiating a revolution in natural science and philosophy. He is regarded as the founder of the quantum theory, for which he received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1918.-Life and career:Planck came...

, who gave birth to the quantum theory revolution on 14 December 1900, when he delivered his famous paper before the Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft
Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft
The Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft is the world's largest organization of physicists. The DPG's worldwide membership is cited as 60,000, as of 2011...

. At Berlin, Laue attended lectures by Otto Lummer
Otto Lummer
Otto Richard Lummer was a German physicist and researcher. He was born in the city of Gera, Germany. With Leon Arons, Lummer helped to design and build the Arons-Lummer mercury-vapor lamp. Lummer primarily worked in the field of optics and thermal radiation...

 on heat radiation and interference spectroscopy, the influence of which can be seen in Laue’s dissertation on interference phenomena in plane-parallel plates, for which he received his doctorate in 1903. Thereafter, Laue spent 1903 to 1905 at Göttingen. Laue completed his Habilitation
Habilitation
Habilitation is the highest academic qualification a scholar can achieve by his or her own pursuit in several European and Asian countries. Earned after obtaining a research doctorate, such as a PhD, habilitation requires the candidate to write a professorial thesis based on independent...

  in 1906 under Arnold Sommerfeld
Arnold Sommerfeld
Arnold Johannes Wilhelm Sommerfeld was a German theoretical physicist who pioneered developments in atomic and quantum physics, and also educated and groomed a large number of students for the new era of theoretical physics...

 at LMU.

Career



In 1906, Laue became a Privatdozent
Privatdozent
Privatdozent or Private lecturer is a title conferred in some European university systems, especially in German-speaking countries, for someone who pursues an academic career and holds all formal qualifications to become a tenured university professor...

in Berlin and an assistant to Planck. He also met Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein was a German-born theoretical physicist who developed the theory of general relativity, effecting a revolution in physics. For this achievement, Einstein is often regarded as the father of modern physics and one of the most prolific intellects in human history...

 for the first time; they became friends and Laue went on to contribute to the acceptance and development of Einstein’s theory of relativity
Theory of relativity
The theory of relativity, or simply relativity, encompasses two theories of Albert Einstein: special relativity and general relativity. However, the word relativity is sometimes used in reference to Galilean invariance....

. Laue continued as assistant to Planck until 1909. In Berlin, he worked on the application of entropy to radiation fields and on the thermodynamic significance of the coherence of light waves.

From 1909 to 1912, Laue was a Privatdozent at the Institute for Theoretical Physics, under Arnold Sommerfeld
Arnold Sommerfeld
Arnold Johannes Wilhelm Sommerfeld was a German theoretical physicist who pioneered developments in atomic and quantum physics, and also educated and groomed a large number of students for the new era of theoretical physics...

, at LMU. During the 1911 Christmas recess and in January 1912, Paul Peter Ewald
Paul Peter Ewald
Paul Peter Ewald was a German-born U.S. crystallographer and physicist, a pioneer of X-ray diffraction methods.-Education:...

 was finishing the writing of his doctoral thesis under Sommerfeld. It was on a walk through the Englischer Garten in Munich
Munich
Munich The city's motto is "" . Before 2006, it was "Weltstadt mit Herz" . Its native name, , is derived from the Old High German Munichen, meaning "by the monks' place". The city's name derives from the monks of the Benedictine order who founded the city; hence the monk depicted on the city's coat...

 in January, that Ewald told Laue about his thesis topic. The wavelengths of concern to Ewald were in the visible region of the spectrum and hence much larger than the spacing between the resonators in Ewald’s crystal model. Laue seemed distracted and wanted to know what would be the effect if much smaller wavelengths were considered. In June, Sommerfeld reported to the Physikalische Gesellschaft of Göttingen on the successful diffraction of x-rays by Laue, Paul Knipping and Walter Friedrich at LMU, for which Laue would be awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics
Nobel Prize in Physics
The Nobel Prize in Physics is awarded once a year by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. It is one of the five Nobel Prizes established by the will of Alfred Nobel in 1895 and awarded since 1901; the others are the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Nobel Prize in Literature, Nobel Peace Prize, and...

, in 1914. While at Munich, he wrote the first volume of his book on relativity during the period 1910 to 1911.

