Walther Nernst Chronology

1864-06-25 Walther Hermann Nernst is born in Briesen, West Prussia (now Wabrzezno, Poland).
1883 Abitur, Gymnasium in Graudenz (now Grudziadz, Poland)
  Studies at the universities of Zürich (1883 and 1884) and Berlin.
  Lectures by Ludwig Boltzmann, experimental studies together with Albert von Ettingshausen, Graz.
1887 Nernst-Ettingshausen Effect
  Joins Friedrich Kohlrausch, Würzburg. PhD thesis, meets Svante Arrhenius and Emil Fischer.
  Return to Graz with Arrhenius, work with v. Ettingshausen
  Wilhelm Ostwald, Leipzig travels to Graz in search of an assistant. Nernst accepts.
1888 Nernst Equation
1889 Nernst Equation, habilitation, osmotic theory of galvanic cells, Die elektromotorische Wirksamkeit der Jonen
  Teaching assistant with Prof. Brühl in Heidelberg. Return to Leipzig
1890 Assistant and private lecturer with Eduard Riecke at the Göttingen physics institute (Easter 1890). He lives at Bühlstr. 36.
  Nernst Distribution Law (1890/1891)
1891 Declines call to Gießen. Extraordinary professor in Göttingen
1892-09-01 Marriage with Emma Lohmeyer, daughter of a Göttingen medical professor. They had 5 children, 2 sons (Rudolf and Gustav, both were killed in World War I) and 3 daughters (Hildegard, Edith and Angela).
1893 1st edition of Theoretische Chemie vom Standpunkte der Avogadro'schen Regel und der Thermodynamik (last edition 1926)
1894 Deutsche Elektrochemische Gesellschaft (German electrochemical society, 1902 renamed Bunsen-Gesellschaft) is founded in Cassel (now Kassel) 1894-04-21; cf. Z. Elektrochem. 1(2):33 - 35, 74, 1894.
  Novel method for the measurement of dielectric constants (modified Wheatstone bridge for alternating currents).
  Design of a novel potentiometer which is manufactured be Ernst Ruhstrat, Göttingen.
  Nernst declines call to München as successor of Ludwig Boltzmann.
Ordinary professor + new institute in Göttingen.
1895 Göttingen physicochemical institute, construction and first uses.
  1st edition of Einführung in die mathematische Behandlung der Naturwissenschaften (with A. Schönflies)
  Naturforscherversammlung in Lübeck, September 16 - 21, 1895. Talk of Miss Maltby (PhD student of Nernst) - first talk of a woman at such conference.
1896-06-02 Inauguration of the Göttingen physicochemical institute. Speech (facsimile), Festschrift (serious), Bierzeitung (funny).
1897 Nernst Lamp (patent D.R.P. 104872)
1898 AEG (director Emil Rathenau) buys patent of Nernst Lamp. Nernst donates 40000 Mark for additions to the Göttingen institute building.
  Voyage Bremen - New York (1898-04-07, steamer "Lahn") in order to obtain a U.S. patent for the Nernst lamp.
Prototypes of the lamp are built by Spindler & Hoyer, Göttingen.
1899 Nernst law of electrical nerve stimulus threshold (Reizschwellengesetz).
1899-05-09 First public presentation of the Nernst Lamp in the conference room of the AEG, Luisenstr., Berlin
1899-05-25 Annual meeting German electrochem. Soc. in Göttingen (- 1899-05-27). Picture postcard. Commers songbook (funny)
1900 Presentation of the Nernst Lamp at the World's Fair in Paris (Exposition Universelle); Grand Prix for W. Nernst
1901 Presentation of the Nernst Lamp at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo
1903 Micro torsional balance (with E. H. Riesenfeld); Chem. Ber. 36 (1903) 2086. Manufactured by Spindler & Hoyer, Göttingen. Sensitivity 5 microgram, max. 2 mg
1904 Some preliminary work on the ammonia equilibrium (with Karl Jellinek).
World's Fair in St. Louis, Mo. (Louisiana Purchase Exposition); presentation of the Nernst Lamp, scientific congress.
1905 Berlin. Professor of Chemistry, successor of Landolt (1905-04-01)
  Title of Geheimer Regierungsrat (cf. Phys. Z. 6 (1905) 249)
  1. Vorsitzender (president) Bunsengesellschaft (1905 - 1908)
1905-11-24 Fellow of the Berlin Academy of Sciences
1905-12-23 Nernst Heat Theorem (Third Law of Thermodynamics) Neuer Wärmesatz presented at a meeting of the Königliche Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften zu Göttingen (Royal Academy of Sciences)
