Talk:Heinrich Hertz

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High traffic

On 22 February 2012, Heinrich Hertz was linked from Google, a high-traffic website. (See visitor traffic)

Jewish ancestry[edit]

Bizarre article. It ends by mentioning the Nazi revisionism and that his FATHER's family was Jewish. Yet it begins apparently mentioning his Jewish mother, although that entire paragraph jumps between family members referring to each as "him", "he" or "Hertz" making it impossible to tell which family member: "Early years Hertz was born in Hamburg, then a sovereign state of the German Confederation, into a prosperous and cultured Hanseatic family. His father, Gustav Ferdinand Hertz, was a writer and later a senator. His (Heinrich's or Gustov's?)mother was the former Anna Elisabeth Pfefferkorn (Jewish). His (?) paternal grandfather David Wolff Hertz (1757–1822), fourth son of Benjamin Wolff Hertz, moved to Hamburg in 1793 where he made his living as a jeweller. He (?) and his (?) wife Schöne Hertz (1760–1834) were buried in the former Jewish cemetery in Ottensen. Their first son Wolff Hertz (1790–1859), was chairman of the Jewish community. His (?!) brother Hertz Hertz(!-confuse us more-Who's on first?) (1797–1862) was a respected businessman. He (?) was married to Betty Oppenheim, the daughter of the banker Salomon Oppenheim, from Cologne. Hertz (!?-which one? Is this a first name or last name?) converted from Judaism to Christianity and took the name Heinrich David Hertz.[3] While studying at the Gelehrtenschule des Johanneums in Hamburg, he showed an aptitude for sciences as well as languages, learning Arabic and Sanskrit. He studied sciences and engineering in the German cities of Dresden, Munich and Berlin, where he studied under Gustav R. Kirchhoff and Hermann von Helmholtz."

Here are some sources that would prove it: 1. 2. 3. 4. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:04, 9 January 2008 (UTC)

Nobody has questioned his ancestry. But his father converted to Christianity, and I see no source saying what Heinrich's religion was, so let's don't proclaim one for him. Dicklyon (talk) 19:16, 9 January 2008 (UTC)

But we are talking only about his ethnicity. It seems that you don't understand that jewish is an ethnicity and judaism is a religion, than even if the family converted he remains jewish by race, because thats something you are been born with and can't change. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:54, 9 January 2008 (UTC)

In wikipeida, do we normally categorize people by their ancestry and ethnicity? I don't think so. Dicklyon (talk) 20:55, 9 January 2008 (UTC)

Of course we do, and i can show you plenty of examples if you want. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:06, 9 January 2008 (UTC)

Well I'm going to back off and let other editors comment on this. It seems strange to me to be applying ethnic/religious/ancestry labels to someone who didn't apply such to themselves. Dicklyon (talk) 01:46, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
3rd Opinion It's not appropriate to say he practices Judaism but he's Jewish. Elizabeth Taylor's article says she's a English American actress, however she converted to Judaism to marry Eddie Fisher, but I don't think that makes her a Jew, but she is listed in the American Jew category, but perhaps she should be in the English American Jew category to be precise.. Men and women routinely convert to Catholicism because one parent insist they can't marry outside the relition; this doesn't change the ethnicity of the person who converted from being a baptist, methodists, etc. and the same should be applied to this gentleman--Ccson (talk) 17:06, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
It seems that you have misinterpreted the question. Hertz did not convert from Judaism; his father did. And do we know anything about the ethnicity of his mother? Does a father of ex-Judaism make a jewist son? What is this ethnicity labeling about anyway? Dicklyon (talk) 17:25, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
My answer and ratonale remain the same no matter who converted. Barack Obamas mother is white and his father is Nigeria; Oboma's has gone to great lengths to say he's a christian, not a muslim, and he was raised by his mother and her family, probably in a predominantly white neighhborhood, maybe all white for those who consider him to be white. In what category would you place Obama? Ethnicity labeling is about every print or television report only asks could he be the first African-American or black president, nothing about being the 43rd white president; good queston; why are labeling Mr. Obama?--Ccson (talk) 20:42, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
I am familiar with that strange convention that any "black" ancestor makes one "black". Is it the same with "jewish"? And what other ethnicities? Source? Dicklyon (talk) 21:40, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
You asked for the ethnicity of Hertz's mother as if that missing varable would help in this disussion on Hertz (particulary if she wasn't jewish as his father certainly was). I simply gave a current example of a man's ancestry for which we know [Nigerian father and a white mother], and posed the question on how you would categorize Obama. You raised the question, I'm just curious how that information would affect this discussion. See Irving Berlin whose second wife was Irish American and how she and her children by Berlin were snubbed by society for marrying someone Jewish. The article has sources but they're not inline citations.--Ccson (talk) 00:41, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

