What is quantum mechanics?

Seated, from left to right: Walther Nernst, Marcel Brioullin, Ernest Solvay, Hendrik Lorentz, Emil Warburg, Jean-Baptiste Perrin, Wilhelm Wien, Marie Curie, Henri Poincaré. 

Standing: Robert Goldschmidt, Max Planck, Heinrich Rubens, Arnold Sommerfeld, Frederick Lindemann, Maurice de Broglie, Martin Knudsen, Friedrich Hasenöhrl,

 Georges Hostelet, Édouard Herzen, James Jeans, Ernest Rutherford, Heike Kamerlingh Onnes, Albert Einstein, Paul Langevin.

At the Métropole, a “Witches’ Sabbath”

Autumn 1911, Brussels. A mythic congress, a phenomenal cast: Albert Einstein, Marie Curie, Henri Poincare, 

Max Planck, Paul Langevin, Maurice de Broglie and others reinvent science during the Solvay Congress, 

in the most beautiful hotel in the City…


…What are the greatest scholars of their time doing in a luxury hotel in Brussels? 

Who called them together, and why?


The following article was originally published in French as 

Au Métropole un <<sabbat de sorcières>>, 

in le Monde, 31 July 2015.


The article was written by 

Stéphane Foucart. 

(Translated by Crispin Gardiner.)


The Centre for Quantum Science is  a University of Otago Research Centre hosted by the Department of Physics.


Department of Physics

University of Otago

730 Cumberland Street

Dunedin 9010



Ashton Bradley                       

ashton.bradley [at] otago.ac.nz    


Niels Kjærgaard            

niels.kjaergaard [at] otago.ac.nz