Talk:Peter Debye

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Investigations into Debye[edit]

ALERT: Debye had some nazi preferences. Read http://www.observant.unimaas.nl/jrg26/obs19/index.htm (Dutch)

A Yahoo! news article says the same. Someone more knowledgeable on Mr. Debye needs to update the page.Yahoo! News article Calicore 03:40, 4 March 2006 (UTC)

Ongoing Dutch scientific historical resarch by Sybe Rispens came up with quite some bad results. It seems that Albert Einstein issued some warnings against Debyes character, when Debye was moving to the US in 1940.

removed one edit with material from unreferenced source, makes the statement that the letter was not written by but only in his name. A reference or source should be included V8rik 18:23, 2 March 2006 (UTC)

exclamation mark[edit]

Hi Micha,

Thanks for correcting the quote in the Debye article but according to my source the quote ends with an exclamation mark and I think that is relevant. What should we do? V8rik 16:40, 9 March 2006 (UTC)

  • I was more concerned with "Neurenberg" instead of "Nuremburg", which I think is wrong. I don't know about the exclamation mark. I guess it should be an exclamation mark, based on the typical usage of this Nazi slogan. Ugh. Micha 19:32, 15 March 2006 (UTC)

Neutrality[edit]

I feel it is premature to include the allegations of Sybe Rispens. Every body is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty in a court of justice. And this hold for Debye as well. So until the allegations of Rispens are cnfirmed by independent invstigators it is premature to include that in an encyclopedia

  • nobody is proven guilty of anything, the current article gives a time line of events taking place in 2006, complete with rebuttal from his son, the authenticity is confirmed by NOID as stated in the article see also press releases. suggest mediation V8rik 21:20, 10 March 2006 (UTC)
  • I agree with V8rik, the article does not derogate Debye as a Nazi, it gives an overview about the current events together with the actions taken b/c of the accusations. Micha 19:37, 15 March 2006 (UTC)

M. and V. on this site or this DPG-site you find more information about that letter!

War years[edit]

I can only repeat what I have said before and that is: This section does not belong in an encyclopedia. What this is about is a recent controversy, and the issue has not been settled, not in a long stretch. What is happened is that this section now represent the major portion of this article; the description of Debye's life and scientific contributions has been marginalized. I have just added a reference to a recent news article in Science that further clarifies the controversial character of all of this. I urge people to come to their senses, and reduce this section to a single sentence saying something like "recently there has been a controversy about Debye's role during the war", giving only one single reference to the Science article I just added. For the rest I would suggest to move that section to the talk page instead JdH 12:32, 13 July 2006 (UTC)

Allegations or facts?[edit]

It is said that

..Because of this letter and perhaps due to long standing professional competition, Albert Einstein actively tried to prevent Debye from being appointed in the United States.[2]

The only reference is to Sybe Rispens' work. Elsewhere I see that the factuality of this rather hotly contested. If there is no direct proof for this it really has no place in an encyclopedia. At most it can be said that this is Rispens' allegation.

Either: add real proof that Einstein has actually done this or say it is merely an allegation.

Jcwf 19:39, 19 December 2006 (UTC)

Thanks Jcwf for your edit and your comment on this page. I do think the content should stay as it is and let me try to convice you by explaining what I think the facts are:

  • fact: in 2006 Rispens published a book making exploring Debyes war years
  • fact: nobody thus far challenged the authenticity of the documents uncovered
  • fact: as a result in 2006 many news media cover Debyes war years commenting on the publication
  • fact: in 2006 two Dutch institutions associated with Debye announce they consider a name change
  • fact: employees of one of these institutions are muzzled when the speak out in defence of Debye
  • fact: in 2006 at least 4 scholars speak up in defence of Debye, including his own son

Not a fact and therefore not included in the article as a fact: Debye had Nazi sympathies.

I hope this clears things up V8rik 20:24, 19 December 2006 (UTC)

New photo[edit]

I can't remember what Debye's picture looked like before, but the current one is really pixellated. Can someone decrease the size of it? I tried to but adding "|100px" to the infobox didn't do anything. Tocharianne 00:36, 3 January 2007 (UTC)

Rumford Medal[edit]

According to the article Rumford Medal and other various sources on the internet, Peter Debye obtained the Rumford Medal in 1930 but it doesn't seem to appear in the article... Amhantar 19:06, 28 August 2007 (UTC)

restored material, deleted by user 12.77.44.158[edit]