3rd Opinion Personally I think that, depending on when he converted to Christianity, he should not be added to the Jewish category. If he was only briefly Jewish and converted fairly early on in life he probably shouldn't be added, however if he waited until he was middle aged or so I think he should be added. If he converted early on, I think instead of being added to the Jewish category I think he should be added to a category of people of Jewish decent if one exists. This subject is apparently the subject of much debate all over the Jewish community (see the article Who is a Jew?), so it is not surprising that its difficult for people to agree here. --Nn123645 (talk) 20:17, 10 January 2008 (UTC)

Pay attention. He never converted. His father and paternal grandparents converted to Christianity. And it turns out his mother was not jewish, so that pretty well clinches in from the point of view of jewish law at least. Right? Dicklyon (talk) 21:40, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
Ahh, ok. Yes, that makes sense, I agree with removing him from the category. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Nn123645 (talkcontribs) 00:41, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

All right, than if you insist for the time being i won't categorize him, buts if its fine with you i would just mention his religion change in the article. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:14, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

Suggested edit:
This subject matter is somewhat sensitive, of course; but the exchange of views in the thread above -- and the concurrent edits as this was being posted -- miss an important point. No matter how it might be re-worded, the gratuitous supplemental material about Hertz' mother doesn't fit in with the rest of the paragraph:
Heinrich Rudolf Hertz was born in Hamburg, Germany on February 22, 1857, to Gustav Ferdinand Hertz and Anna Elisabeth Pfefferkorn of Jewish orign that converted to being Catholic ....
This one-paragraph discussion of Hertz' "early years" could present the same information in three short paragraphs: (a) parents marriage, (b) further background data concerning his father, and (c) further background data concerning his mother. What's missing from this section is the "why"? Why and how were this child's parents important in the development of a man who would become world-famous? Much is understandably implied from what is revealed about Hertz' father; but the crucial point here is that much is also implied by that terse phrase having to do with his mother's religion or ethnicity .... Aha. Do you see my point?
Without more, there are implied concerns which may be trivial, but which are none-the-less likely to continue arousing close scrutiny and endless further questions. To illustrate my point, please consider this oblique example of religious conversion:
Kuki Shūzō converted to Catholicism at age 23 in 1911 (Meiji 44); and he was baptized in Tokyo as Franciscus Assisiensis Kuki Shūzō. The idealism and introspection implied by this decision were early evidence of issues which would have resonance in the characteristic mindset of the mature man.<.ref>Nara, Hiroshi. (2004). The Structure of Detachment: the Aesthetic Vision of Kuki Shūzō with a translation of "Iki no kōzō," pp. 96-97.<./ref>
The implications which follow Kuki Shūzō's religious conversion don't inspire the kind of questions which have been raised here because of something in the life of Anna Elisabeth Pfefferkorn before she became Heinrich Hertz's mother. --Ooperhoofd (talk) 16:24, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
You've lost me. But do ahead and do some edits, with sources, and I'll see. As far as I know, he mother was not of jewish ancestry, and his father's family was converted before he was born, so there's probably not a lot that needs to be said. Dicklyon (talk) 16:40, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

