Category The Physical Tourist A Science Guide for the Traveler

Hermann von Helmholtz

<1821-189+>

Vbllenderder Klassischen Physik
Wegbereiter des wtssenscftaftlich-
techntschen Zei falters

Stiftung Wferner-wn-Slcmens-Ring -’«9і

Fig. 4. Helmholtz’s plaque at the Observatorium of today’s Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt in Berlin. Courtesy of the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt, Braunschweig.

istration and technical equipment. These were later supplemented with special labora­tories for high-voltage and low-temperature physics. During the final years of World War II, the entire complex was largely destroyed, but most of the buildings were recon­structed during the 1950s. Today you can see the physical Observatorium on March – strassee and the building of the technical department along Abbestrasse, as well as the administration building and a high-voltage laboratory. The president’s villa and the lab­oratory for low-temperature physics, which was founded by Walther Meissner and where he discovered the Meissner effect in 1933, did not survive the bombings during World War II.

Although the Observatorium was the central building for research at the PTR, the famous radiation measurements by Wilhelm Wien, Otto Lummer, Peter Pringsheim, and Heinrich Rubens, which provided the experimental foundation of quantum theo – ry,4 were not only carried out there, but also in the laboratory for radiation technolo­gy, which was part of the technical department. The radioactivity laboratory, which was founded by Hans Geiger in 1912, was also located there, and this was where he and Walther Bothe developed the coincidence method in the early 1920s and used it to establish the validity of the laws of conservation of energy and momentum in atomic processes following the discovery of the Compton effect. There also are other scientif­ic highlights in the history of the PTR. For example, during the 1930s Adolf Scheibe developed one of the first quartz clocks there and used it to establish a new time stan­dard in the so-called watch shelter, which still exists and is located at the rear of the Observatorium. The PTR was also where Walter and Ida Noddack detected the new element rhenium in 1925 in the chemical laboratory, which was located in the building just to the left of the main entrance on Abbestrasse. After World War II, the PTR was recreated as the Physikalisch – Technische Bundesanstalt of the Federal Republic of Germany in Braunschweig (Lower Saxony), of which the old PTR is today only a small

Fig. 5. Model of the Physikalisch-Technische Reichsanstalt (1887). Shown are the buildings for the Technical Department (upper left), the Physical Observatorium (middle, back), and President’s villa (lower right). Courtesy of the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt, Braunschweig.

Berlin branch. There were three institutional innovations that established Berlin’s place in the history of scientific institutions: the founding of a research-oriented uni­versity, the University of Berlin, in 1810; the founding of the Physikalisch-Technische Reichsanstalt as a state-financed research institution for physical research, which embodied some elements of Big Science, in 1887; and last but not least, the establish­ment of the Kaiser Wilhelm Gesellschaft as a new kind of non-university and private – lyfunded research institution in 1911.

Physics and New York City

Benjamin Bederson[77]

Introduction

When I was approached by the editors of Physics in Perspective to prepare an article on New York City for The Physical Tourist section, I was happy to do so. I have been a New Yorker all my life, except for short-term stays elsewhere on sabbatical leaves and other visits. My professional life developed in New York, and I married and raised my family in New York and its environs. Accordingly, writing such an article seemed a natural thing to do. About halfway through its preparation, however, the attack on the World Trade Center took place. From my apartment house I watched as the South Tower collapsed. Writing about New York and the role it has played in the history of physics in the United States and the world has now taken on a very dif­ferent meaning.

How the relatively recent history of physics has unfolded in New York is one of the many stories that make up the marvelous mosaic that describes the city. It is therefore both with pride and a feeling of humility that I present this story now, prepared in a somewhat different form than I originally had intended. It was to have been a relatively straightforward tour of the many sites in New York related to physics; instead it has become what I unabashedly could call a story in praise of both my city and its physics, and how they have worked together to produce the remarkable pattern that stands unique in the world. I am aware that I cannot do justice to all of the significant events that have transpired in New York, not only because that would make this article much too long, but also because I simply am not knowledgeable enough to do it full justice. Still, I am willing to try. To maintain some semblance of brevity, I simply mention with­out detailed discussion some of the important New York colleges and universities that possess physics departments devoted only to service.

In trying to identify and locate specific addresses associated with particular physi­cists, I quickly learned one of the basic lessons about the history of New York City, namely, that it is extraordinarily ephemeral, unlike the far older and established cities of the Old World that produced so much physics in earlier times.

