This person was born in 1879 in Germany. In 1898, this person served a year of compulsory military training while at the same time beginning to study mathematics, physics, and chemistry. After attending lectures at universities in the German towns of Straßburg (now Strasbourg, France), Göttingen and Munich, this person moved to Berlin to complete their degree. The topic for their Ph.D. research thesis – which was completed in 1903 – was interference phenomena. This person studied for a further two years in Göttingen and took the examination required for high-school teaching.
In 1905, this person took up a position as assistant at the Institute for Theoretical Physics, Berlin, where they became a lecturer in 1906. They moved to the University of Munich in 1909, where they lectured on optics, thermodynamics and the theory of relativity and in 1912 became Professor of Physics at the University of Zurich, Switzerland. In 1914, this person returned to Germany as Professor of Physics at Frankfurt-on-the-Main University, but moved once again in 1916 to take part in war work at the University of Würzburg, Germany, on high vacuum tubes used for telephony and wireless communication. In 1919 they joined the faculty at the University of Berlin, a post which this person held until 1943.
After World War II, this person returned to Göttingen as Acting Director of the Max Planck Institute and Titular Professor in the University there. In 1951 this person was elected Director of the Fritz Haber Institute for Physical Chemistry at Berlin-Dahlem, Germany, where they remained until retirement in 1958. In their final years, this person returned to the topic of X-ray optics that characterized the beginning of their career and won them high acclaim.