Perhaps one of our more interested editors was mistaken to ask my opinion, but here it is anyway. Seems to me, the precedents of Felix Mendelsohn and Benjamin Disraeli apply, despite differences in details of sectarian and ethnic affiliation. Analogies to 20th century figures are less relevant. The present bio subject was Jewish by paternal ancestry, Catholic by upbringing, and whatever his opinions on religious questions may have been, they are not why people in later centuries are interested in him. The text should mention both his ethnic and his religious affiliation very briefly, and he should be included in the relevant sectarian and ethnic scientist categories. If we're voting, then that's my vote, but I don't have a lot more to say about the matter. Jim.henderson (talk) 16:53, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

The German article, shorter anyway, does not mention any Jewish aspect. Besides, the web pages given at the top here pretty much reference each other. One is taken from an older version of en-Wiki itself, the page at is surely a private user page, yet uses it as a reference. Folks, please respect WP:V and WP:RS, use proper sources, biographies written by historians, starting e.g. with recent Google Books [1] or Scholar [2] After 1933, the Nazis tried to get rid of many kinds of people, communists and social democrats being the first targets. One strategy was to simply call somebody Jewish, and Gustav Ludwig Hertz was ousted this way, despite colleagues voicing their opinion, see e.g. Physics and National Socialism: An Anthology of Primary Sources, By Klaus Hentschel [3] The Who's Who in Jewish History, By Joan Comay [4] barely mentions Heinrich, only repeating the Gustav L. H. case. So, mention one or two sentences that can be properly sourced, but don't copy speculations from dubious web pages, where anybody can write anything.

These seem to be reputable recent sources:

  • Heinrich Hertz: Eine Biographie, By Albrecht Fölsing, Published 1997, Hoffmann und Campe, 605 pages, ISBN 3455112129 [5]
  • Heinrich Hertz: Classical Physicist, Modern Philosopher, By Davis Baird, R. I. G. Hughes, Alfred Nordmann, Published 1998, Springer Verlag, 336 pages, ISBN 079234653X [6]
  • The Creation of Scientific Effects: Heinrich Hertz and Electric Waves, By Jed Z. Buchwald, Published 1994 University of Chicago, 496 pages, ISBN 0226078876 [7]

-- Matthead  DisOuß   17:08, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

I say yes to the suggested edit, so for the time being i will keep on looking for different sources to prove the point, that despite the comment above his father was jewish and his mother was not, but about the nazis removing his portrait in hamburg he had nothing to do with communism or socalism, and the october Bolshevic revolution was 24 years after he died, so it was only because of his backround. User:zivb2007 —Preceding comment was added at 17:38, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

Further to Suggested edit: The "Legacy" section was modified slightly to include a new sub-heading for "Nazi revisionism." Any controversy about Hertz' parents is appropriately discussed in this setting. In my view, the text which seemed out-of-place in earlier versions. Nothing has been deleted, but context makes all the difference.
This information about the role of religion in the lives of Hertz's parents -- without anything more to establish create a clear context -- can only be construed as intrusive and unwelcome POV; but the same set of disparaged facts become valid when the text can be reviewed in a relevant perspective. If this doesn't make sense, please let me try to explain again using different words. I hope this re-working of the text somehow manages to garner general agreement so that this thread can close. --Ooperhoofd (talk) 21:24, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
That looks sensible to me; it says it all plainly in a reasonable context, and clarifies why the article does not belong in the "jewish" categories. Dicklyon (talk) 22:28, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
looks good to me ... reasonable context. The heading is subheading is alil redundant ... could be incorporated into death and afterwards ... but it's ok that I am not gonna change it now... J. D. Redding 04:14, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

I think we should mention his parents's backround in "early years" and the remove of the portrait in "nazi revisionism".What do you people say? talk —Preceding unsigned comment added by Zivb2007 (talkcontribs) 00:23, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

What about sub-categories of Jews? Orthodox, Conservative, Jews who converted, etc? RMFan1 (talk) 16:58, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

Neither, as he was not of Jewish faith. In general, folks, please use only well-sourced statements about Hertz himself. What others did decades later is of low importance. Too much speculation going on here.-- Matthead  DisOuß   17:15, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