Occasionally one comes across a plaque describing some important event that took place at some particular location, but one finds that the building with which it was asso­ciated no longer stands, having been replaced by a bigger building or an apartment

complex or, like the main laboratory of Bell Telephone Labs, has been simply aban­doned by the Bell Telephone Company to metamorphose into an upscale condomini­um for artists and similar creative people. Likewise, one of the major unsung locations in New York, used by most experimental physicists after the second world war, was the electronics center of New York where one could buy at bargain prices used and war – surplus microwave hardware, power-oscillator tubes, and the myriad electronic com­ponents that ended up as frequency sources, power generators, centimeter and mil­limeter-wave radiation sources, and the like. This center was located in the vicinity of Cortland Street in downtown Manhattan. It was totally eradicated to make way for the World Trade Center.

The story of physicists who emigrated from other countries is a well-told one, for example by Laura Fermi in her book, Illustrious Immigrants.1 In a literal sense (though this may be stretching it a bit) the reach of New York extends to virtually all European emigre physicists (and everyone else for that matter), since before com­mercial aviation took over, New York harbor, in particular Ellis Island and Castle Clinton, were the landing points of nearly everyone coming from Europe for almost a full century.

Physics did not take hold in New York in the nineteenth century as dramatically as it did, for example, at universities such as Harvard, Princeton, Johns Hopkins, and Yale. New York’s first major accomplishments were of a more practical nature, rather than of fundamental discoveries. Only later, starting between the two world wars, and accel­erating with the influx of European physicists fleeing Nazi Germany, did ‘‘real’’ physics blossom in New York.

Preface

Travelers differ. At one extreme are random travelers who see what they accidentally bump into. At the other extreme are the lock-step travelers who follow a banner (or a red umbrella) and look when and where a voice tells them to look. Between these extremes are the guide-book travelers who identify the whereabouts of those sites that interest them and they plan their sightseeing accordingly.

If a traveler’s interests are captivated by the arts, guide books can be very helpful. For example, the table of contents of a current guide book for travelers going to Ger­many has sections on architecture, art, literature, music and cinema. The index gives page references for famous writers, musicians, and artists. Yet, while Germany was a dominate force in physical science during the 19th and into the 20th centuries and while the names and photos of prominent German physical scientists who worked in this period are sprinkled through the pages of textbooks, only one scientist is men­tioned by name: Albert Einstein is identified as the most famous citizen of Ulm.

The Physical Tourist is a regular feature of the journal Physics in Perspective. This journal, while it is a scholarly journal, features articles designed to be read by nonspe­cialists; that is, technical jargon is deliberately avoided and ordinary words are employed. Readers report that they read it “cover-to-cover.” In the “Physical Tourist” section, scientific sites in major cities (not nations) are highlighted. Since the number of general-interest sites vary from one city to the next, some entries are short while oth­ers are long. Detailed directions are given that enable tourists to go to sites and, once there, appreciate the significance of what they are seeing.

As an example, let us consider the city of Berlin. Dieter Hoffmann, a research schol­ar in the History of Science at the Max Planck Institute in Berlin and a Professor at Humboldt University (formerly the University of Berlin), has written a guide to Berlin. It is detailed; it is delightful. Walk along Am Kupfergraben to number 7 (which the author tells the reader is just opposite the famous Pergamon Museum) and there is the Magnus Haus, the site of one of the most important schools of physics of the 19th cen­tury. Since 1990 it has been the location of the German Physical Society. “Ring the doorbell” says the author, and inside you will find information on the history of this site and its place in the physics in Berlin. One block away lived the philosopher G. W. Hegel. A few steps away is the entrance to Berlin University (on Unter den Linden) where Max Planck founded the quantum theory. Plaques inform tourists where Ein­stein lived and where he gave one of his early talks on the General Theory of Relativ­ity. Across from Humboldt University is the August-Bebel-Platz where the Nazis burned Einstein’s books and many other books on May 10,1933. And there is more.

Radioactivity was discovered in Paris. Ginette Gablot, formerly Curator of the Insti – tut du Radium and the Joliot-Curies Archives, guides a tour that begins at the Museum

National d’Histoire Naturelle (le Museum) where Henri Becquerel, the discoverer of radioactivity, worked. Across the garden is Georges Cuvier’s house on which is a plaque that identifies the house as the place where Becquerel made his discovery. Located near the Museum is 16 rue Cuvier where Pierre Curie was born. Enter 12 rue Cuvier. This building, currently part of the Universite Pierre et Marie Curie, was the first annex of the Sorbonne. Go to the lecture hall (between classes) and down a hall­way to a courtyard housing the pavilion in which radium was discovered. Pierre Curie gave lectures here and, after his death, Marie got her first true lab. Again, there is more.

Vienna is the city of music and without doubt any tourist visiting this Austrian city will have travel guides that identify sites connected with Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Brahms, Strauss, Mahler, Schonberg, and others. It is unlikely, however, that any travel guide will call attention to Christian Doppler who first understood why a train whistle changes pitch as it passes by. Nor will available guides take the tourist to plaques iden­tifying the school that Lise Meitner and Erwin Schrodinger attended, to the residence of Sigmund Freud, to the house where Einstein lived, or to the burial place of Ludwig Boltzmann. A tourist is guided to a courtyard at the University of Vienna where plaques and busts celebrate the university’s outstanding scholars Josef Loschmidt, Boltzmann, Josepf Petzval, Schrodinger, Doppler, Johann Radon, Freud, Friedrich Hasenohrl, and Franz Exner.

