im Regal

»[…] lange trug er auch ein dickes Buch über Gravitation mit sich, dass er, solange er es las, gar nicht aus den Händen legen wollte. […]«

St. B. erinnert sich (email vom 4. Juli 2017)

Anlaß für dieses Zitat ist M. B.s Hinweis auf einen Artikel im Feuilleton der FAZ vom 8. Dezember 2017: “Avantgardist der Geometrie” (Autor ungenannt, siehe nachfolgendes Zitat).

Morgen, Sonntag, am 10 Dezember, am Internationalen Tag der Allgemeinen Erklärung der Menschenrechte, wird einem der drei Autoren von “Gravitation, Kip Thorne, der Nobelpreis für Physik verliehen.


»An „Gravitation“ von Thorne, John Archibald Wheeler und Charles W. Misner ist so ziemlich alles erstaunlich. Der Umfang von fast 1300 Seiten, das Gewicht von mehr als drei Kilo und der märchenhafte Erfolg. Dabei handelt es sich bei dem „big black book“ oder „the phone book“, wie es unter Studenten auch genannt wird, eigentlich um ein akademisches Lehrwerk, einen mit mathematischem Formelwerk gespickten Fortgeschrittenenkurs in einer der anspruchsvollsten Teildisziplinen der theoretischen Physik: der von Albert Einstein entwickelten modernen Theorie der Schwerkraft, einem Feld obendrein, das bis vor kurzem noch im Ruf besonderer Anwendungsferne stand.«

Beiden “Kontributanten”, Freunden, mein Dank.

One Leather Briefcase, One Dusty Carton

Leather Briefcase

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This briefcase probably was a farewell gift when Dorl moved away from BC, Canada, to spend part of the year of 1970 at Austria. The written material is childish and playful, but in short time at the Höhere Schule he established his reputation as beeing very good at math. He didn’t finish with Matura but went back to Vancouver to enroll at UBC and back again, this time to Berlin. He finally passed Studienkolleg and was able to matriculate at FU in Physics. This was in 1972, at the age of 19.

Finally the mystery has been solved: where the heck went the vanished chess piece?!

The calendar, included in the brief case, is most sophisticated, methinks.

Corrugated Box, Containing ‘Survivals’
see entry: Tuesday, 4 July, scroll down to: Three “survival” kits

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It was probably in 2009 when Dorl emptied his pockets and filed everything away.

Tuesday, 12 September

handwritten notes about theory of relativity, Feynman lectures I mechanics / Claude Kaeser, Introduction to the special theory of relativity

foto copy: F Penzlin; Vorlesungen über Quantentheorie

Container moves
Ah – the Vancouver container adventure. I remember it well. When after the move from Borken, Westfalia to Victoria, BC our household items arrived in Canada, Dorl and I crossed over with the first ferry to get them to the Island. They were storaged at a landlocked container place far out Vancouver, and first we had to drive with the small truck we had borrowed to Hastingsstreet 555 to clear the papers.

It was around noon when we came to the storage place and went into the office, which was populated by clerks and one jolly jovial fellow straight from the Dickens novels, pretty drunk, full of compliments. Somehow we managed to find our container and get it cleared, maybe by “Judy”, I don’t know anymore; however, we were not allowed to load the things on the place itself. I forgot the reason, but the container was loaded on a flatbed trailer and driven somewhere even further upcountry, with us in pursue. The sun was setting, when we got to work. For sometime the two drivers looked on, but probably they were touched by our two-people-endeavor and joined in until all was done.

We scrambled into the loaden truck and startet off. It was high time to reach the harbour for the last ferry, and we manged in the nick of time. The ferry ride provides 1 1/2 hour rest, and surely we had a good meal to recover our strength. We arrived home in the pitch dark and I still remember the lingering daze, the feeling to have stepped out of normality into a world not quite our own.

The Builder

First sketches for the building of our little woodframe house, sitting on a rock. Calculations for material and plans for construction were tasks Dorl shared with P*** who helped a lot. Located on the site of a chicken house and to be built without permission it oughtn’t become to tall. The room under the slanted roof – the children’s bed room – measured at its peak four feet. We spent happy years in our little house.

evening scene with the little house / picture by E***

It was after the famous Kelowna house and two or three other constructions (garage, chicken house …?) the last big building project. Another smaller project, apart from numerous furniture adjustments or creations, was the big wooden water tank we needed in Victoria when the well had run dry.

image source: Wray Times (family journal)

Monday, 11 September

Freedom’s not sold out for enterprisers: Canada
a to-do-list, mid-Seventies

1974/75 /78

  • Wirtschafts- und Immobilientreuhand / Canada – A proposal for long term and secure investment: become a member with a 10 000 DM payment.

This was most probably a tongue-in-cheek suggestion towards a pretty pennyless young student.

  • Robert Minder; Geist und Macht oder Einiges über die Familie Brentano – a bookish gift by trusty friend M***
  • Changes to the commentary of the university calendar WS 73/74 Physics
  • handwritten notes to W.W. Stepanow; Lehrbuch der Differentialgleichungen, 4 1/2 double pages (1973)
  • further notes about math, mechanics, chemical field placement for physics and theory of harmony (1973 /74)
  • Ausbildungskommission Fachbereich Physik

Should political questions have part in the basic class of Physics? This illustrates the political climate after 1968.

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Die Zeit; November 1977 – A discussion about chances in the future for young students – the competition gets tougher
  • Notes and foto copies about Udicil (Cytarabin)
  • Kongressbulletin Internationales Symposium der Deutschen Akademie für Psychoanalyse (DAP), 8. – 12. Oktober 1978: Psychosomatische Erkrankung und Depression; Numbers 2 – 5
  • Lothlórien / Der Flötenspieler – Ein Märchen von Werner Zillig (publisher? year?)

As a student Dorl joined reading circles (as reading Achim von Arnim, Isabella von Ägypten),  and with others he played Hausmusik, house concerts. He played cello, but also liked playing the recorder and the transverse flute.

He also jobbed as a male nurse in the Malteser Krankenhaus where his mother worked as physician. Here are some notes, part German, part English

1981 / 1983

  • Seminararbeit Kunstgeschichte
    Adrian Koerfer; Zweimal Sommer – Ein Vergleich von Claude Monets “Sommer” und Otto Muellers “Sommertag”
  • K. P. Rajappan Nair; A FORTRAN Program for the Calculation of Hyperfine Structure and Stark Effect in the Rotational Transition of 2Σ Diatomic Molecule

These are some of works written by friends and colleagues. Dorl read them, and discussed them sometimes.


  • update information for road traffic adjudgement and tax laws

While we spent the year in Borken, Westfalia, Dorl tried to study in Fern-Uni Hagen and also ordered these law texts. He found work as a free associate at a computer consulting enterprise. While he also supported the bookshop and looked after our small children I wonder how he managed it all.

One Cabinet Filled With Documents

It shall take some time before I’ll go into detail about the documents and printouts that were stacked in here.

Today, however, pars pro toto, there’ll be an excursion through one of the piles hidden within:

Continue reading “One Cabinet Filled With Documents”

Sunday, 13 August

The last bits left behind for packing

Box 154

Box 154 unpacked and sorted

As a couple, and later as a family, we shared in several smaller and larger moves. Always when packing up all the belongings something small and ephemeral ended up to be sorted out from the rubble, the very last items to be taken along. I am quite sure, box 154 is such a box, probably filled around four o’clock in the morning before we collapsed into a last night’s rest in the home we were bound to leave. Who knows what those keys are for …
Continue reading “Sunday, 13 August”