Talk:Deutsche Physik

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'war-winning atomic bomb' I'm not wild about, but I'm not sure how best to edit it. Is the intended sense that it could have changed the outcome of the war (if developed by the Axis); or that it terminated the war, at the time it did? Alai 06:57, 17 Feb 2005 (UTC)

The latter, but it's not essential. --Fastfission 13:37, 17 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Loanword or not?[edit]

My addition of Category:German loanwords to this article was recently rejected, on the grounds that the phrase is simply a German phrase that is sometimes used in English. I would argue that that's exactly what a loan word is. I was using the criterion that as long as it could be used in an English sentence without qualification (e.g. "Deutsche Physik, as the Germans called it"), then it is a loan word (or phrase). Would anyone care to disagree? I accept that it's not the sort of thing one first thinks of when considering loan words, but I believe it still counts. At least, there's no point in removing it from the category, when that could be useful for somebody. --Stemonitis 16:19, 26 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I disagree because I don't think that's what a loanword is at all. First of all, Deutsche Physik is the name of a particular historical movement. It has one meaning. It is not generalizable. Merriam-Webster's definition of "loanword" is worth consulting:
a word taken from another language and at least partly naturalized
It's the latter part which distinguishes a loanword from just any word used from another language. Deutsche Physik is not a loanword under any practical definition, and the way it is written is evidence of this enough: usually in italics, always with the capital P used in German nouns. It has not been even partly naturalized, much less anywhere close to the degree usually exhibited by loanwords; it is distinguished for its foreignness. If this is a loanword, then any German word is a loanword. I think that's a bit nonsensical. (And considering the fact that this entire entry is about concerns over "classification," I think it matters to try and make it sensible!) Loanwords are words which are used as regular parts of the language which are taken directly from another language. Angst is a great example: it has its own meaning in English, to the point that most people are not aware it is actually a German word. Auf wiedersehen is not a loanword -- it is simply German. --Fastfission 22:31, 26 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Despite that fair and lucid argument, I would still like to apply the category. I freely admit that it's not a great example of a loan word, but it still belongs in a category where people can find words that have come into English from German. My point is that we don't talk about "Aryan physics" or "Jewish physics", we talk about "Deutsche Physik", and that it is therefore, at least in some sense, a loan phrase. (The capital P doesn't sway it for me: we maintain foreign aspects of other loan words that would not normally occur in English - e.g. accents in rôle, façade, irregular plurals such as bureaux, genera - and this is no different.) I fear that we could end up splitting hairs about degrees of naturalisation. The first step will always be the use of a foreign phrase, then it will become more familiar, and eventually it will not be considered at all foreign. "Deutsche Physik" is on a lower rung of the naturalisation ladder than, say, "angst" or "poltergeist", but it's the same ladder.
I might add a notice to the category, stating that it contains not only true loan words but also German words that are commonly used in English. Would that be more satisfactory? --Stemonitis 08:03, 27 Apr 2005 (UTC)
I think miscategorizing it is not useful, and I'm not sure who would really benefit from this. I'm not sure who the "we" is who talk about Deutsche Physik -- historians talk about it but historians are usually comfortable with a number of languages (no naturalization). "Jewish physics" gets many more google hits than an English-only search for "Deutsche Physik". Which isn't authoratative (both have very low sample sizes, and the amount of overlap is likely very high). I think if one put a note on the loanwords page that "This page is for loanwords and other German phrases used in English writing" that would be fine though. Anyway I'm not going to really argue about it any more, I don't really think it matters that much either way. If it pleases you, feel free to do it, I've got no real reason to be snitty about it (it doesn't help me or anybody else!). --Fastfission 00:36, 28 Apr 2005 (UTC)
I'm going to remove that category; it really isn't a loanword.--ragesoss 06:30, 25 January 2006 (UTC)


The origins section of this article (and National Socialism) seems to conflate special and general relativty, speaking only of one Relativity and talking about rejections of Michelson-Morely and Eddington's observations as if they applied to the same theory.--ragesoss 06:30, 25 January 2006 (UTC)

I'm fairly sure the anti-Einsteinians rejected both of them together; the real steam against Einstein didn't begin until the 1920s, after he had formulated both of them. I'm also fairly sure that they wrote about them in the same manner. --Fastfission 18:09, 25 January 2006 (UTC)
Thanks. I thought there might have been an issue like that, or I would have just changed it. Maybe the article should mention something about that.--ragesoss 20:52, 25 January 2006 (UTC)

-- 02:05, 18 March 2007 (UTC) This article contains no intresting information. shouldent it outline the basic theroys of this "nazi physics"? i would love to learn more about this.