In 1912, Laue was called to the University of Zurich
University of Zurich
The University of Zurich , located in the city of Zurich, is the largest university in Switzerland, with over 25,000 students. It was founded in 1833 from the existing colleges of theology, law, medicine and a new faculty of philosophy....

 as an extraordinarius professor of physics. In 1913, his father was raised to the ranks of hereditary nobility; Laue then became 'Max von
Von
In German, von is a preposition which approximately means of or from.When it is used as a part of a German family name, it is usually a nobiliary particle, like the French, Spanish and Portuguese "de". At certain times and places, it has been illegal for anyone who was not a member of the nobility...

 Laue'.

From 1914 to 1919, Laue was at the University of Frankfurt
Johann Wolfgang Goethe University of Frankfurt am Main
The Goethe University Frankfurt was founded in 1914 as a Citizens' University, which means that, while it was a State university of Prussia, it had been founded and financed by the wealthy and active liberal citizenry of Frankfurt am Main, a unique feature in German university history...

 as ordinarius professor of theoretical physics. From 1916, he was engaged in vacuum tube
Vacuum tube
In electronics, a vacuum tube, electron tube , or thermionic valve , reduced to simply "tube" or "valve" in everyday parlance, is a device that relies on the flow of electric current through a vacuum...

 development, at the University of Würzburg
University of Würzburg
The University of Würzburg is a university in Würzburg, Germany, founded in 1402. The university is a member of the distinguished Coimbra Group.-Name:...

, for use in military telephony
Telephony
In telecommunications, telephony encompasses the general use of equipment to provide communication over distances, specifically by connecting telephones to each other....

 and wireless
Wireless
Wireless telecommunications is the transfer of information between two or more points that are not physically connected. Distances can be short, such as a few meters for television remote control, or as far as thousands or even millions of kilometers for deep-space radio communications...

 communications.

In 1919, Laue was called to the University of Berlin as ordinarius professor of theoretical physics, a position he held until 1943, when he was declared emeritus, with his consent and one year before the mandatory retirement age. At the university in 1919, other notables were Walther Nernst
Walther Nernst
Walther Hermann Nernst FRS was a German physical chemist and physicist who is known for his theories behind the calculation of chemical affinity as embodied in the third law of thermodynamics, for which he won the 1920 Nobel Prize in chemistry...

, Fritz Haber
Fritz Haber
Fritz Haber was a German chemist, who received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1918 for his development for synthesizing ammonia, important for fertilizers and explosives. Haber, along with Max Born, proposed the Born–Haber cycle as a method for evaluating the lattice energy of an ionic solid...

, and James Franck
James Franck
James Franck was a German Jewish physicist and Nobel laureate.-Biography:Franck was born to Jacob Franck and Rebecca Nachum Drucker. Franck completed his Ph.D...

. Laue, as one of the organizers of the weekly Berlin Physics Colloquium, typically sat in the front row with Nernst and Einstein, who would come over from the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Institut für Physik
Max Planck Institute for Physics
Max Planck Institute for Physics is a physics institute in Munich, Germany that specializes in High Energy Physics and Astroparticle physics. It is part of the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft and is also known as the Werner Heisenberg Institute, after its first director.It was founded as the Kaiser Wilhelm...

 in Berlin-Dahlem
Dahlem (Berlin)
Dahlem is a locality of the Steglitz-Zehlendorf borough in southwestern Berlin. Until Berlin's 2001 administrative reform it was a part of the former borough of Zehlendorf. Dahlem is one of the most affluent parts of the city and home to the main campus of the Free University of Berlin with the...

, where he was the director. Among Laue’s notable students at the university were Leó Szilárd
Leó Szilárd
Leó Szilárd was an Austro-Hungarian physicist and inventor who conceived the nuclear chain reaction in 1933, patented the idea of a nuclear reactor with Enrico Fermi, and in late 1939 wrote the letter for Albert Einstein's signature that resulted in the Manhattan Project that built the atomic bomb...

, Fritz London
Fritz London
Fritz Wolfgang London was a German theoretical physicist. His fundamental contributions to the theories of chemical bonding and of intermolecular forces are today considered classic and are discussed in standard textbooks of physical chemistry.With his brother Heinz, he made a significant...

, Max Kohler, and Erna Weber. In 1921, he published the second volume of his book on relativity.

As a consultant to the Physikalisch-Technische Reichsanstalt (PTR), Laue met Walther Meissner who was working there on superconductivity
Superconductivity
Superconductivity is a phenomenon of exactly zero electrical resistance occurring in certain materials below a characteristic temperature. It was discovered by Heike Kamerlingh Onnes on April 8, 1911 in Leiden. Like ferromagnetism and atomic spectral lines, superconductivity is a quantum...