Excuse me, but this ain't far away from dumb or childish (depending on the way the claimant admits their age). How about writing which salad he prefered, or the circumference for his waist? I'm sure such information would help for a true fanship of Hertz's, such as a separate wiki site or a H. Hertz forum. I really appreciate the fact that Jews look after Jews with so much care, and that a bunch of encyclopedic sites about Jews around the world exist, but this is way too much for a general article. Wikipedia is not the right place to write any statement just because it was already stated somewhere else. (Impy4ever (talk) 22:13, 13 January 2008 (UTC))

It's not clear whose suggestion you are intending to berate here, but I pretty much agree anyway. We typically get two kinds of people wanting to label someone as Jewish: pro-Jewish people who want to make sure that Jews get credit for something, and anti-Jewish people who want to label someone to disparage them. We need to not support either of these, but stick to reporting significant facts. Since Hertz's Jewish ancestry became a significant fact in his and his family's history in Germany, it's worth a neutral mention; but not much more; it certainly doesn't put him into a Jewish category. Dicklyon (talk) 22:26, 13 January 2008 (UTC)
The article by McCormack in the authoritative professional reference Dictionary of Scientific Biography (v.6, p.340) . has the following first paragraph "Hertz was born into a prosperous and cultured Hanseatic family. His father, Gustav F. Hertz, was a barrister and later a senator: His mother was the former Anna Elisabeth Pfefferkorn. He had three younger brothers and one younger sister. Hertz was Lutheran, although his father’s family was Jewish (Philipp Lenard, Hertz’s first and only assistant and afterward a fervent Nazi, conceded that one of Germany’s great men of science had “Jewish blood”). " DGG (talk) 00:53, 25 January 2008 (UTC)

Have a look turkish talk art From English article "In 1892, an infection was diagnosed (after a bout of severe migraines) and Hertz underwent some operations to correct the illness. He died of Wegener's granulomatosis at the age of 36 in Bonn, Germany in 1894, and was buried in Ohlsdorf, Hamburg at the Jewish cemetery.[6]

Hertz's wife, Elizabeth Hertz (maiden name: Elizabeth Doll), did not remarry. Heinrich Hertz left two daughters, Joanna and Mathilde. Subsequently, all three women left Germany in the 1930s and went to England, after the rise of Adolf Hitler. Charles Susskind interviewed Mathilde Hertz in the 1960s and he later published a book on Heinrich Hertz. Heinrich Hertz's daughters never married and he does not have any descendants, according to the book by Susskind."

22.02.2012 Google's doodle is Rudolf Hertz as google did before, most of the doodle character's root is Jewish. Did you also notice that ? Why google do that ,Albert Einstein and others(showmen,artist etc.). Some people pay for that to google or google do that for what? I really wonder. why? As if there is a deep operation.' Davutgurbuz 08:57, 22 Şubat 2012 (UTC)

You discuss Hertz Jewish family background which seems to be correctly described, although I am not yet sure who in the family converted to a Christian faith. Father? Son? Or maybe a grandfather? However there is another serious mistake in the presentation: It says that Hertz was Lutheran which would be normal for someone from a Hanseatic family. Why do you write that his father converted to Catholicism? What is the source? This makes no sense at all. It implies three religions in the family: Father Catholic with a Jewish history and son Lutheran - as the majority in Hamburg. This would be extremely unusual. My guess is that the father might have converted to Protestantism (that is he became Lutheran) rather than to Catholicism in order to have the same religion as his wife and bring up the children with a common faith. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:40, 22 February 2012 (UTC)

Heinrich Hertz's parents were Gustav Ferdinand Hertz and Anna Elisabeth Pfefferkorn. Gustav Hertz was a Jew who converted to become a Lutheran. Also is his Mother jewish, the Name Pfefferkorn is definitely a jewish Surname! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:05, 2 February 2013 (UTC)

This must be said. In Fact. Jews stays Jews. Whatever the Religion is. Heinrich Hertz came from jewish People and this is the Point. And also many others, Albert Einstein, Paul Ehrlich and many more! The Germans think since World War II. All inteligent Jews were German. But this is wrong. Since World War II no more! Germans killed Jews in WW2. Over 8 Million in Europe. Over 6 Million is fact and over 2 Milion are missing. Also was the german Martin Luther (1483 – 1546) a Jews Hater. He wrote Books like "On the Jews and Their Lies".

