Prof. Walther Nernst, For.Mem.R.S

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    Abstract

    ON June 25, Walther Nernst, well known as a physical chemist, will celebrate his seventy-fifth birthday. Nernst was born at Briesen, West Prussia, and studied at the Universities of Zurich, Berlin, Graz and Wiirzburg. He worked under F. Kohlrausch at Wiirzburg, where he took his degree. His thesis connected his name for all time with the thermo-magnetic effects he had discovered. Eventually, he became professor of physical chemistry in the University of Gottingen and principal of the laboratory that he had just equipped for this branch of study. Numerous papers dealing with a diversity of problems were published as the result of work in the new laboratory, among them such subjects as the ionic theory of solutions, electrocapillary phenomena, residual current, polarization capacity, over-voltage, the lead accumulator and the theory of nerve stimulation which explains the painlessness of the application of high-frequency electric currents, known as diathermy. The invention of the Nernst electric lamp made the name of the young physicist well known all over the world. In 1924, Nernst became president of the Reichsanstalt. His “Textbook of Theoretical Chemistry”, the fifteenth edition of which has recently oappeared in Germany, is well known all over the world and has been translated into several languages. During the Great War he spent some time at the front and was decorated with the Iron Cross of the first and second class. In 1920, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for chemistry. Prof. F. Kriiger has written an appreciatory article in the May issue of Research and Progress (Berlin, N.W.7, Unter den Linden 8) on Nernst's life and work, filled, he says, with most intensive labour but richly rewarded in respect of research and teaching.

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    Prof. Walther Nernst, For.Mem.R.S. Nature 143, 1058 (1939) doi:10.1038/1431058a0

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