. Meissner had discovered that a weak magnetic field decays rapidly to zero in the interior of a superconductor, which is known as the Meissner effect
Meissner effect
The Meissner effect is the expulsion of a magnetic field from a superconductor during its transition to the superconducting state. The German physicists Walther Meissner and Robert Ochsenfeld discovered the phenomenon in 1933 by measuring the magnetic field distribution outside superconducting tin...

. Laue showed in 1932 that the threshold of the applied magnetic field which destroys superconductivity varies with the shape of the body. Laue published a total of 12 papers and a book on superconductivity. One of the papers was co-authored with Fritz London
Fritz London
Fritz Wolfgang London was a German theoretical physicist. His fundamental contributions to the theories of chemical bonding and of intermolecular forces are today considered classic and are discussed in standard textbooks of physical chemistry.With his brother Heinz, he made a significant...

 and his brother Heinz
Heinz London
Heinz London was a German Physicist. He worked with his brother Fritz on superconductivity, discovering the London equations when working in Oxford, at the Clarendon Laboratory; these equations gave a first explanation to the Meissner effect...

. Meissner published a biography on Laue in 1960.

The Kaiser-Wilhelm Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Wissenschaften
Kaiser Wilhelm Institute
The Kaiser Wilhelm Society for the Advancement of Science was a German scientific institution established in 1911. It was implicated in Nazi science, and after the Second World War was wound up and its functions replaced by the Max Planck Society...

 (Today: Max-Planck Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Wissenschaften) was founded in 1911. Its purpose was to promote the sciences by founding and maintaining research institutes. One such institute was the Kaiser-Wilhelm Institut für Physik
Max Planck Institute for Physics
Max Planck Institute for Physics is a physics institute in Munich, Germany that specializes in High Energy Physics and Astroparticle physics. It is part of the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft and is also known as the Werner Heisenberg Institute, after its first director.It was founded as the Kaiser Wilhelm...

 (KWIP) founded in Berlin-Dahlem in 1914, with Einstein as director. Laue was a trustee of the institute from 1917, and in 1922 he was appointed deputy director, whereupon Laue took over the administrative duties from Einstein. Einstein was traveling abroad when Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

 became Chancellor in January 1933, and Einstein did not return to Germany. Laue then became acting director of the KWIP, a position he held until 1946 or 1948, except for the period 1935 to 1939, when Peter Debye
Peter Debye
Peter Joseph William Debye FRS was a Dutch physicist and physical chemist, and Nobel laureate in Chemistry.-Early life:...

 was director. In 1943, to avoid casualties to the personnel, the KWIP moved to Hechingen
Hechingen
Hechingen is a town in central Baden-Württemberg, Germany. It is situated about south of the state capital of Stuttgart and north of Lake Constance and the Swiss border.- City districts :...

. It was at Hechingen that Laue wrote his book on the history of physics Geschichte der Physik, which was eventually translated into seven other languages.

Opposition to Nazism


Laue opposed National Socialism
Nazism
Nazism, the common short form name of National Socialism was the ideology and practice of the Nazi Party and of Nazi Germany...

 in general and their Deutsche Physik
Deutsche Physik
Deutsche Physik or Aryan Physics was a nationalist movement in the German physics community in the early 1930s against the work of Albert Einstein, labeled "Jewish Physics"...

 in particular – the former persecuted the Jews, in general, and the latter, among other things, put down Einstein’s theory of relativity as Jewish physics. Laue secretly helped scientific colleagues persecuted by National Socialist policies to emigrate from Germany, but he also openly opposed them. An address on 18 September 1933 at the opening of the physics convention in Würzburg
Würzburg
Würzburg is a city in the region of Franconia which lies in the northern tip of Bavaria, Germany. Located at the Main River, it is the capital of the Regierungsbezirk Lower Franconia. The regional dialect is Franconian....

, opposition to Johannes Stark, an obituary note on Fritz Haber
Fritz Haber
Fritz Haber was a German chemist, who received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1918 for his development for synthesizing ammonia, important for fertilizers and explosives. Haber, along with Max Born, proposed the Born–Haber cycle as a method for evaluating the lattice energy of an ionic solid...

 in 1934, and attendance at a commemoration for Haber are examples which clearly illustrate Laue’s courageous, open opposition:
  • Laue, as chairman of the Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft, gave the opening address at the 1933 physics convention. In it, he compared the persecution of Galileo and the oppression of his scientific views on the Solar theory of Copernicus to the then conflict and persecution over the theory of relativity by the proponents of Deutsche Physik, against the work of Einstein, labeled “Jewish physics.”
  • Johannes Stark
    Johannes Stark
    Johannes Stark was a German physicist, and Physics Nobel Prize laureate who was closely involved with the Deutsche Physik movement under the Nazi regime.-Early years:...

