Something I Periodically Write About

19 08 2020


This is today’s Google Doodle on both Google Germany and the big Google.

Lothar Meyer, the co-developer of the periodic table of the elements.  Today would have been his 190th birthday.

Born in Oldenburg, died in 1895 in the city where he spent most of his academic career, that being Nicholas-Stix-Stadt, aka Tübingen.

More than two years ago now, when my quasi-uncle and I were mere tourists here, one of the things that struck me, especially in the latter parts, was that so many of the places we visited were somehow important in the development of some hard science, that it would have made more sense to point out the ones that weren’t.  Then I started to wonder how in the world Germany didn’t wind up being a global superpower.  So dominant was Germany in chemistry, physics and engineering that, as late as the 1920s, the Weimar years, if you were anyone in the world who wanted a serious career in these fields, you absolutely had to learn German.  My quasi-uncle, an early Boomer, and a mechanical engineer during his working years, still felt it necessary to do that, even though he already learned it in K-12, and, if you knew what his last name is, you wouldn’t be surprised.

There are lots of things which prevented Germany from popping off as a superpower, but there’s a hint to one in particular from Meyer’s own life.  He was on faculty at what is now the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology when the Franco-Prussian War of 1871 popped off.  That was the third and most serious of wars waged by what would become neighbors of a unified German state against the unifying territory to prevent unification from happening, the previous two were at the hands of Denmark and the AHE.  The obelisk inside the traffic circle about a mile west of the Brandenburg Gate commemorates the Germans beating back all three belligerencies.  An interesting side note is that France’s inability to win in 1871 weakened it domestically such that actual communists set up a commune in Paris at that time, which of course didn’t last long, but was the inspiration for CHAZ/CHOP in Seattle.

Anyway, back to Meyer, he had to put his academic career on hold to care for injured soldiers and civilians in and around Karlsruhe.  There’s one of the big reasons:  Constant warfare and threat of warfare can create superpowers, but it can also prevent them from developing.  Realizing that the lack of actual warfare on this continent post-WWII is an anomaly in is history.  Also proving why those 21 miles are the Longest Yard in the history of civilization.




4 responses

19 08 2020

Yes, I’ve been following the Iraqi “accident”-causer in Berlin matter all day and evening. Phoniness on several levels.

22 08 2020
Nicholas Stix

I’m happy to see you lived long enough to enjoy your Flitterwochen, and are re-energized!


“21 miles”?

As for why Germany never became a superpower–actually, it did, but very briefly, in 1914 and 1939.

I favor the Versailles Theory for explaining the disasters from 1921-1945, and then FDR let the Russkies split the country.

And Mutter Merkel (and whoever stands behind her) will have finished the job.

22 08 2020

Austro-Hungarian Empire. 21 miles, the narrowest extent of the English Channel.

2 09 2020

Along these lines, an interesting article. Sedan was the critical battle of the FPW.

It's your dime, spill it. And also...NO TROLLS ALLOWED~!

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