The description of scientific sites in the cities of Berlin, Paris, and Vienna are just three examples of the many articles from “The Physical Tourist” that have appeared in the journal Physics in Perspective. The collection in this book offers many significant science-related sites to supplement and expand the more traditional focus of current travel guides. These science sites will enrich your travel experience and give you more to talk about when you return home.

August 2008

John S. Rigden Roger H. Stuewer

The Physical Tourist. A Science Guide for the Traveler edited by John S. Rigden and Roger H. Stuewer © 2009 Birkhauser Verlag Basel, Switzerland

Experimental Resurrection

Forster’s successor as Director of the Physical Institute in 1924 was the experimental physicist and trained concert pianist from St. Gallen Heinrich Greinacher (1880-1974, figure 10).[30] He had a knack for inventing ingenious devices and instruments with the limited resources that were available to him. Greinacher constructed an early ioniza­tion chamber, and his voltage multiplier of 1926 became an important component in particle accelerators.11 His original instrument is part of the Physical Institute’s collec­tion, some of which is on display by the main staircase of the science building at Sidler – strasse 5. There is a bust of Einstein in its central hallway.

Fig. 10. Heinrich Greinacher (1880-1974) was Professor of Physics at the University of Bern from 1924 to 1954. Source: Scandola, et al., Hochschulgeschichte Berns (ref. 7) p. 335.

After the Second World War, the Bernese government, swept up in the global wave of enthusiasm for nuclear energy, finally began to consider physics as a worthwhile investment, and the fortunes of the exact sciences in Bern finally turned around. Thus, in 1952 a physicist of the first order, Friedrich (Fritz) Georg Houtermans (1903-1966, figure 11),12 was attracted to Bern from Gottingen with the prospect of heading a mod­ern department of experimental physics in a state-of-the-art science building.[31] Houter­mans had completed his Ph. D. degree in 1927 at the University of Gottingen and dur­ing the next decade had made fundamental contributions to theoretical nuclear physics, the theory of stellar reactions, the development of electron microscopy, and

Fig. 11. The founder of the “Berner Schule,” Friedrich (Fritz) Georg Houtermans (1903-1966). Source: Landrock, “Houtermans” (ref. 12), p. 187.

other fields of research. In 1941 he proposed a means of producing element 94 (pluto­nium).[32] After the end of the war, he returned to Gottingen, working on neutron physics and on methods to determine the age of rocks.

In 1952 Houtermans wrote to the Dutch physicist Hendrick Casimir (1909-2000) from Bern: “If you want to see an authentic early-twentieth-century laboratory, come and visit me. But you have to come soon, for I am going to change all that.”13 He founded the internationally renowned Berner Schule whose focus was on applications of radioactivity to the geosciences, astrophysics, and cosmochemistry. Judging from the number of his publications and students he had in Bern, this was his most productive period, despite incurring a disability following a fall in 1962. A few of his coauthored publications were on such topics as cosmic radiation, solar neutrinos, the maser condi­tion in molecular spectra, and health hazards of radioactivity. In 1953, based on his ear­lier research on the age of uranium, Houtermans estimated the age of the Earth to be (4.5 ± 0.3) x 109 years.

One of Houtermans’s former students, Hans Oeschger (1927-1998), described Houtermans’s lectures in general physics as difficult to follow and error-prone but filled with brilliant comparisons to illuminate the underlying physical mechanisms.14 Oeschger and Houtermans developed a sensitive particle counter that became the cen­terpiece of their carbon-dating laboratory, the first one in Switzerland. In 1963 Oeschger became head of a new department of climatology and environmental physics at Bern.

Houtermans’s boisterous and risque sense of humor was legendary. Friedrich Bege – mann (b. 1927), one of his graduate students, tells the story that when the Physical Insti­tute was still housed in the Tellurian Observatory Houtermans occasionally led his “boys” down into the stairwell to wobble the sandstone pillar that was used as the Earth’s axis in practical exercises, shouting, “Let’s go and shake Switzerland a little!” In 1957 the cosmochemist Begemann was the first to determine the age of a meteorite by exposure to cosmic rays; he later became Director of the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Mainz. Another of Houtermans’s mischievous pranks was to “borrow” the fire hoses for a dousing after an evening at the pub, which brought down the wrath of the building supervisor. His saving excuse was that he was carrying out an emer­gency drill against radioactive contamination.

