Physics in Perspective

, Volume 9, Issue 2, pp 186–211 | Cite as

Paul Ehrenfest’s Rough Road to Leiden: A Physicist’s Search for a Position, 1904–1912

  • Pim HuijnenEmail author
  • A. J. Kox
Open Access

Paul Ehrenfest (1880–1933) received his Ph.D. degree at the University of Vienna in 1904 and moved with his wife and young daughter to St. Petersburg in 1907, where he remained until he succeeded Hendrik Antoon Lorentz (1853–1928) in the chair of theoretical physics at the University of Leiden in 1912. Drawing upon Ehrenfest’s correspondence of the period, we first examine Ehrenfest’s difficult and insecure years in St. Petersburg and then discuss his unsuccessful attempts to obtain a position elsewhere before he was appointed as Lorentz’s successor in Leiden.


Paul Ehrenfest Tatyana Alexeyevna Afanassjewa Ehrenfest Hugo Ehrenfest Ludwig Boltzmann Theodor Des Coudres Peter Debye Albert Einstein Gustav Herglotz Abram Fedorovitch Joffe Felix Klein Hendrik Antoon Lorentz Max Planck Arnold Sommerfeld University of Vienna University of St. Petersburg University of Leiden anti-Semitism quantum theory statistical mechanics 

Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag, Basel 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of HistoryUniversity of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Institute for Theoretical PhysicsUniversity of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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