Obituary | Published:

Prof. V. M. Goldschmidt, For. Mem. R. S

Nature volume 159, page 701 (24 May 1947) | Download Citation



I wish to add to Prof. Tilley's account a few recollections of my personal relations with V. M. Goldschmidt. When he first came to Göttingen there was a latent tension between us, a mutual doubt regarding our work on ionic crystals : he considered my calculations of lattice energies cumbersome and scarcely worth while, and I had no confidence in his primitive way of adding ionic radii. But we soon discovered that these two methods were complementary, one providing exact values in a few simple cases, the other covering the whole field of crystal chemistry. After clearing the air, we became great friends. He was a remarkable man in many respects. His memory was stupendous. Once I sent an assistant to him to ask about literature on a great number of data. Instead of giving the titles of papers, he just dictated the numerical tables from memory, and a later check proved them essentially correct. He knew by heart not only the properties of atoms and ions, like radii, polarizabilities, etc., but also their occurrence in minerals and the distribution of these minerals in the earth's crust. If he did not know a fact, he had simple ways of deriving it from his radii.

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