    , who had received the Nobel Prize in Physics
    Nobel Prize in Physics
    The Nobel Prize in Physics is awarded once a year by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. It is one of the five Nobel Prizes established by the will of Alfred Nobel in 1895 and awarded since 1901; the others are the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Nobel Prize in Literature, Nobel Peace Prize, and...

     in 1919, wished to become the Führer of German physics and was a proponent of Deutsche Physik. Against the unanimous advice of those consulted, Stark was appointed President of the PTR in May 1933. However, Laue successfully blocked Stark’s regular membership in the Prussian Academy of Sciences
    Prussian Academy of Sciences
    The Prussian Academy of Sciences was an academy established in Berlin on 11 July 1700, four years after the Akademie der Künste or "Arts Academy", to which "Berlin Academy" may also refer.-Origins:...

    .
  • Haber received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry
    Nobel Prize in Chemistry
    The Nobel Prize in Chemistry is awarded annually by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences to scientists in the various fields of chemistry. It is one of the five Nobel Prizes established by the will of Alfred Nobel in 1895, awarded for outstanding contributions in chemistry, physics, literature,...

     in 1918. In spite of this and his many other contributions to Germany, he was forced to emigrate from Germany as a result of the Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service
    Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service
    The Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service , also known as Civil Service Law, Civil Service Restoration Act, and Law to Re-establish the Civil Service, was a law passed by the National Socialist regime on April 7, 1933, two months after Adolf...

    , which removed Jews from their jobs. Laue’s obituary note praising Haber and comparing his forced emigration to the expulsion of Themistocles
    Themistocles
    Themistocles ; c. 524–459 BC, was an Athenian politician and a general. He was one of a new breed of politicians who rose to prominence in the early years of the Athenian democracy, along with his great rival Aristides...

     from Athens was a direct affront to the policies of National Socialism.
  • In connection with Haber, Planck and Laue organized a commemoration event held in Berlin-Dahlem on 29 January 1935, the first anniversary of Haber’s death – attendance at the event by professors in the civil service had been expressly forbidden by the government. While many scientific and technical personnel were represented at the memorial by their wives, Laue and Wolfgang Heubner were the only two professors to attend. This was yet another blatant demonstration of Laue’s opposition to National Socialism. The date of the first anniversary of Haber’s death was also one day before the second anniversary of National Socialism seizing power in Germany, thus further increasing the affront given by holding the event.


The speech and the obituary note earned Laue government reprimands. Furthermore, in response to Laue blocking Stark’s regular membership in the Prussian Academy of Sciences, Stark, in December 1933, had Laue sacked from his position as advisor to the PTR, which Laue had held since 1925. Chapters 4 and 5, in Welker’s Nazi Science: Myth, Truth, and the Atomic Bomb, present a more detailed account of the struggle by Laue and Planck against the Nazi takeover of the Prussian Academy of Sciences.

Hidden Nobel prize


When Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

 invaded Denmark
Operation Weserübung
Operation Weserübung was the code name for Germany's assault on Denmark and Norway during the Second World War and the opening operation of the Norwegian Campaign...

 in World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, the Hungarian chemist George de Hevesy
George de Hevesy
George Charles de Hevesy, Georg Karl von Hevesy, was a Hungarian radiochemist and Nobel laureate, recognized in 1943 for his key role in the development of radioactive tracers to study chemical processes such as in the metabolism of animals.- Early years :Hevesy György was born in Budapest,...

 dissolved the gold Nobel Prize
Nobel Prize
The Nobel Prizes are annual international awards bestowed by Scandinavian committees in recognition of cultural and scientific advances. The will of the Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, established the prizes in 1895...

s of von Laue and James Franck
James Franck
James Franck was a German Jewish physicist and Nobel laureate.-Biography:Franck was born to Jacob Franck and Rebecca Nachum Drucker. Franck completed his Ph.D...

 in aqua regia
Aqua regia
Aqua regia or aqua regis is a highly corrosive mixture of acids, fuming yellow or red solution, also called nitro-hydrochloric acid. The mixture is formed by freshly mixing concentrated nitric acid and hydrochloric acid, usually in a volume ratio of 1:3, respectively...

 to prevent the Nazis from discovering them (it was illegal at the time to send gold out of the country, and were it discovered that Laue had done so, he could have faced prosecution in Germany.) Hevesy placed the resulting solution on a shelf in his laboratory at the Niels Bohr Institute
Niels Bohr Institute
The Niels Bohr Institute is a research institute of the University of Copenhagen. The research of the institute spans astronomy, geophysics, nanotechnology, particle physics, quantum mechanics and biophysics....

