Oral history interview with Carl Friedrich Weizsacker, 1986 January 28.


Oral history interview with Carl Friedrich Weizsacker, 1986 January 28.

The new physics institute, the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Institut für Physik (of the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gesellschaft), established in 1935 partly with Rockefeller Foundation money. Weizsäcker joins in 1936; Peter Debye as first director; comparison to other physics institutes (Niels Bohr Institute). Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gesellschaft's place in German science in comparison with the Universities; interdisciplinary contacts; good German science (i.e., Werner Siemens) important for industry. Foreign support of German science in the 1930s, and the isolation of German science later on. Views on National Socialism in the 1930s; dealings with industrial crisis and unemployment. The Wehrmacht's takeover of Fritz Haber's Institut, and the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gesellshaft's reaction (Otto Hahn's letter to Max Planck, 1933). Germany's place in international physics prior to the late 1930s. Views on uranium research, and Hahn's speech on fission at the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Institut in 1939. The Heeres-Waffenamts (Weapons Ordnance Department) takeover of the Institut, and subsequent departure of Debye for the United States (Ernst Telschow); the "Uranium Society." The atomic bomb, the building, the builders of it, and the ethics of the atomic bomb (the building of it, the builders, and the ethics involved are discussed at length. Weizsäcker's presidency of the Max Planck Institut für Physik; comments on teaching and other responsibilities of a university. Professor; comments on scientific revolutions and normal science. Discussion of philosophy of science, on becoming and on being a scientist; physics as the fundamental science. Also prominently mentioned are: Ludwig Biermann, Niels Bohr, Bosch, Adolf Butenandt, Max Delbrück, Diebner, Albert Einstein, James Franck, Samuel Goudsmit, Fritz Haber, Otto Hahn, Werner Heisenberg, Adolf Hitler, Max von Laue, Philipp Lenard, J. Robert Oppenheimer, Georg Picht, Max Planck, Schumann, Werner Siemens, Leo Szilard, Edward Teller, and Vögler.

Transcript, 60 p.


SNAC Resource ID: 8321581

Related Entities

There are 22 Entities related to this resource.

Franck, James, 1882-1964

http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w65f9j9x (person)

James Franck was born August 26, 1882 in Hamburg, Germany, where his Sephardic Jewish forebears had lived for over two hundred years [Box 20, folder 58 and Box 21, folder 1]. His father, Jacob Franck, was a banker who wanted his son to follow a business career in keeping with family tradition. From childhood on, however, James could imagine no other life but science. An X-ray photograph illustrates his fascination with new discoveries in physics. He had already read of Roentgen's X...

Bohr, Niels, 1885-1962

http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w6t836n5 (person)

Niels Bohr was a Danish physicist who made tremendous contributions to his field, transforming accepted notions of atomic structure, helping to develop nuclear fission, and advocating for international cooperation in crafting responsible nuclear policy. Bohr was born in Copenhagen in 1885 into a family that encouraged his academic pursuits. Christian Bohr, his father, was professor of physiology at the University of Copenhagen. Bohr credited his father for awakening hi...

Haber, Fritz, 1868-1934

http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w6513x75 (person)

German chemist; major affiliations include: Technische Hochschule Karlsruhe, Karlsruhe, Germany 1903-1911; Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Berlin, Berlin, Germany, 1911-1933; and Kaiser-Wilhelm-Institut für Physikalische Chemie, Berlin, Germany, 1911-1933. From the description of Haber-Willstädter collection, 1910-1964. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122591256 Born in Breslau (now Wroclaw, Poland) on December 9, 1868, Haber was a chemist, professor of chemistry at the Karl...

Butenandt, Adolf, 1903-

http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w6fx8ghq (person)

Kaiser Wilhelm-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Wissenschaften.

http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w6fz37sv (corporateBody)

Debye, Peter J. W. (Peter Josef William), 1884-1966

http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w6ms3tzz (person)

Physical chemist (molecular structure, quantum theory, magnetism, polymers). On the physics faculty at Georg-August Universität zu Göttingen, 1913-1920; on the staff at Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule, Zurich, 1910-1927; on the faculty at Universität Leipzig, 1927-1934; director, Kaiser-Wilhelm Institut für Physik, 1935-1939; and professor and chair of the chemistry department, Cornell University from 1940. Died 1966. From the description of Holograph student notes, 1901, a...

Macrakis, Kristie

http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w664123m (person)

American historian. From the description of Kristie Macrakis papers, 1951-2009. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 754865358 ...

Oppenheimer, J. Robert, 1904-1967

http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w6v1266v (person)

Died 1967. From the description of Oral history interview with J. Robert Oppenheimer, 1963 November 18 and 20. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 80709804 Physicist (quantum theory and nuclear physics). On the physics faculty at California Institute of Technology and University of California, Berkeley in theoretical physics, 1929-1947; director of Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory, 1943-1945; chairman of the General Advisory Committee of the Atomic Energy Commission, 1946-1952; d...

Hitler, Adolf, 1889-1945

http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w6ww7k9k (person)

Chancellor of Germany. From the description of Papers of Adolf Hitler, 1938-1957. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 79450921 As a result of an unsuccessful assassination attempt on July 20 1944, Adolf Hitler suffered ruptured eardrums from the detonation of an explosive device. The radiographs under reference are reported to have been produced subsequent to these events. From the description of Radiographs : Adolf Hitler. [1944-1970] (New York Academy of Medicine)....