It is unacceptable to just delete material this way. the NRC article is a valid source and is an article about the report. The Volkskrant on the other hand just published an open letter. In many articles in wikipedia these sort of publications are not considered valid. User 12.77.44.158 is obviously biased and feeling in a position to defend Debye. I am not going to criticize that but it should be remembered that the article is not a fan page, it represents the facts. On the other hand if user 12.77.44.158 is connected to Debye in any professional way then it would a decent that this user would make himself or herself known. Thanks V8rik (talk) 18:11, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

Early life[edit]

"he became director of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute of Physics (named then the Max-Planck-Institut)": probably this not what the author of these lines intended, because what he/she wrote means that the institute is currently called Kaiser Wilhelm Institute, and in 1934 it was called Max Planck Institute. However, the reverse is true. In 1934 the name was Kaiser Wilhelm Institute. What are currently called Max Planck Institutes can be considered successors of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute; see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Max_Planck_Society. Somebody should correct this. Thanks Mateat (talkcontribs) 20:15, 31 January 2008 (UTC)

Field[edit]

How was his field chemistry and how was he a physical chemist? This point is misleading. He was a physicist by training and like many other physicists of the time he applied the then-current ideas to the problems of chemistry, but not just chemistry though. 71.103.51.35 (talk) 06:28, 28 February 2008 (UTC)Ur

Between his arrival at Cornell, in 1940, and his death, in 1966, he was a professor in the Chemistry Department at Cornell. His work, which centered on physical properties of polymer molecules, was considered to be chemistry research. His Nobel Prize was in chemistry.Davost (talk) 16:24, 16 March 2009 (UTC)

Focus[edit]

I suggest that the article has lost focus: it is supposed to be about the man, it is not supposed to focus on debates that began long after his death. A better place for the content, separate from this article should be found, and linked to. Just because an aspect of his life might be 'controversial', doesn't mean that it deserves the overwhelming focus of the article. —DIV (128.250.80.15 (talk) 06:36, 29 March 2008 (UTC))

  • disagree, this page is his biography page and the war years controversy is part of it. btw please consider getting a user account, it is encouraged in wikipedia. V8rik (talk) 20:38, 29 March 2008 (UTC)
  • AGREE. The above "disagree" comment is completely incorrect. This is an encyclopedia article. For a topic to be "encyclopedic", it has to be of some significance. The reason why there is an article on Debye is that he was one of the most important and prolific physicists of the twentieth century. In fact, the meager account of his work in this article scarcely scratches the surface of his importance. On the other hand - as the article itself eloquently proves - his contribution to the furtherance of Nazism was somewhere on the scale between minuscule and non-existent. It is therefore sufficiently irrelevant to be non-encyclopedic. By the way, although I know that actual knowledge of a subject is frowned upon among Wikipedians, I would make the point that anyone who knew Peter Debye would laugh out loud at the suggestion that he was a Nazi. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 86.134.135.3 (talk) 10:16, 7 July 2012 (UTC)
    • Comment: the topic Debye is "encyclopedic" because of his contributions to science. The "controversy" is within the scope of the topic Debye and therefore perfectly acceptable. Please consult the Wikipedia guidelines. V8rik (talk) 20:15, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
  • agree: for a man of such broad influence spanning diverse disciplines, spending almost three times as much space discussing scant evidence whether the Thought Police should purge his name from streets and Institutes seems an ironic repeat of the times he endured. Adding instead a link to this controversy would restore the page's proper emphasis on his achievements. 75.150.116.129 (talk) 18:28, 5 October 2010 (UTC)DBC

Final resting place[edit]

I've just now readded a sentence in a footnote regarding Debye's final resting place. The original sentence was deleted as being unverified. Other than the fact that I've visited Debye's gravesite a few times over the past 20 years, I'm not sure how one should independently verify such a thing. Wikipedia has many gravesites listed in many places (e.g., Rock Creek Cemetery) and listing Debye's is certainly not unusual. -- Incidentally, Thomas Gold, the cosmologist, is buried near Debye. - Astrochemist (talk) 14:16, 18 October 2008 (UTC)

Odd Phrase[edit]

The odd phrase "just 30 km away" has appeared. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 81.148.105.41 (talk) 12:35, 7 September 2011 (UTC)

It might be the distance from Maastricht to Aachen. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 81.148.77.173 (talk) 12:44, 7 September 2011 (UTC)

Excessive details on controversy section[edit]

Please, this is an article on Peter Debye, not Sybe Rispens. Large part of Rispens' accusations have been refuted, so it is absurd to concentrate so much on something that is likely untrue, and completely wrong according to Wiki guideline WP:UNDUE. While the controversy should be noted, this is excessive and made the article completely unbalanced. Someone please trim that section. Hzh (talk) 16:10, 6 November 2013 (UTC)