. After the war, he returned to find the solution undisturbed and precipitated the gold out of the acid. The Nobel Society then re-cast the Nobel Prizes using the original gold.

Post-war


On 23 April 1945, French troops entered Hechingen, followed the next day by a contingent of Operation Alsos
Operation Alsos
Operation Alsos was an effort at the end of World War II by the Allies , branched off from the Manhattan Project, to investigate the German nuclear energy project, seize German nuclear resources, materials and personnel to further American research and to prevent their capture by the Soviets, and...

 – an operation to investigate the German nuclear energy effort, seize equipment, and prevent German scientists from being captured by the Soviets. The scientific advisor to the Operation was the Dutch-American physicist Samuel Goudsmit, who, adorned with a steel helmet, appeared at Laue’s home. Laue was taken into custody and taken to Huntington, England, and interned at Farm Hall, with other scientists thought to be involved in nuclear research and development.

While incarcerated, Laue was a reminder to the other detainees that one could survive the Nazi reign without having “compromised”; this alienated him from others being detained. During his incarceration, Laue wrote a paper on the absorption of x-rays under the interference conditions, and it was later published in Acta Crystallographica. On 2 October 1945, Laue, Otto Hahn
Otto Hahn
Otto Hahn FRS was a German chemist and Nobel laureate, a pioneer in the fields of radioactivity and radiochemistry. He is regarded as "the father of nuclear chemistry". Hahn was a courageous opposer of Jewish persecution by the Nazis and after World War II he became a passionate campaigner...

, and Werner Heisenberg
Werner Heisenberg
Werner Karl Heisenberg was a German theoretical physicist who made foundational contributions to quantum mechanics and is best known for asserting the uncertainty principle of quantum theory...

, were taken to meet with Henry Hallett Dale
Henry Hallett Dale
Sir Henry Hallett Dale, OM, GBE, PRS was an English pharmacologist and physiologist. For his study of acetylcholine as agent in the chemical transmission of nerve impulses he shared the 1936 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Otto Loewi.-Biography:Henry Hallett Dale was born in Islington,...

, president of the Royal Society
Royal Society
The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, known simply as the Royal Society, is a learned society for science, and is possibly the oldest such society in existence. Founded in November 1660, it was granted a Royal Charter by King Charles II as the "Royal Society of London"...

, and other members of the Society. There, Laue was invited to attend the 9 November 1945 Royal Society meeting in memory of the German physicist Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen
Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen
Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen was a German physicist, who, on 8 November 1895, produced and detected electromagnetic radiation in a wavelength range today known as X-rays or Röntgen rays, an achievement that earned him the first Nobel Prize in Physics in 1901....

, who discovered X-rays; permission was, however, not forthcoming from the military authorities detaining von Laue.

Laue was returned to Germany early in 1946. He went back to being acting director of the KWIP, which had been moved to Göttingen. It was also in 1946 that the Kaiser-Wilhelm Gesellschaft was renamed the Max-Planck Gesellschaft, and, likewise, the Kaiser-Wilhelm Institut für Physik became the Max-Planck Institut für Physik. Laue also became an adjunct professor at the University of Göttingen. In addition to his administrative and teaching responsibilities, Laue wrote his book on superconductivity, Theorie der Supraleitung, and revised his books on electron diffraction, Materiewellen und ihre Interferenzen, and the first volume of his two-volume book on relativity.

In July 1946, Laue went back to England, only four months after having been interned there, to attend an international conference on crystallography. This was a distinct honor, as he was the only German invited to attend. He was extended many courtesies by the British officer who escorted him there and back, and a well-known English crystallographer as his host; Laue was even allowed to wander around London on his own free will.

After the war, there was much to be done in re-establishing and organizing German scientific endeavors. Laue participated in some key roles. In 1946, he initiated the founding of the Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft in only the British Occupation Zone, as the Allied Control Council
Allied Control Council
The Allied Control Council or Allied Control Authority, known in the German language as the Alliierter Kontrollrat and also referred to as the Four Powers , was a military occupation governing body of the Allied Occupation Zones in Germany after the end of World War II in Europe...

 would not initially allow organizations across occupation zone boundaries. During the war, the PTR had been dispersed; von Laue, from 1946 to 1948, worked on its re-unification across three zones and its location at new facilities in Braunschweig
Braunschweig
Braunschweig , is a city of 247,400 people, located in the federal-state of Lower Saxony, Germany. It is located north of the Harz mountains at the farthest navigable point of the Oker river, which connects to the North Sea via the rivers Aller and Weser....