1906-04-26 VI. Intl. congress on applied chemistry, Rome (- 1906-05-03); cf. Z. Elektrochem. 12(29):498, 1906
  Voyage Liverpool - New York (1906-09-26 - 1906-10-03, steamer "Oceanic").
Silliman Lectures, Yale University, Philadelphia (1906-10-22 - 1906-11-02).
1907 Buys country estate Rittergut Rietz near Treuenbrietzen (60 km south of Berlin) for recreation, entertaining guests and hunting parties.
  Additions to the Berlin institute building (almost doubling of floor space) (March 1907 - August 1908)
  Bunsentagung in Hamburg (1907): Controversy with Fritz Haber on the ammonia equilibrium/synthesis
1909-01-09 Inauguration of the enlarged Berlin physicochemical institute. Lecture with experiments by W. Nernst.
1911 Simple liquefier for hydrogen. Z. Elektrochem. 17(17):735 - 737, 1911 (drawing); Die Umschau 15(52):1076 - 1078, 1911
  Solvay Congress in Brussels (initiated by Nernst)
1912 25th PhD anniversary, Festschrift
  Honorary member of the Bunsengesellschaft. Fellow of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences
1913 Conference on "the kinetic theory of matter and electricity" (the so-called "Gaswoche") in Göttingen (April 21 - 26) with talks of M. Planck, P. Debye, W. Nernst, M. v. Smoluchowski, A. Sommerfeld and H. A. Lorentz; supported by redirected (due to D. Hilbert) funds of the Wolfskehl foundation
  Collaboration of W. Nernst with VARTA AG on the development of fuel cells
1914-05-21 Bunsen-Denkmünze awarded in absence (lectures at La Plata, Argentina); cf. Z. Elektrochem. 20(12):357, 1914
  Honorary member university of La Plata and chemical society Buenos Aires (1914)
  Honorary doctor (Dr.-Ing. h. c.) Technische Hochschule Danzig (1914); cf. Z. Elektrochem. 20(14):470, 1914
1914 - 1918 World War I. Automobil-Korps. Signs Aufruf/Manifest An die Kulturwelt 1914-10-04. Research on chemical warfare (poison/tear gas; explosives). Eisernes Kreuz (1914), son Rudolf is killed (1914); cf. Z. Elektrochem. 20(20/21):585, 1914.  Article with a photograph of W. Nernst on horseback (Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung 1915-08-29)
1917 Member of the Order Pour le mérite, successor of Count Zeppelin; cf. Z. Elektrochem. 23(19/20): 323, 1917
  1st edition of Die theoretischen und experimentellen Grundlagen des neuen Wärmesatzes (printed 1918)
1918 Photochemical chain reaction theory
  Buys Brennerei (distillery) and Rittergut Dargersdorf (Vietmannsdorf, Uckermark, Mark Brandenburg, 7 km south of Templin) (1918 - 1919)
1920 Fellow of the Swedish Academy of Sciences, Stockholm; cf. Z. Elektrochem. 26(3/4):95, 1920
1921 Booklet Das Weltgebäude im Lichte der neueren Forschung (based on a lecture 1921-02-19)
  Rector Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universiät, Berlin (inaugural speech 1921-10-15)
1921-12-10 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for the year 1920 "in recognition of his work in thermochemistry"
1922 President Physikalisch-Technische Reichsanstalt, successor of Emil Warburg (1922 - 1924)
  Buys country estate Rittergut Oberzibelle (Zibelle, near Muskau, Oberlausitz, 160 km south-east of Berlin). Starts fish farming (breeding carp)
1923 2nd edition of Die theoretischen und experimentellen Grundlagen des neuen Wärmesatzes.
Lecture/speech Energiebilanz des Weltalls (newspaper article)
1924 Chair of physics, successor of Heinrich Rubens
1928 Benjamin Franklin Medal in Chemistry
1930 Bechstein-Siemens-Nernst Piano (Neo-Bechstein), electric/electronic piano
1932-06-02 Fellow of the Royal Society, London
1933 Emeritus, retirement (protest against Nazification of science), breeding carp, hunting at Zibelle
1941-11-18 Walther Nernst dies at his Rittergut Oberzibelle (Zibelle, near Muskau, Oberlausitz; now Niwica, Poland). Cremation in Berlin-Wilmersdorf. In 1951 his urn is transferred to the Göttingen Stadtfriedhof (municipal cemetery), and his tomb is there since that time.