Unless someone intend to scream loudly I will try to remove the links to his Jewish heritage. The way the text reads at the moment it seems like pro-jews try fishing for anything resembling a Jew among successful individuals. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:34, 25 March 2015 (UTC)

He was a ethnic Jew and not a ethnic German, that is Fact! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:03, 25 March 2015 (UTC)
I see no justification for removing any references to Hertz's ethnicity or heritage. The comments above (especially those regarding the supposed "fishing" motivation) do nothing to inspire any such edit. Hertz's roots, and the treatment of his portrait, are very much part of his story, and should stay in the article. I strongly oppose the proposed removal. Hertz1888 (talk) 03:28, 26 March 2015 (UTC)

"Had been dead for 26 years"?[edit]

Hey, I'm either missing something or there's a mistake in the Nazi revisionism section - the Nazis didn't came into power until 1933 by which time Hertz would have been dead for well over 30 years. Bonteburg (talk) 11:54, 6 March 2009 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Bonteburg (talkcontribs) 11:52, 6 March 2009 (UTC)

The reference is to a picture in the town hall in Hamburg which was removed by the Nazis. It was unfortunately very common that they investigated the background of historically important persons and then censored all people that were identified as being Jewish according to the Nazi definition. That included people that were no longer alive, but could be some sort of role model. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:44, 22 February 2012 (UTC)

That makes no sense. Why were there 60,000 Jewish Nazis then? (talk) 07:39, 20 April 2015 (UTC)

Different interpretation of Hertz's experiment[edit]

I have not found any work critical to Hertz's work. It seems to me that Hertz was under the influence of Maxwell's theory and purposefully interpreted his experiments to fit, and give false support, to Maxwell's theory. If the editor of Wikipedia's article on Heinrich Hertz deems useful, I would invite him to read this article ( ) in which it is shown that Hertz was not correct to claim that he detected the electric and the magnetic components of the radio wave produced in his experiments - and include a reference to this in the Wikipedia article. The main point is: Hertz detected only magnetic waves through electromagnetic induction occurring in his circular wire detector and no reason can be given for believing that he was detecting any electric wave. The main argument is: Hertz held his detector vertically at all times but used a double standard when interpreting the cause of the sparks at the gap of his detector: on one hand he used electromagnetic induction (for the magnetic component, dotted wave in his diagram), but on the other hand claimed electric field (for the electric component, full line in his diagram). Hertz's fallacy is: when you hold the detector vertically, in both situations you get electromagnetic induction no matter how you orient the gap of the detector - in that position the effect of electromagnetic induction is maximum (Hertz himself said the magnetic field lines are perpendicular to the plane of the detector in the vertical position he used in his experiments). Please excuse me if this discussion was not allowed here, I only thought this might be relevant. (Idnwiki (talk) 16:59, 12 November 2015 (UTC)Ionel DINUIdnwiki (talk) 16:59, 12 November 2015 (UTC)

Thank you for bringing these intriguing questions here. Regardless of the merits of the arguments presented, Wikipedia policy prohibits including original research in articles; please see WP:NOR. Self-published work, as yours appears to be, is not regarded as being reliably sourced. For it to be considered for inclusion in the article, it would first have to be published in a third-party source, per WP:RS. Hertz1888 (talk) 21:57, 12 November 2015 (UTC)
And publications by a single researcher alone are not enough. It would also have to be mentioned by a WP:secondary source, such as a survey article or a textbook, see WP:PSTS. --ChetvornoTALK 22:54, 12 November 2015 (UTC)

Health problems[edit]

I'm surprised the article does not mention his grave health problems regarding his jaw. He suffered from some sort of bone malignant condition that gave him excruciating pain all his life. Had al his teeth removed to no avail. You can notice this in his pictures: his jaw doesn't look right if you look closely.

This link comments more on his health:

I don't think this caused his death though as Granulomatosis mentioned as cause of death seems to be unrelated but I am not an expert. I just think that Hertz' health problems should be better discussed in the main article. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Robertoff (talkcontribs) 01:56, 13 February 2016 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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