. Additionally, it took on a new name as the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt
Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt
The Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt is based in Braunschweig and Berlin. It is the national institute for natural and engineering sciences and the highest technical authority for metrology and physical safety engineering in Germany....

, but administration was not taken over by Germany until after the formation of West Germany
West Germany
West Germany is the common English, but not official, name for the Federal Republic of Germany or FRG in the period between its creation in May 1949 to German reunification on 3 October 1990....

 on 23 May 1949. Circa 1948, the President of the American Physical Society
American Physical Society
The American Physical Society is the world's second largest organization of physicists, behind the Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft. The Society publishes more than a dozen scientific journals, including the world renowned Physical Review and Physical Review Letters, and organizes more than 20...

 asked Laue to report on the status of physics in Germany; his report was published in 1949 in the American Journal of Physics
American Journal of Physics
The American Journal of Physics is a monthly, peer-reviewed scientific journal published by the American Association of Physics Teachers and the American Institute of Physics. The editor is Jan Tobochnik of Kalamazoo College.-Aims and scope:...

. In 1950, Laue participated in the creation of the Verband Deutscher Physikalischer Gesellschaften, formerly affiliated under the Nordwestdeutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft.

In April 1951, Laue became director of the Max-Planck Institut für physikalische Chemie und Elektrochemie, a position he held until 1959. In 1953, at the request of Laue, the Institute was renamed the Fritz Haber Institut für physikalische Chemie und Elektrochemie der Max-Planck Gesellschaft.

Personal life


It was in 1913 that Laue’s father, Julius Laue, a civil servant in the military administration, was raised into the ranks of hereditary nobility. Thus Max Laue became Max von Laue. Laue married Magdalene Degen, while he was a Privatdozent at LMU. They had two children.

Among Laue’s chief recreational activities were mountaineering, motoring in his automobile, motor-biking, sailing, and skiing. While not a mountain climber, he did enjoy hiking on the Alpine glaciers with his friends.

On 8 April 1960, while driving to his laboratory, Laue’s car was struck in Berlin by a motor cyclist, who had received his license only two days earlier. The cyclist was killed and Laue’s car was overturned. He died from his injuries sixteen days later on April 24.

Organizations

  • 1919: Corresponding member of the Prussian Academy of Sciences
    Prussian Academy of Sciences
    The Prussian Academy of Sciences was an academy established in Berlin on 11 July 1700, four years after the Akademie der Künste or "Arts Academy", to which "Berlin Academy" may also refer.-Origins:...

  • 1921: Regular member of the Prussian Academy of Sciences
  • From 1921: Chairman of the physics commission of the Notgemeinschaft der Deutschen Wissenschaft
    Notgemeinschaft der Deutschen Wissenschaft
    Notgemeinschaft der Deutschen Wissenschaft was founded on 30 October 1920 on the initiative of leading members of the Preußischen Akademie der Wissenschaften – Fritz Haber, Max Planck, and Ernst von Harnack – and the former Preußischen...

     (Renamed in 1937: Deutsche Gemeinschaft zur Erhaltung und Förderun der Forschung. No longer active by 1945.)
  • From 1922: Member of the Board of Trustees of the Potsdam Astrophysics Observatory
  • 1925 – 1933: Advisor to the Physikalisch-Technische Reichsanstalt (Today: Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt). Laue had been sacked in 1933 from his advisory position by Johannes Stark, Nobel Prize recipient and President of the Physikalisch-Technische Reichsanstalt, in retribution for Laue’s open opposition to the Nazis by blocking Stark’s regular membership in the Prussian Academy of Sciences.
  • 1931 – 1933: : Chairman of the Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft
    Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft
    The Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft is the world's largest organization of physicists. The DPG's worldwide membership is cited as 60,000, as of 2011...

  • Memberships in the Russian Academy of Sciences
    Russian Academy of Sciences
    The Russian Academy of Sciences consists of the national academy of Russia and a network of scientific research institutes from across the Russian Federation as well as auxiliary scientific and social units like libraries, publishers and hospitals....

    , the Kant
    KANT
    KANT is a computer algebra system for mathematicians interested in algebraic number theory, performing sophisticated computations in algebraic number fields, in global function fields, and in local fields. KASH is the associated command line interface...