Columbia University

If I were allowed to list only one physics site in New York City, it would have to be the Columbia University Physics Department. In a class by itself on the New York physics scene, it has had a glorious history that stretches back over a century – a period of time that perhaps is not so impressive by European standards, but is pretty impressive by American ones. Columbia’s was not among the first physics departments in America, which included those of Harvard, Princeton, and Yale, but at some point it caught up to all of these, and arguably surpassed them, at least for a long stretch of time in the twentieth century. It has now been for decades a domain under the reign of T. D. Lee. Rather than overwhelm the reader with too much information, I simply point to Columbia’s stellar accomplishments by listing below the Nobel Prizes won by Colum­bia faculty members.

Fig. 12. Pupin Hall at Columbia University. Photograph by the author.

Physics at Columbia probably can be dated from the establishment of the School of Mines in 1864, in particular with the appointment of Michael I. Pupin as professor in it. The Physics Department in the College of Arts and Science was established in 1892. The American Physical Society was founded at Columbia in 1899.[93] The present physics building, Pupin Hall (figure 12), was built in 1925 on the north edge of the main cam-

Table 1. Columbia University Nobel Laureates according to the year they received the Nobel Prize in Physics. EKA stands for the Ernest Kempton Adams Fund for Physical Research, which was estab­lished in 1904 by Edward Dean Adams ‘‘as a memorial to his son… who received the degree of Elec­trical Engineering in 1897 and Master of Arts in 1898, and who devoted his life to scientific research.’’ Quoted in Max Planck, Eight Lectures on Theoretical Physics delivered at Columbia University in 1909 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1915), p. iii. I thank Roger H. Stuewer for supplying this infor­mation. Asterisks refer to research performed at Columbia.

Year

Name

Association with Columbia

1902

Hendrik A. Lorentz

EKA Lecturer in Mathematical Physics, 1905-1906

1911

Wilhelm Wien

EKA Lecturer in Mathematical Physics, 1913

1918

Max Planck

EKA Lecturer in Mathematical Physics, 1909

1923

Robert A. Millikan

Columbia Ph. D., 1895 (first Physics Ph. D. awarded)

1938

Enrico Fermi

Faculty, 1939-1946

1944

Isidor I. Rabi*

Columbia Ph. D., 1927;Faculty, 1929-1967;Professor Emeritus, 1967-1988

1949

Hideki Yukawa

Faculty, 1949-1953

1955

Willis E. Lamb*

Faculty, 1938-1951

1955

Polykarp Kusch*

Faculty, 1939-1971

1957

Tsung Dao Lee*

Faculty, 1953-present

1963

Maria Goeppert-Mayer Research Staff and Faculty, 1939-1946

1964

Charles H. Townes*

Faculty, 1948-1961

1965

Julian Schwinger

Columbia B. A., 1936;Columbia Ph. D., 1939

1967

Hans A. Bethe

Visiting Professor, 1948 and 1949

1969

Murray Gell-Mann

Visiting Professor, 1954-1955

1972

Leon N. Cooper

Columbia B. A., 1951;Columbia Ph. D., 1954

1975

Aage Bohr*

Research Staff, 1948-1949

1975

James Rainwater*

Columbia Ph. D., 1946;Faculty, 1946-1986

1976

Samuel C. C. Ting

Faculty, 1965-1969

1978

Arno A. Penzias

Columbia Ph. D., 1962

1979

Steven Weinberg

Faculty, 1957-1959

1980

Val L. Fitch

Columbia Ph. D., 1954

1981

Arthur L. Schawlow

Research Staff, 1949-1951

1984

Carlo Rubbia

Research Staff, 1958-1959

1988

Leon M. Lederman*

Columbia Ph. D., 1951;Faculty, 1951-1979

1988

Melvin Schwartz*

Columbia B. A., 1953;Columbia Ph. D., 1958;Faculty, 1957-1966, 1991-present

1988

Jack Steinberger*

Faculty, 1950-1969

1989

Norman F. Ramsey

Columbia B. A., 1935;Columbia Ph. D., 1937;Faculty, 1942-1946

pus (by 120th Street). Unlike many other thriving physics departments, Columbia’s to this day has not seen fit to move to snazzier quarters. Pupin Hall is now an official national landmark. Columbia’s first Nobel Prize awarded to a regular faculty member went to Harold C. Urey (1893-1981), who received the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1934 for his discovery of deuterium three years earlier. In physics, beginning in the early 1930s, I. I. Rabi was the dominant figure. John S. Rigden has discussed Rabi’s pio­neering work on atomic and molecular beams, and that of his amazing coterie of stu­dents, in detail.21 Other Columbia physicists also made stellar experimental and theo­retical contributions to nuclear and particle physics and astrophysics, as epitomized by the awards listed below. Finally, the basement of Pupin occupies a special niche in the history of physics, as this is where Herbert L. Anderson, Eugene T. Booth, John R. Dun­ning, Enrico Fermi, G. Norris Glasoe, and Francis G. Slack performed the first fission experiments in the United States on January 25, 1939. The following year, in March 1940, Dunning, Booth, and Aristid V. Grosse, using a small sample of the separated ura­nium isotopes supplied to them by Alfred O. C. Nier of the University of Minnesota, proved that U-235 is the fissionable isotope. The cyclotron they used was removed from the basement laboratory some years ago.