As the article says it was an essentially negative theory. It defined itself by what it was not more than it actually said what it was, which was basically just classical mechanics with classical ether theories. -- 13:15, 8 October 2007 (UTC)

"Maxwell's Luminiferous aether"[edit]

Changed the sentence to read: "Many of these classical physicists resented Einstein's dismissal of the notion of a luminiferous aether, which had been a mainstay of their work for the majority of their productive lives."Biggus Dictus 20:16, 5 May 2007 (UTC)

The Legitimate and the Bizarre[edit]

The article conflates two very different phenomena and thus is at risk of conveying an inaccurate understanding of how science advances. Thus, we have the text entry:

During the early years of the twentieth century, Albert Einstein's Theory of Relativity was met with much bitter controversy within the physics communities of the world. There were many physicists, especially the "old guard," who were suspicious of the intuitive meanings of Einstein's theories.

This entry is presented in a context which could lead readers to regard challenges to A Einstein's notions as somehow improper. In fact, it is the normal business of science to subject big, new ideas to vigorous challenges (on an intellectual level, of course).

Scientists are frequently ambitious and even brilliant scientists may be poor human beings. Whereas it is not unusual for a scientist to take personal offense at the success of a a competing theory and to even to seek to undermine a competitor's position and funding, the recourse of a racially motivated political movement seems to me unprecedented. I'd almost be tempted to laugh, except for the good people who were hurt in the process.

In this context, I'd like to invite contributors to reconsider the formulation, and to distinguish between hard, even aggressive, intellectual competition, from the aberration of the Deutsche Physik Movement. --Philopedia (talk) 11:44, 28 July 2008 (UTC)


The current article doesn't have many dates in it. For example, when was it that Himmler forbade criticism of Heisenberg? It is my impression that Lenard & Stark were active "anti-relativists" already in 1920 (see de:Kritik an der Relativitätstheorie) and that this contributed to Stark's losing his professorship at RWTH Aachen in 1922. If this is correct, then the nazi era (1933-) is a failed come-back for the German physics, and not its glory days. When was the term coined? --LA2 (talk) 12:20, 4 August 2008 (UTC)


The following text seems badly written. Can somebody rewrite it to improve clarity?

Probably because this old European university calls itself "Catholic", in contemporary war propaganda it was not only quickly asserted that this had been done on purpose,[who?] but in addition that German soldiers had nailed nuns to the doors of Belgian churches and, moreover, that they had chopped off the arms of little children

--Aravn (talk) 10:13, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

Jewish Nobel Prize winners[edit]

I don't want to suggest that there is such a thing as Jewish science or Aryan science, but many Jews themselves have spoken proudly about the number of their fellow Jews who have won the Nobel prize, especially in some of the more theoretical fields like physics. Maybe there should be a note on this somewhere in a given entry that would mention Jewish academic contributions to modern scientific culture and scientific research. ADM (talk) 17:29, 26 July 2009 (UTC)

Clear separation[edit]

I agree with LA2! More dates please!

And this article needs a clear separation of events before and after the "Machtergreifung" that is the beginning of Nazi rule in 1933. A statements like:

"By this time, the early 1930s, there were no longer any Jewish physicist professorships in Germany, since under the Nuremberg Laws Jews were not allowed to work in universities."

contradicts itself since the Nuremberg laws were only passed in 1935. Before 1933 there were plenty of jewish professors. Its not like nazi rule was introduced gradually. Until 1933 there was a power struggle between moderates/democrats, communists, nazis and monarchists/nationalists. The appointment of Hitler as Chancellor by the senile nationalist President Hindenburg was a caesura since before that the monarchist-nationalist elite had abhorred the nazis and their "world-war private first class" Hitler.--Hisredrighthand (talk) 11:00, 27 September 2009 (UTC)

What is the source for the Chomsky quote? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:36, 17 May 2010 (UTC)

Problems with the article scope[edit]

It is unclear what the burning of the library in France has to do with framing Jewish scientists (there are articles linking here per Jewish Physics), or how this relates to English vocabulary or translations. There is no question that there were nationalists motives to advance German language or scientists, but it is all very vague how widespread this was. Probably related to directives from some propaganda department, but this is all mixed up here in the article. prokaryotes (talk) 05:38, 13 August 2015 (UTC)