RARE PHOTOGRAPHIC RECORD OF THE HISTORIC FIRST SOLVAY CONFERENCE.
Album with 20 photographic portraits of participants of the First Solvay Conference (1911 in Brussels). In order of appearance: Einstein, Nernst, Rubens, Lorentz, Goldschmidt, Onnes, Hasenöhrl, Perrin, Wien, Brillouin, Langevin, Knudsen, Jeans, Rutherford, Broglie, Sommerfeld, Planck, Mad. Curie, Poincaré, Warburg.
A photographic history of the first international conference in the history of science, the prestigious 1911 Solvay Conference. A historic invitation-only 1911 the "Conseil Solvay", the conference, the first of its kind, is considered a turning point in the world of physics. The conference represented "Einstein's first public appearance at center stage of the international community of physicists" (R. Green Library, Christies 2008). "Einstein [also the youngest in attendance], with his unflappable self-assurance, was not fazed by all these Novel luminaries. He referred to the conference as "the Witches' Sabbath in Brussels." By the time it was over, the other scientists recognized him as the new, young leader of their profession."
Hendrik Anton Lorentz was the chairman of the first Solvay Conference held in Brussels in the autumn of 1911. The subject was Radiation and the Quanta. This conference looked at the problems of having two approaches, namely the classical physics and quantum theory. There were 24 participants at the conference.
In this album 20 are present with a portrait photograph:
1. Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955).
2. Walther Hermann Nernst (1864 - 1941), German physicist known for his theories behind the calculation of chemical affinity as embodied in the third law of thermodynamics; winner of the 1920 Nobel Prize in chemistry.
3. Heinrich Rubens (1865 - 1922), German physicist known for his measurements of the energy of black-body radiation which led Max Planck to the discovery of his radiation law.
4. Hendrik Antoon Lorentz (1853 - 1928), Dutch physicist who shared the 1902 Nobel Prize in Physics with Pieter Zeeman for the discovery and theoretical explanation of the Zeeman effect. He also derived the transformation equations which formed the basis of the special relativity theory of relativity.
5. Robert Goldschmidt (1877 - 1935), Belgian chemist, physicist, and engineer who first proposed the idea of standardized microfiche (microfilm). Goldschmidt was a polymath who also made advances in aviation and wireless telegraphy, among other fields. He inaugurated the first regular radio broadcasts of concerts in 1914.
6. Heike Kamerlingh Onnes (1853 - 1926), Dutch physicist and Nobel laureate. He exploited the Hampson-Linde cycle to investigate how materials behave when cooled to nearly absolute zero and later to liquefy helium for the first time. His production of extreme cryogenic temperatures led to his discovery of superconductivity in 1911: for certain materials, electrical resistance abruptly vanishes at very low temperatures.
7. Friedrich Hasenöhrl (1874 - 1915), Austrian physicist.
8. Jean Baptiste Perrin (1870 - 1942), French physicist who, in his studies of the Brownian motion of minute particles suspended in liquids, verified Albert Einstein’s explanation of this phenomenon and thereby confirmed the atomic nature of matter (sedimentation equilibrium). For this achievement he was honored with the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1926.
9. Wilhelm Wien (1864 - 1928), German physicist who, in 1893, used theories about heat and electromagnetism to deduce Wien's displacement law, which calculates the emission of a blackbody at any temperature from the emission at any one reference temperature. He also formulated an expression for the black-body radiation which is correct in the photon-gas limit. His arguments were based on the notion of adiabatic invariance, and were instrumental for the formulation of quantum mechanics. Wien received the 1911 Nobel Prize for his work on heat radiation.
10. Louis Marcel Brillouin (1854 - 1948), French physicist and mathematician. He was awarded the Prix La Caze for 1912.
11. Paul Langevin (1872 -1946), prominent French physicist who developed Langevin dynamics and the Langevin equation. He was one of the founders of the Comité de vigilance des intellectuels antifascistes, an antifascist organization created in the wake of the 6 February 1934 far right riots. Langevin was also president of the Human Rights League (LDH) from 1944 to 1946.
12. Martin Knudsen (1871 - 1949), Danish physicist who taught and conducted research at the Technical University of Denmark. Knudsen was renowned for his work on kinetic-molecular theory and low-pressure phenomena in gases. His name is associated with the Knudsen flow, Knudsen number, Knudsen layer and Knudsen gases. Also there is the Knudsen equation; two instruments, the Knudsen absolute manometer and Knudsen gauge; and one gas pump that operates without moving parts, the Knudsen pump.
13. Sir James Hopwood Jeans (1877 - 1946), English physicist, astronomer and mathematician.
14. Ernest Rutherford (1871 - 1937), New Zealand-born British physicist who became known as the father of nuclear physics. He was awarded the the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1908 "for his investigations into the disintegration of the elements, and the chemistry of radioactive substances".
15. Louis-César-Victor-Maurice, 6th duc de Broglie (1875 - 1960), French physicist. De Broglie made advances in the study of X-ray diffraction and spectroscopy. During the First World War, he worked on radio communications for the navy. After the war, he resumed his research at a large laboratory in his home.
16. Arnold Sommerfeld (1868 -1951), German theoretical physicist who pioneered developments in atomic and quantum physics, and also educated and mentored a large number of students for the new era of theoretical physics. He served as PhD supervisor for many Nobel Prize winners in physics and chemistry.
17. Max Planck (1858 - 1947), German theoretical physicist whose work on quantum theory won him the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1918. Planck made many contributions to theoretical physics, but his fame as a physicist rests primarily on his role as an originator of quantum theory.
18. Marie Curie (1867 - 1934), Polish and naturalized-French physicist and chemist who conducted pioneering research on radioactivity. She was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, the first person and only woman to win twice, the only person to win twice in multiple sciences, and was part of the Curie family legacy of five Nobel Prizes. She was also the first woman to become a professor at the University of Paris, and in 1995 became the first woman to be entombed on her own merits in the Panthéon in Paris.
19. Jules Henri Poincaré (1854 - 1912), French mathematician, theoretical physicist, engineer, and a philosopher of science. He is often described as a polymath, and in mathematics as The Last Universalist by Eric Temple Bell since he excelled in all fields of the discipline as it existed during his lifetime. As a mathematician and physicist, he made many original fundamental contributions to pure and applied mathematics.
20. Emil Gabriel Warburg (1846 - 1931), German physicist and professor of physics at the Universities of Strassburg, Freiburg and Berlin. He was president of the Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft 1899-1905.
The album has a handwritten inscription, signed and dated by Georges Hostelet personally invited by Solvay for the "Conseil ". He was a doctor in physics and chemistry at the Luik University in Belgium and he was an engineer at the Solvay company. The “conseil” was at the end of 1911 and this souvenir album was sent to the participants at the beginning of 1912. The dedication inscription reads: "Souvenir du Conseil du Physique 1912. G. Hostelet".
Small octavo album (11 x 16 cm.) contemporary full calf. All portraits neatly mounted on heavy handmade paper. Portraits vary in size. Some rubbing to binding and discoloration to spine. Some photographs bear the photo-reproduced autograph of the sitter and/or the name of the studio.
Rare: The only other copy of this album we could locate is in the Smithsonian Institution Libraries.