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By Kurt Mendelssohn

Biography of Walther Nernst, one among Germany's top scientists, a Nobel Laureate be aware of for his 3rd legislations of thermodynamics. He was once against Hitler's assault on German academia. a number one philosopher of his time.

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Extra info for The World of Walther Nernst: The Rise and Fall of German Science

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However, in the founder years and in the Wilhelminian era the Germans were so successful that very few of them required the added comfort of attested Teutonic lineage, and anti-Semitism did not gain much ground. On the contrary, even people who had anti-Jewish prejudices would have considered it bad manners to practise them actively. Nevertheless, anti-Semitism was the type of creed which appealed to political adventurers and in I88o Germany had her first experience of one of these. He was Adolf Stoecker, a court preacher, a man of limited intellect but boundless ambition.

Until their arrival in 39 Leipzig, Nernst and Arrhenius had worked side by side without really understanding each other's way of thinking. It was Ostwald's stimulus and his grasp of the essential problems which brought out the latent ability of the two younger men. Using these great gifts of analysis and coordination, Ostwald made Leipzig the centre of physicochemical studies in the world. Perhaps his laboratory might have maintained this position later in the face of severe competition, had he not resigned suddenly at the age of fifty.

Its memory was to remain in the family through the name of the youngest girl, Angela. By then the life of the Nernsts had changed completely. For all his brilliance, his success in having a new chair created for him and getting a new laboratory would have been impossible ten years earlier. It was the new Wilhelminian era with its sense of enterprise and its growing wealth that enabled Althoff to build his empire of scholarship. It was not the only empire which was being created to ensure Germany's place in the sun.

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