A thorough history of Columbia’s Physics Department, which remains today a very active center of research, can be found at the websites <http:// phys. columbia. edu/his – tory> and <http://phys. columbia. edu/heritage. html>. I reproduce in Table 1 the list of 28 Nobel Laureates who have been associated with the department. Thirteen received the Nobel Prize for theoretical work, fifteen for experimental discoveries; ten were Columbia Ph. D.s in physics, and ten (denoted by an asterisk) performed their prize­winning research in Pupin Hall.

Stellaburgi REG II HAUNIENSIS

Fig. 5.

The Round Tower (web site <www. rundetaarn. dk>) is the oldest preserved obser­vatory in Europe. It still functions as such; it served as the University of Copenhagen Observatory until 1861, and nowadays in the winter period anyone can observe the night sky through its fine astronomical telescope.

The foundation stone of the Round Tower was laid in 1637, and the building was completed in 1642. The observatory was the first of a complex of three buildings built in the 17th century for use by scholars, the other two being the students’ church (Trini – tatis or Trinity Church, consecrated in 1656) and the university library (above the church). These buildings were commissioned by King Christian IV, who reigned from 1588 to 1648. There is a large and decorative riddle, designed by the King himself, on the outside of the Round Tower, which can be interpreted as follows: ‘‘Lead, O God, learning and justice into the heart of the crowned King Christian IV, 1642.’’ Inside the tower a 209-meter-long spiral ramp leads up to the astronomers’ study, directly under­neath the observation platform, which is reached by a winding staircase. From here the visitor has a magnificent view of the old part of Copenhagen, including the University district, the Latin quarter. The first director of the observatory was Christian Lon – gomontanus (1562-1647), one of Tycho Brahe’s students.

Copenhagen has suffered many fires and bombardments over the centuries. The observatory and the university library burned in the fire of 1728, in which Tycho

Brahe’s celestial globe (which had been returned to Denmark in 1632) melted. Not one of Brahe’s instruments is now to be found in Denmark.

At the end of the spiral ramp there is a planet plotter, installed in 1928, which shows the six inner planets’ orbits around the Sun. The original planet plotter was construct­ed in 1697 by Ole R0mer, who was a convinced Copernican, but out of veneration for Tycho Brahe, R0mer adapted the first planet plotter according to Brahe’s system with the Earth at the center, the Sun moving around the Earth, and the rest of the planets moving around the Sun.

The library hall above the church was used as the university library in the years 1657-1861. It is now used as an exhibition hall. The entrance is halfway up the spiral ramp.

Store Kannikestrade 16 (E5)

This street is part of the University quarter. There is a memorial plaque for Ole R0mer (figure 6) on the front of Store Kannikestrade 16: HER LAA INDTIL 1728/DEN PROFESSOR-RESIDENS HVOR/OLE R0MER/PROFESSOR I ASTRONOMI/ POLITIMESTER I K0BENHAVN/BOEDE TIL SIN D0D 19 SEPTEMBER 1710 (Here stood until 1728 the professorial residence where Ole

Fig. 6. Ole R0mer. Portrait at the Institute of Astronomy, University of Copenhagen. Courtesy of the Ole R0mer Museum.

R0mer, professor of astronomy, chief of police for Copenhagen, lived until his death, 19 September 1710).

Danish astronomer Ole R0mer (1644-1710) studied at the University of Copen­hagen. He assisted Erasmus Bartholin (1625-1698), who is renowned for his study in 1669 of the passage of a beam of light through a crystal of Iceland spar, with the pub­lication of Tycho Brahe’s ‘‘observation plates’’ (which were bought by Danish King Frederik III from Johannes Kepler’s son). From 1671 R0mer continued this work with Jean Picard (1620-1682) in Paris where, among other things, he designed the fountains at Versailles for Louis XIV. In 1676 he wrote what would be his only paper of any importance published during his lifetime – on his discovery of the ‘‘hesitation’’ of light, that is, that light has a finite velocity. He returned to Copenhagen in 1681, where he became the king’s mathematician, professor of astronomy at the university, and there­by director of the observatory at the Round Tower.

