STERN, Otto (1888-1969). Collection of 37 offprints, comprising the 30 papers that make up the series Untersuchungen zur Molekularstrahlmethode, published in the Zeitschrift für Physik between 1926-33; 6 earlier papers (3 in collaboration with Walther Gerlach) published in the Zeitschrift für Physik (1920-22); and one paper (with W. Gerlach) published in the Annalen der Physik (1924). V.p., v.d.
8o. Bound in single half cloth volume, by Baer & Weiss, Pittsburgh (extremities and corners worn, otherwise fine). Provenance: Immanuel Estermann, Stern's biographer (in the D.S.B.) and closest associate, who collaborated with Stern from 1921-45 and succeeded him as professor of physics at the Carnegie Institute of Technology (pencil signature on the front free endpaper, and his signature or stamp on many of the offprints).
FIRST SEPARATE EDITIONS. Stern, whom the Nobel laureate and historian of physics, Emilio Segrè considered "one of the major physicists of the century" (p. 138), developed Dunoyer's molecular beam method and used it to demonstrate (1) the reality of space quantization and the magnetic moment of the silver atom (the Stern-Gerlach experiment); (2) the wave nature of particles, postulated by Louis de Broglie in 1924; and (3) the magnetic moment of the proton and deuteron, which gained Stern the Nobel Prize in 1943. The present collection contains the 30 papers that make up the Untersuchungen zur Molekularstrahmethode (Researches in molecular beam method), published from Stern's molecular-beam research laboratory in Hamburg between 1926-33; of these papers, 2 are by Stern alone (nos. 1 & 5) and 12 are by Stern with various collaborators, including Estermann (nos. 15, 18, 27, 28, 29) and Otto Frisch, the co-discoverer of nuclear fission (nos. 18, 23, 24); Frisch also contributed 2 papers of his own (nos. 25, 30) and collaborated with Emilio Segrè on another (no. 22). Also included in the series is I. I. Rabi's famous paper on the Rabi field (no. 12). Papers 24 and 27, "Ueber die magnetische Ablenkung von Wasserstoffmolekülen und das magnetische Moment des Protons," contain Stern's determination of the magnetic moment of the proton to an accuracy of about 10 Stern found, much to everyone's surprise, that the magnetic moment of the proton was 2-3 times larger than had been predicted by theoreticians, providing one of the first indications of the complicated nature of the proton.
The 7 earlier papers include all 5 of Stern's papers describing the Stern-Gerlach experiment (4 written in collaboration with Gerlach), an important piece of research that helped to confirm Bohr's theory of the atom. The 2 remaining papers describe Stern's experiment on the direct measurement of the distribution of molecular velocities in a gas, which provided the first experimental confirmation of James Clerk Maxwell's mid-19th century predictions. All of the papers in this volume are rare, and this collection is probably unique, as Estermann was in an unparalleled position to obtain such offprints when they were generated, and the dismantling of Stern's laboratory after the Nazis came to power in 1933 would hardly be conducive to the preservation of old offprints. It is possible that this collection was kept by or given to Stern, as it was found in Berkeley, where he spent the last years of his life. See Estermann, "Molecular beam research in Hamburg, 1922-1933," Recent research in molecular beams (1959) for a bibliography of the Untersuchungen zur Molekularstrahlmethode. D.S.B. Segrè, X-rays to quarks, pp. 137-38; 195. (37)