Hotel Metropole

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 J. Ongena    25-08-2015     Leggi in PDF

Hotel Metropole

Participants to the first Solvay Conference in 1911 in the Metropole Hotel in Brussels.
Seated (from left to right): Walther Nernst, Marcel Brillouin, Ernest Solvay, Hendrik Lorentz, Emil Warburg, Jean Baptiste Perrin, Wilhelm Wien, Marie Curie, and Henri Poincaré. Standing (from left to right): Robert Goldschmidt, Max Planck, Heinrich Rubens, Arnold Sommerfeld, Frederick Lindemann, Maurice de Broglie, Martin Knudsen, Friedrich Hasenöhrl, Georges Hostelet, Edouard Herzen, James Hopwood Jeans, Ernest Rutherford, Heike Kamerlingh Onnes, Albert Einstein, and Paul Langevin.

On 24 October this year an EPS Historic Site event will take place in the Hotel Metropole located at the vibrant Brouckèreplein in the centre of Brussels.

From 30 October to 3 November 1911, this Hotel was the venue of the Solvay Council, dedicated to what soon would be called "The Theory of Radiation and the Quanta". This was the first of a series of meetings, called "Solvay Conferences", named after Ernest Solvay, a wealthy Belgian industrialist and scientific philanthropist, who issued the invitations to this first meeting.

The participants were 23 eminent scientists including Einstein, Kamerlingh Onnes, Lorentz, Nernst, Perrin, Planck, Poincaré, Rutherford, Skłodowska-Curie, Sommerfeld and Wien.

The insights and exchange of ideas between the participants in the meeting of 1911 lay the basis for modern quantum mechanics. As such it had a profound influence on the development of physics and chemistry in the twentieth century.

Invited to this event are, among others, members of the families mentioned above and representatives of Belgian and European academic and political institutions.

The EPS Historic Site event will take place in the historical “Arthur Rubinstein” room of the Hotel Metropole. The next volume of the European Physical Journal – Special Topics will document this historic meeting with several papers highlighting important aspects. It will be available for all interested worldwide and a hardcopy will be handed out to all participants.

The Hotel Metropole is a favourite place for world celebrities from arts, sciences and politics. In the exclusive Art Nouveau cafeteria signatures can be found from e.g. Arturo Toscanini, Ted Kennedy, Rachmaninov’s friend and Russian base Chalyapin etc. About 600 famous guests feature in the guest book, including Bernardo Bertolucci, Maurice Béjart, General De Gaulle, President Eisenhower, and so on.

The Belgian Physical Society plans to use this opportunity to bring the importance of studying physics (and science in general) to the attention of the Belgian citizens, and especially the young generation of Belgian students, by underlining how Belgium has played and still plays an important role in the development of physics, exemplified e.g. by the recent 2013 Physics Nobel Laureate François Englert. Journalists from Belgian Radio and TV and leading Flemish and French journals are invited to help promoting the event.