R0mer reordered the system of weights and measures in Denmark on the basis of a single unit, thus combining weight and length. Among his numerous public duties, he also was involved in providing street lighting for Copenhagen. He was responsible for introducing the Gregorian Calendar in Denmark in 1700. R0mer was a great instru­ment maker, developing the transit instrument (figure 7) in 1689. His studies on tem­perature corrections led him to invent a thermometer that was based on the freezing and boiling points of water. Daniel Fahrenheit (1686-1736) learned about this idea from R0mer in 1708.

R0mer made his astronomical observations from his home in Kannikestrsde and at a new observatory built to the west of Copenhagen, now the site of the Ole R0mer Museum (see Appendix). Most of R0mer’s papers were destroyed in the fire of 1728.

XI District

Descending the Buda hills we arrive in the XI District on the west bank of the Danube river. Eotvos University is located south of the Petofi-Md (bridge), while the Technical University of Budapest is south of the Szabadsag-Md (bridge). We start at the former.

Pazmany Peter setany (promenade), Faculty of Natural Sciences (figure 3), Eotvos University. The Institute of Physics moved here in 1998 from the Eotvos Building at Puskin utca 5-7 in the VIII District (see below).

As I noted earlier, the university was founded by Peter Pazmany in 1635 in Nagy – szombat. At that time, it had only two faculties, the Faculty of Theology and the Facul­ty of Arts. The Faculty of Law was established in 1667 and the Faculty of Medicine in 1769. In 1950 the Faculty of Theology was separated from the University, becoming the Peter Pazmany Catholic University, and in 1951 the Faculty of Medicine followed suit, becoming the Semmelweis Medical School. Since 1990 the Institute of Sociology and Social Politics also has enjoyed a certain autonomy within the university.

The Physics Department was established by Empress Maria Theresia in 1770. Its first outstanding faculty member was the Benedictine monk Anyos Jedlik (1800-1895), who taught at the university from 1840-1878. His electrostatic machine, a high-capacity electric condenser, was awarded the Medal for Progress at the Vienna World Exhibition in 1873 on the recommendation of Werner Siemens. Jedlik (figure 4) was the first electrotechnician, the first precision mechanician, and the first physics educator in Hungary. He attached paramount importance to teacher training. His suc­cessor, Roland von Eotvos, founded physical research in Hungary. Eotvos received the Benecke Prize of the University of Gottingen in 1909 for verifying the proportionali­ty of inertial and gravitational mass to a precision of 1 part in 200,000,000 in a series of experiments he carried out with Dezso Pekar (1873-1953) and Jeno Fekete (1880-1943).12 He was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Physics by three people in 1911 and 1914 and by two in 1917, one of the nominators in 1914 being Philipp Lenard (1862-1947), winner of the 1905 Nobel Prize and corresponding member of the Hun­garian Academy of Sciences, who was born in Pozsony (Bratislava) but spent his career in Germany.

Fig. 3. Faculty of Natural Sciences Building, Eotvos University. Photograph by Imre Zsolt Kovacs.

Eotvos and his successors selected their coworkers according to their ability to carry out precision measurements, not according to their scientific originality. Both Gyozo Zemplen (1879-1916) and Zoltan Bay (1900-1992) were assistants in the Physics Department who later became professors and heads of the Physics Department in the nearby Technical University of Budapest.

From 1914-1918 Georg von Hevesy, who later won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for 1943, taught and carried out research in both the Third Chemical Institute and the Sec­ond Physical Institute of the University of Budapest.13 After Eotvos’s death on April 8, 1919, while Hungary was passing through its short-lived communist revolution, Hevesy was appointed director of the First Physical Institute as well. Hevesy recruited eminent scientists such as Imre Brody (1891-1944) and Pal Selenyi (1884-1954), but after the capitulation of the Soviet government he resigned from his position in October 1919.

Georg von Bekesy (1899-1972) had a research appointment in the Institute for Postal Communications at Zombori u. 2 in the IX District (see below) and also was an outstanding physics teacher at the University of Budapest from 1940-1946. Rudolf Ortvay (1885-1945), head of the Institute of Theoretical Physics, initiated the Ortvay Colloquium in 1929, as mentioned earlier. Cornelius Lanczos (1893-1974) wrote his Ph. D. thesis in 1926 under Ortvay and later worked with Einstein in Berlin from 1928-1929. Tibor Neugebauer (1904-1977) and Pal Gombas (1909-1971) were Ort – vay’s assistants and carried out theoretical research in quantum mechanics. After World War II, Karoly Novobatzky (1884-1967) founded a powerful school of theoret­ical physics at the university that included Gyula Kuti (noted for his sack model of nucleons), George Marx (conservation law of lepton charge), Karoly Nagy (nuclear physics), Ivan Abonyi (plasma physics), Sandor Szalay (cosmology), and Geza Gyorgyi (physical applications of group theory). Experimental physics became stronger at the Technical University of Budapest and at the universities in Debrecen and Szeged.

