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.


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”

Friday, 9 June

Some Documents

Yesterdays batch included a stack of documents dating from 2006 and 2007. We arrived in Berlin in June 2006 and these samples attest fresh courage and initiative that Dorl attached to this come-back on his old stomping grounds. More examples are to come.

naturalization (click to enlarge)

Every now and then Dorl nurtured the intention of taking on German citizenship; this is an early evidence. He never followed through, was born a Canadian, died a Canadian, but felt European without resentment to his birthland (with few exceptions).

Continue reading “Friday, 9 June”