November 16, 1927
I hope you are enjoying yourself in Ann Arbor, and that you like America. It
is too bad that we didn’t meet in New York. Did you get the note we left for you in
the Prince George Hotel?
We are nicely settled here. I am teaching a class in quantum mechanics, two lectures
a week. That is all I have to do, except that I direct the experimental research of
four men. I have been kept busy, though, and as yet I haven’t got around to the bismuth
You remember that in Copenhagen you spoke to me, saying that you would like to
publish your thesis in English. Have you made arrangements to do so? If not, perhaps
you would be interested in a proposal I shall make you. I am writing an elementary
discussion of spectra for a book (a textbook covering many subjects), and I have found
your thesis very clear and satisfactory. I should like to translate it, if you will
consent. Then if you would suggest additions, I should like to rewrite it and expand
it to about twice the size, always avoiding complicated mathematics and retaining
a clear and elementary presentation. Professor Noyes has assured me that it will be
accepted by a publisher, to appear in book form as a monograph of the American Chemical
Society (which has published Foote and Mohler’s book, for example). They pay good
royalties and the books sell well. On the other hand, it might be that the book could
be got out by some other publisher in textbook form, and perhaps it would be adopted
It is proposed that the book be more lucid than Hund’s book. In particular it
is desirable that it be self sufficient, so that those unfamiliar with the subject
can work through it and not have to refer to earlier works. The book in English should
be much in demand.
If you have already made other arrangements, I shall look forward to seeing the
thesis in English. If you feel that I can not contribute enough by rewriting and expanding
the thesis to merit being a collaborator, then perhaps I could merely put the thesis
directly into English and appear as the translator. I am sure that we understand each
other, and that we can adjust everything and remain on friendly terms, so write frankly
Would you tell me something of your work? Could you get away in the Spring for
a couple of weeks or a month, or next summer, maybe? Possibly it would be desirable
for you to come here for a while- I don’t know whether it could be arranged or not.
Give my best regards to Uhlenbeck, Dennison, and Laporte. My wife greets you,
and we both send our best wishes to your wife.