Pazmany Peter setany (promenade), Chemistry Building, Eotvos University. This build-

Fig. 4. Bust of Anyos Jedlik (1800-1895) in the aula of the Anyos Jedlik Secondary Grammar School at Tancsics Mihaly u. 92 in the XXI District. Photograph by the author.

ing is south of the Buda abutment of the Peto’fi-Md (bridge). In its entrance hall there are plaques dedicated to a number of Hungarian chemists.

Pazmany Peter setany 1/A, Institute of Physics, Eotvos University. In the middle of its entrance hall is a copy of a bust of Eotvos, the original being in the Trefort kert (gar­den) in the VIII District (see below). In the Sphere Hall is the pantheon of the Facul­ty of Natural Sciences, whose bronze busts by various artists were dedicated in 1999, as follows: Karoly Tangl (1869-1940), physicist;[59] Rudolf Ortvay (1885-1945), physicist; Georg von Bekesy (1899-1972), chemist and physicist, Nobel Prize in Physiology or

Medicine for 1961; Georg von Hevesy (1885-1966), chemist and physicist, Nobel Prize in Chemistry for 1943; Bela Lengyel (1844-1913), chemist;[60] Gusztav Buchbock ( 1 869-1 935) , chemist;[61] Rado Kovesligethy (1862-1 939) , geophysicist;[62] Jozsef Szava-Kovats (1898-1980), meteorologist;[63] Laszlo Detre (1906-1974), astronomer; Anyos Jedlik (1800-1895), physicist; Karoly Than (1834-1908), chemist;[64] and Lajos Winkler (1863-1939), chemist.******

To the right of Eotvos’s bust is the so-called Harmony Room with Endre Ratkay’s fresco, Annales I, II, III, in it. The scientists depicted on it are as follows: Democritus, Aristotle, Pythagorus, Ptolemy, Giordano Bruno, Nicolaus Copernicus, Tycho Brahe, Johannes Kepler, Galileo Galilei, Peter Pazmany, Isaac Newton, Janos and Farkas Bolyai, Roland von Eotvos, Kitaibel Pal, Anyos Jedlik, Miksa Hell, Albert Einstein, Roland von Eotvos (again), Max Planck, Max von Laue, James D. Watson, Marie Curie, Erwin Schrodinger, Werner Heisenberg, and Niels Bohr.

Eotvos’s Certificates of Acknowledgment are on display in the library. They came to light when the Institute of Physics moved here from another building. A huge gypsum statue of Jedlik also is in the library, which probably is the gypsum mold of the bronze statue in the Jedlik Technical Secondary School in Gyor.

On the first floor in Seminar Room 1.125 of the Department of Theoretical Physics is a bust of Karoly Novobatzky (1884-1967). In the department head’s office and in the dean’s meeting room are two more paintings of Eotvos. In the hall on the third floor of the Department of Nuclear Physics is a bronze bust of Georg von Hevesy (1885-1966) and one of Lajos Janossy (1912-1978). In Room 384 is a bust of Eugene Wigner (1902-1995). The Theodor von Karman Laboratory also is in this building.

Muegyetem rakpart (embankment),Technical University of Budapest. In 1782 Emper­or Franz Joseph II established the Institutum Geometricum as part of the Faculty of Liberal Arts at the University of Buda. This was the direct predecessor of the Techni­cal University of Budapest, the first university in Europe to award engineering degrees in land surveying, river control, and road construction. In 1850 the Institutum Geo­metricum merged with the Joseph College of Technology to become in 1862 the Royal Joseph University. Its present name, the Technical University of Budapest, became offi­cial in 1949.Today more than 110 departments and institutes operate within the frame­work of its seven faculties. There are some novelties. A separate department was set up for Gyozo Zemplen (1879-1916) who taught theoretical physics; the large lecture hall of the Institute of Physics (figure 5) is named after him. Also, the Department of Atom­ic Physics was established with the support of the Tungsram Company with Zoltan Bay (1900-1992) as its head.

In the garden of the Technical University of Budapest next to the Institute of Physics are bronze busts of John von Neumann (1903-1957), Theodor von Karman (1881-1963), and Eugene Wigner (1902-1995), all cast by Ilona Barth and all donated by the Alumni Association of Hungarians in America with headquarters in Buffalo, New York. Elsewhere in the garden is a bronze bust of Geza Pattantyhs-Abraham (1885-1956) and one of Dennis Gabor (1900-1979) that was unveiled in 2000. In the aula of the central building overlooking the Danube river is a statue of Kalman Szily (1838-1924), and at the entrance of Building F from the inner park is a bust of Zoltan Gyulai (1887-1968) that was dedicated in 2000.

