München, April 6th 1908.
Prof. A. Sommerfeld,
Dear Prof. Sommerfeld,-
Dr. Grover is writing to you regarding his work on his Arbeit and I thought that perhaps some words of explanation from me might help you to appreciate more fully his position in the matter. He resigned a position at a salary of Dollar 1800 in order to come over here to spend a year and get the degree of PhD. I wrote Prof. Röntgen in advance to see whether there was likely to be any difficulty in his getting his degree in one year and he replied favorably, encouraging him to come. In order to insure his Arbeit he worked a large part of his time for nearly a year before coming on a very important problem and obtained a large number of valuable results. I urged him strongly on his departure not to do laboratory work over here, unless it be merely to finish the work so fully carried out in Washington but to devote himself to lectures and theoretical work. It was largely because he appreciated (as I did) the opportunity of hearing you that he came here, and he wanted to make the most of his one year here. But he had already done so much experimental work and so much research work that he feels as I do, that working in a laboratory so meagerly equipped with apparatus for the work in hand is a waste of time. Now the serious question with him is, what will happen if he fails to bring the work to a successful issue by the end of July. He has waited so long for apparatus and still has only a part of what is necessary, that it seems to me very doubtful whether he can finish it in the time remaining. He must return to America this summer, as he /2/ cannot be reinstated in his position if he is gone more than one year, and he will feel that he has failed in his purpose if he does not get the degree. What he desires is that he be allowed to take the examinations before leaving and then finish up the Arbeit in Washington before printing it, in case it is not finished in July. Then he could receive the degree without returning to Germany.
If you will furnish him at once such additional apparatus as he needs he will push the work along vigorously and try very hard to complete it. But if you are unwilling to allow him to take the examination in case the work is not entirely completed, and he must wait for apparatus during the next four months as he has during the past five months, I shall advice him to go to Berlin for the summer semester and devote himself entirely to lectures.
He has been in, and will return to, one of the best equipped laboratories in the world. For the kind of work he is doing probably the very best. You can appreciate what a dissappointment it is to him to be obliged to work here under such unfavorable circumstances.
Dr. Grover had already done when he came here as much advanced work in physics as most men do for the degree of Ph D. Hence he ought not to be treated as an ordinary student, who is expected to remain as long as necessary to get his degree.
I hope that you will be able to give him some assurance that will justify him in going on with his work on the Arbeit, and that the necessary apparatus will be procured at once. He will furnish some of it himself, if the University cannot provide all. But it ought to be obtained at once.
With kindest regards and the hope that you will appreciate my reason for writing to you now, I am
Hochg. H. College!
Es tut mir sehr leid, daß ich die Absichten des Hn. Dr. Grover anfangs nicht richtig verstanden habe, wahrscheinlich weil er zu schlecht deutsch und ich zu schlecht englisch sprach. Erst jetzt erfahre ich aus Ihrem Briefe, daß er nach Ihrem Wunsche eine experimentelle Arbeit nicht unternehmen sollte. Schwerlich hätte ich ihm eine rein theoretische Arbeit geben können, da ich nicht glaube, dass seine mathematische Vorbildung dazu ausgereicht hätte, in einem Jahr eine solche Arbeit abzuschließen. Die jetzige Arbeit ist zwar zur größeren Hälfte experimentell, doch hat sie auch ihre theoretischen Seiten, die H. Grover mit meiner Unterstützung bereits ausgeführt hat.
Ich glaube übrigens, dass die experimentellen Schwierigkeiten jetzt der Hauptsache nach //beendet// überwunden sind. Nachdem H. Grover mir mitgeteilt hat, daß er sich doch entschloßen hat, im Sommer hierzubleiben, habe ich die Beschaffung der von ihm gewünschten Widerstände veranlasst. Daß er selbst hierzu beisteuert, ist durchaus nicht nötig. Es fehlt meinem Laboratorium durchaus nicht an Mitteln, wenn es auch mit Apparaten vorläufig nicht reichlich ausgestattet ist. Natürlich habe ich ihm in keiner Weise zugeredet, hierzubleiben.
Nach den Statuten der Universität ist es leider nicht möglich, die Prüfung abzunehmen, bevor die Arbeit fertig ist.
Ich danke Ihnen nochmals verbindlichst für Ihren liebenswürdigen Besuch u. dafür, daß Sie sich in dieser Sache bemüht haben.
Ihr sehr ergebener A. Sommerfeld