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Commemoration of Prof. Haber's Death

Nature volume 135, page 216 (09 February 1935) | Download Citation



WHEN Prof. Fritz Haber died in Switzerland a year ago, we were glad to publish in the columns of NATURE an eloquent tribute to his greatness, written by one of his old pupils. By the irony of political circumstances in Germany, the loss of this chemical genius was limited in the journals of that country to a bare announcement, and no obituary notice at all adequate to the influence of his life and work appears to have been published at the time. It is not surprising, therefore, that Haber's scientific frieJtds desired to honour his memory on the anniversary of his death, and that a number of them assembled for this purpose in the Harnackhaus of the Kaiser Wilhelm Gesell-schaft on January 29, in spite of the official disapproval of the celebration to which we referred last week (p. 176). The Berlin correspondent of The Times reported that the speakers at the meeting laid emphasis on Haber's devotion to his country and his scientific services. Prof. Max Planck, who presided, recalled that Haber's synthetic nitrate process had saved Germany from military and economic collapse in the first months of the War. “We repay loyalty with loyalty,“he said, and he laid particular emphasis on the last three words in his closing tribute to “this great scholar, upright man, and fighter for Germany.“Prof. Otto Hahn, director of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Chemistry, and other speakers also bore testimony to the debt owed by Germany to Haber for his outstanding contributions to pure and applied chemistry, and in doing so they expressed the feelings of their colleagues throughout the world. It will be remembered that Haber resigned his post at Dahlem in the spring of 1933 and afterwards accepted an invitation of laboratory hospitality at Cambridge, where he went in October of that year. He intended to reside there permanently but died at Basle, where he had gone for a short holiday, on January 29, 1934.

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