Lagymanyosi tot 21-23. There is a limestone statue here of Janos Irinyi (1817-1895) bearing the inscription:

Janos Irinyi 1817-1895. Scientist, Chemist, Freedom Fighter

Menesi tot 7. This is where Eugene Wigner once lived. In 1963, three decades after his move to Princeton University, Wigner received the Nobel Prize in Physics “for his con­tributions to the theory of the atomic nucleus and elementary particles, particularly through the discovery and application of fundamental symmetry principles.”

Menesi tot 11-13, Jozsef Eotvos Boarding House. When Roland von Eotvos was Minis­ter of Culture and Education, he founded this boarding house and named it after his father. In it is a marble bust that was erected to commemorate Eotvos as its founder, as well as a marble plaque in remembrance of those who fell during World War I, for instance, Gyozo Zemplen (1879-1916).

Beregszaszi tot 10, Jozsef Oveges Vocational and Technical Secondary School. To the right of its entrance is a black marble plaque that was erected in 1991 with the inscrip­tion:

Jozsef Oveges 1895-1979 Space is Endless for the Creative Man

Oveges was a famous physics teacher (see the plaque dedicated to him at Varsanyi Udvar 2 in the II District above), and there is a well-known caricature of him engraved on a large plastic plate here.

Gellert-hegy (hill), Citadel. In 1753 Miksa Hell (1720-1792) established an astronomi­cal observatory at the university in Nagyszombat (Trnava), which in 1779 moved with the university to the Royal Palace in Buda. A new observatory, the Gellert Hill Urani – ae (for the sky) was opened on October 15, 1815. Its construction and operation is linked to Janos Pasquich (1753-1829). A monument that commemorates the former

Fig. 5. The Institute of Physics of the Technical University of Budapest. This old photograph shows the building as it also appears today. Credit: Courtesy of Fizikai Szemle (Physics Review), the journal of the Eotvos Society.

observatory was dedicated in 1972.The celestial globe on it has a plaque on its pedestal that reads:

The First Exact Map of Hungary was drawn based on the Scientific Contributions of the Astronomer Imre Daniel Bogdanich (1762-1802). Erected by the Geodetic and Cartographical Society and the Institute for Astronomical Observations of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in 1972 in Commemoration of His Scientific Work and to Mark the Place where the Observatory Uraniae once stood

Hegyalja dt. 96. The marble plaque on the wall here reads:

Imre Fenyes (1917-1977) lived Here from 1954 until his Death. Outstanding Culti­vator and Professor of Modern Theoretical Physics. Erected by the Council of the XI District, Budapest, 1993

Kaposvar u. 13-15, National Museum of Technology. This museum has a few temporary exhibitions in Buda Castle and exhibit rooms in the Szechenyi Palace in Nagycenk and throughout Hungary. Among the exhibits in the museum, the ones on Creative Hun­garians in the History of Technology and Science and Masterpieces of Hungarian Sci­ence are outstanding. These exhibits include artifacts such as a copy of the 1841 metal camera of Jozsef Petzval (1807-1891); the world’s first carburetor for the stationary engine that Donat Banki (1859-1922) and Janos Csonka (1852-1939) patented on Feb­ruary 11,1893; and the first barium-cathode electric tube of the Tungsram Company, the heavy-duty P415 output pentode of 1927. The museum also possesses oil paintings of Tivadar Puskas (1844-1893) and Rado Kovesligethy (1862-1939).These paintings, as well as Eotvos’s torsion balances and Jedlik’s electrical instruments, are only occasion­ally on display. Also preserved by the museum is Zoltan Bay’s coulometer, the single surviving instrument used in his Moon-Radar experiment of 1946.14

Petzval Jozsef u. 33. There is a commemorative plaque here of the optician and pioneer of photography Jozsef Petzval (1807-1891), who was a professor at the Technical Uni­versity of Budapest and the University of Vienna.

The Park between Menyecske u. and Kero’ Ut. The so-called Time Machine, a digital clock with a metal ring 6 meters in diameter and set in concrete, was made by Tibor Vilt in 1983. The metal cylinders, 50 centimeters in diameter, that indicate the numbers on the clock are decorated with metal reliefs depicting the signs of the zodiac.

Ratz Laszlo u. 4, Leo Weiner Musical Secondary School. There is a marble plaque erected in 1997 on its wall that reads:

Laszlo Ratz 1863-1930 Mathematician, Director and Teacher of the Budapest Lutheran Gymnasium in the (Varosligeti) Fasor, Editor of the Mathematical Review for Secondary Schools. Erected by the Council of the XI District, Budapest and the Budapest Lutheran Gymnasium in 1997

Erdi Ut Cemetery (also known as the Farkasreti Jewish Cemetery in the XII District, since one entrance is on Nemetvolgyi Ut; see above). The grave of Karoly Zipernowsky (1853-1942) is in this cemetery.

We now cross the Danube river on the Chain Bridge (LancMd), one of the oldest bridges in Budapest, and arrive on the Pest side of the city.