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March 25, 1950

Scientific Autobiography and Other Papers

JAMA. 1950;142(12):951. doi:10.1001/jama.1950.02910300089040

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Translations into English of five of Planck's nontechnical essays constitute this book. The first essay, from which the volume takes it name, recounts the author's part in the development of relativity theory, quantum mechanics and nuclear physics. It sheds a most interesting light on the persons of this drama, from Helmholtz to Schrödinger. This information is admirably supplemented by the introduction, a memorial address delivered by Max von Laue after the death of Planck in 1947. The 90 years of his life included the two world wars, in each of which he lost a son; during the second war his house went up in flames, his library disappeared and he himself was buried in an air-raid shelter for several hours during the destruction of Kassel. Through all these vicissitudes, somehow, his scientific productiveness survived. The four remaining essays are entitled "Phantom Problems in Science," "The Meaning and Limits of Exact

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