Planck, Max, 1858-1947

http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w64m961m (person)

Physicist Max Planck authored the quantum theory. From the guide to the Max Planck correspondence, 1919-1948, 1919-1948, (American Philosophical Society) German physicist. From the description of Autograph letter signed : Berlin-Grunewald, to Artur Neuberg, 1939 Nov. 10. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270872119 Max Planck was a physicist and the author of the quantum theory. Received Nobel prize in Physics (1918). Involvement with the Kaiser-Wilhelm Soci...

Biermann, Ludwig, 1907-1986

http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w63b6315 (person)

Goudsmit, Samuel A. (Samuel Abraham), 1902-1978

http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w6sq91sb (person)

Samuel A. Goudsmit (1902-1978). Physicist. From the description of The development of physics in the United States in the 1920s and 1930s [sound recording] / 1974 April 22. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 84276317 From the description of Address [sound recording] (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 80830635 Physicist (atomic physics) and editor. On the physics faculty at University of Michigan, 1927-1946; on the staff of Brookhaven National Laboratory, 1948-1970, and chai...

Laue, Max ˜vonœ 1879-1960

http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w6b27z19 (person)

Major affiliations include: Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Berlin, Berlin, Germany, 1905-1909, 1919-1943; Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Munich, Germany, 1909-1912; Universität Frankfurt-am-Main (later Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Universität Frankfurt), Frankkfurt-am-Main, Germany, 1914-1919; Fritz-Haber-Institut der Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, Berlin, Germany, 1951-1960. From the description of Papers. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122521272 Physicist. Major affi...

Rockefeller Foundation

http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w67x729t (corporateBody)

The Rockefeller Foundation was established in May 1913 by John D. Rockefeller, by act of the New York State Legislature, "to promote the well-being of mankind throughout the world". From its earliest years, several separate organizations and divisions have carried on the Foundation's work in carefully selected fields. In 1913, the International Health Board (originally the International Health Commission) was formed in order to extend the work of the Rockefeller Sanitary Commission for the Eradi...

Szilard, Leo

http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w6dn46tv (person)

Leo Szilard was a nuclear physicist, biologist and advocate of global arms control. Aaron Novick is a biophysicist. From 1948 to 1952, they jointly investigated the genetics and physiology of bacteria and viruses at the Institute of Radiology and Physics (University of Chicago). From the description of Research files, 1948-1969. (University of California, San Diego). WorldCat record id: 37952289 Gertrud Weiss studied medicine at the University of Vienna. After completing her...

Hahn, Otto, 1879-1968

http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w6dj5gs2 (person)

German physical chemist. From the description of Papers. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 84584649 From the description of Unidentified materials. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 80453274 German radiochemist. From the description of Autograph statement unsigned (working draft) : [n.p.], [n.d.]. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270508943 ...

Weizsäcker, Carl Friedrich, Freiherr von, 1912-2007

http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w6z89gt7 (person)

Einstein, Albert, 1879-1955

http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w63c6p77 (person)

Albert Einstein was born at Ulm, in Württemberg, Germany, on March 14, 1879. Six weeks later the family moved to Munich, where he later on began his schooling at the Luitpold Gymnasium. Later, they moved to Italy and Albert continued his education at Aarau, Switzerland and in 1896 he entered the Swiss Federal Polytechnic School in Zurich to be trained as a teacher in physics and mathematics. In 1901, the year he gained his diploma, he acquired Swiss citizenship and, as he was...

Lenard, Philipp, 1862-1947

http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w6p2716g (person)

Physicist (cathode ray research and spectral analysis). Awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1905 "for his work on cathode rays." Acting director of the Physical Institute of the University of Bonn, 1894; professor and director of physics laboratory, University of Kiel, 1898-1907; professor of experimental physics, University of Heidelberg, and in 1909, director of Heidelberg's Radiological Institute; chief of German Physics and personal adviser to Adolf Hitler from 1933-1945. From...

Teller, Edward, 1908-2003

http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w62v2hcz (person)

15 January 1908 Born, Budapest, Hungary 1926 1928 Student, Karlsruhe Technical Institute, Karlsruhe, Germany 1928 Student, University of Munich, Germany 1929 1931 Research associate, University of Leipzig, Germany 1930 Ph.D., University of Leipzig 1931 1933 Research associate, Guttingen, Germany 1934 Married Augusta (Mici) Harkanyi ...

Heisenberg, Werner, 1901-1976

http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w6j967hs (person)

Physicist (quantum theory, quantum mechanics, uncertainty principle, unified field theory) and administrator. On the physic faculty at Universität Göttingen (1923-1924, 1925-1926); Kovenhavens Universitet (1924-1925, 1926-1927); Universität Leipzig (1927-1941); director, Kaiser-Wilhelm Institut für Physik (1941-1945); director, Max-Planck Institut für Physik (1946-1958); and director, Max-Planck Institut für Physik und Astrophysik (1958-1970). From the description of Papers. (U...

Delbrück, M. (Max), 1850-1919

http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w6qv4vfn (person)