post-mortem events

1950 In Hamburg-Ottensen the road Schulstraße is renamed Nernstweg.
19xx? In Leipzig-Möckern the road Warburgstraße is renamed Nernststraße.
1951-11-01 The urns of Walther Nernst and of his wife Emma (she died 1949-05-04) have been transferred from Berlin and from London, resp., to Göttingen and are buried in a simple ceremony at the Göttingen Stadtfriedhof (municipal cemetery), and a tomb is erected.
1957 A little road in a residential area in Göttingen is named Walther-Nernst-Weg.
1964-05-07 Bunsentagung in Berlin (- 1964-05-10). Festvortrag J. Eggert on W. Nernst
1964-06-27 In der Aula der Universität Göttingen Gedenkfeier der Akademie der Wissenschaften und der Deutschen Bunsen-Gesellschaft zum 100. Geburtstage von Prof. Dr. Walther Nernst.
1964-10-01 Walther-Nernst-Gedächtnissymposium at the Humboldt University, Berlin (- 1964-10-03); Walther-Nernst-Hörsaal, Bunsenstr. 1, Berlin; commemorative tablet for W. Nernst in the lecture hall
1970 A crater on the far side of the moon is named Nernst (coordinates 35.3° N / 94.8° W, diameter 116 km)
1974-09-01 In Berlin, district Neukölln, a little road (footpath) is named Nernstweg.
1983-09-13 Commemorative tablet for W. Nernst and M. Bodenstein at the physicochemical institute, Bunsenstr. 1, Berlin
1991-06-29 Commemorative tablet at Nernst's house of birth in Briesen/Wabrzezno
1991-11-18 Kolloquium aus Anlass des 50. Todestages von W. Nernst. Humboldt-Univ. Berlin, Bunsenstr. 1 (W. Nernst-Hörsaal)
1992-11-21 Commemorative tablet for W. Nernst at Zibelle/Niwica where he lived 1922 - 1941; cf. Phys. Bl. 49(3):234, 1993
1996-06-27 Centennial celebration: 100 Jahre Institut für Physikalische Chemie, Göttingen
1998-08-26 In Berlin, district Treptow/Johannisthal/Adlershof (new science campus) a little road is named Walther-Nernst-Straße.
1999-04-16 Commemorative tablet at the ARD Hauptstadtstudio, Wilhelmstr. 67a, Berlin (location of the old institute of physics)
2005-07-08 Centennial of the Nernst Heat Theorem (3rd law of thermodynamics). Colloquium in honor of W. Nernst, Humboldt-Univ. Berlin

Walther Nernst homepage


Revised 2008-11-11