     Society, the Austrian Academy of Sciences
    Austrian Academy of Sciences
    The Austrian Academy of Sciences is a legal entity under the special protection of the Federal Republic of Austria. According to the statutes of the Academy its mission is to promote the sciences and humanities in every respect and in every field, particularly in fundamental research...

     (1960), the American Physical Society
    American Physical Society
    The American Physical Society is the world's second largest organization of physicists, behind the Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft. The Society publishes more than a dozen scientific journals, including the world renowned Physical Review and Physical Review Letters, and organizes more than 20...

    , the Société Française de Physique
    EDP Sciences
    EDP Sciences, Edition Diffusion Presse Sciences is a scientific publisher with an international vision but a French base.This society is involved in the communication and dissemination of scientific information to specialist audiences and non-specialist audiences alike...

     and the Société Française de Mineralogie et Crystallographie.
  • Corresponding Member of the Academies of Sciences of Göttingen, Munich, Turin, Stockholm, Rome (Papal), Madrid, the Accademia dei Lincei
    Accademia dei Lincei
    The Accademia dei Lincei, , is an Italian science academy, located at the Palazzo Corsini on the Via della Lungara in Rome, Italy....

     of Rome, and the Royal Society of London.

Honours and awards

  • 1914: Nobel Prize for Physics
  • 1932: Max-Planck Medal of the Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft
    Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft
    The Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft is the world's largest organization of physicists. The DPG's worldwide membership is cited as 60,000, as of 2011...

  • 1952: Knight of the Order Pour le Mérite
    Pour le Mérite
    The Pour le Mérite, known informally as the Blue Max , was the Kingdom of Prussia's highest military order for German soldiers until the end of World War I....

  • 1953: Grand Cross with Star for Federal Services
  • 1957: Officer of the Legion of Honour of France
  • 1959: Helmholtz Medal of the East-Berlin Academy of Sciences
    Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities
    The Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften is the academy of sciences of the German states Berlin and Brandenburg. As the word "Wissenschaft", in German includes both the natural sciences and the humanities, the academy's title is best translated as Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of...

  • Landenburg Medal
  • Bimala-Churn-Law Gold Medal of the Indian Association at Calcutta

See also


  • History of special relativity
    History of special relativity
    The history of special relativity consists of many theoretical results and empirical findings obtained by Albert Michelson, Hendrik Lorentz, Henri Poincaré and others...

  • Laue equations
    Laue equations
    In crystallography, the Laue equations give three conditions for incident waves to be diffracted by a crystal lattice. They are named after physicist Max von Laue . They reduce to the Bragg law.-Equations:...

  • Institut Laue-Langevin
    Institut Laue-Langevin
    The Institut Laue–Langevin, or ILL, is an internationally-financed scientific facility, situated in Grenoble, France. It is one of the world centres for research using neutrons...

  • Laue (crater)
    Laue (crater)
    Laue is a lunar impact crater that lies across the south-southwestern rim and interior floor of the huge walled plain Lorentz. This feature is located on the Moon's far side, just beyond the west-northwestern limb. This crater also is located to the left of Jake's house...

  • 10762 von Laue
    10762 von Laue
    10762 von Laue is a main belt asteroid with an orbital period of 1931.8132181 days . The asteroid was discovered on October 12, 1990....


Publications


  • Max von Laue Die Relativitätstheorie. Band 1: Die spezielle Relativitätstheorie (Friedr. Vieweg & Sohn, Braunschweig, 1911, and 1919)
  • Max von Laue Das Relativitätstheorie. Erster Band. Das Relativitätsprinzip der Lorentz-transformation. Vierte vermehrte Auflage. (Friedr. Vieweg & Sohn, 1921)
  • Max von Laue Die Relativitätstheorie. Zweiter Band : Die Allgemeine Relativitätstheorie Und Einsteins Lehre Von Der Schwerkraft (Friedr. Vieweg & Sohn, Braunschweig, 1921 and 1923)
  • Max von Laue Korpuskular- und Wellentheorie (Leipzig, 1933)
  • Max von Laue Die Interferenzen von Röntgen- und Elektronenstrahlen. Fünf Vorträge. (Springer, 1935)
  • Max von Laue Eine Ausgestaltung der Londonschen Theorie der Supraleitung (Barth, 1942)
  • Max von Laue Materiewellen und ihre Interferenzen (Akadem. Verl.-Ges. Becker & Erler, 1944) (Geest und Portig, 1948)
  • Max von Laue Theorie der Supraleitung (Springer, 1947 and 1949)
    • Max von Laue, translated by Lothar Meyer and William Band Theory of Superconductivity (N.Y., 1952)
  • Max von Laue Geschichte der Physik (Univ.-Verl., 1946 and 1947), (Athenäum-Verl., 1950) and (Ullstein Taschenbücher-Verl., 1959, 1966 and 1982) [This book was translated into seven other languages.]
    • Max von Laue, translated by Ralph E. Oesper History of Physics (Academic Press, 1950)
    • Max von Laue Historie De La Physique (Lamarre, 1953)
    • Max von Laue Geschiedenis der natuurkunde (‘s Gravenhage, Stols, 1950 and 1954)
  • Max Planck and Max von Laue Wissenschaftliche Selbstbiographie (Barth, 1948)
  • Max von Laue Röntgenstrahlinterferenzen (Akadem. Verl.-Ges., 1948)
  • Max von Laue Die Relativitätstheorie. Bd. 2. Die allgemeine Relativitätstheorie (Vieweg, 1953)
  • Max Planck and Max von Laue Vorlesungen über Thermodynamik (de Gruyter (Gebundene, 1954)
  • Walter Friedrich, Paul Knipping, and Max von Laue Interferenzerscheinungen bei Röntgenstrahlen (J. A. Barth, 1955)
  • Max von Laue Die Relativitätstheorie. Bd. 1. Die spezielle Relativitätstheorie (Vieweg, 1955)
  • Max von Laue Die Relativitätstheorie. Bd. 2. Die allgemeine Relativitätstheorie (Vieweg, 1956)
  • Max von Laue Max von Laue
  • Max von Laue Röntgenwellenfelder in Kristallen (Akademie-Verl., 1959)
  • Max von Laue Von Laue-Festschrift. 1 (Akadem. Verl.-Ges., 1959)
  • Max von Laue Von Laue-Festschrift. 2 (Akadem. Verl.-Ges., 1960)
  • Max von Laue and Ernst Heinz Wagner Röntgenstrahl-Interferenzen (Akadem. Verl.-Ges., 1960)
  • Max von Laue and Friedrich Beck Die Relativitätstheorie. Bd. 1. Die spezielle Relativitätstheorie (Vieweg, 1961 and 1965)
  • Max von Laue Gesammelte Schriften und Vorträge. Bd. 1 (Vieweg, 1961)
  • Max von Laue Gesammelte Schriften und Vorträge. Bd. 2 (Vieweg, 1961)
  • Max von Laue Gesammelte Schriften und Vorträge. Bd. 3 (Vieweg, 1961)
  • Max von Laue Aufsätze und Vorträge (Vieweg, 1961 and 1962)
  • Max von Laue and Friedrich Beck Die Relativitätstheorie. Bd. 2. Die allgemeine Relativitätstheorie (Vieweg, 1965)
  • Max von Laue Die Relativitätstheorie II. Die allgemeine Relativitätstheorie (Vieweg Friedr. und Sohn Ver, 1982)

Selected literature


Received 1 April 1913, published in issue No. 10 of 15 May 1913. As cited in Mehra, Volume 5, Part 2, 2001, p. 922.
Received 1 October 1913, published in issue No. 21 of 1 November 1913. As cited in Mehra, Volume 5, Part 2, 2001, p. 922.
Presented on 24 September 1913 at the 85th Naturforsherversammlung, Vienna, published in issue No. 22/23 of 15 November 1913. As cited in Mehra, Volume 5, Part 2, 2001, p. 922.
Received 21 November 1913, published in issue No. 25 of 15 December 1913. As cited in Mehra, Volume 5, Part 2, 2001, p. 922.

External links


  • Max von Laue, author, translated by Paul Peter Ewald
    Paul Peter Ewald
    Paul Peter Ewald was a German-born U.S. crystallographer and physicist, a pioneer of X-ray diffraction methods.-Education:...

     and R. Bethe My Development as a Physicist in Ewald, P. P., editor 50 Years of X-Ray Diffraction (Reprinted in pdf format for the IUCr XVIII Congress, Glasgow, Scotland, Copyright © 1962, 1999 International Union of Crystallography) pp. 278 – 307. The German original has been republished in Max von Laue Gesammelte Schriften und Vorträge. Bd. 3 (Vieweg, 1961).
  • Max von Laue Biography – University of Frankfurt on Main
  • Max von Laue – Nobel Prize Biography
  • Nobel Lecture Address – Max von Laue Concerning the Detection of X-ray Interferences, November 12, 1915
  • Nobel Presentation Address – An account of Laue's work is by Professor G. Granqvist, Chairman of the Nobel Committee for Physics