The exploitation of his patents brought Solvay considerable wealth, which he used for philanthropic purposes. In 1911, he began a series of important conferences in physics, known as the Solvay Conferences, whose participants included luminaries such as Max Planck, Ernest Rutherford, Marie Curie, Henri Poincaré, and (then only 32 years old) Albert Einstein. A later conference would include Niels Bohr, Werner Heisenberg, Max Born, and Erwin Schrödinger.
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- There are no limits to what science can explore.
- The man of the future will be dedicated to individualism.
- To be in contact with scientists, to become in a small way a scientist myself if possible, perhaps to cast new light on physical phenomena, to be able to uncover what is real and definitive, was my life's great dream.
- quoted by Pierre Marage, Grégoire Wallenborn (1999). The Solvay Councils and the Birth of Modern Physics. Birkhäuser Verlag. ISBN 3-764-35705-3.
About Ernest Solvay
- Science produces an incomparably lyrical state in this man.
- Héger and Lefébure, close friends of Solvay's, quoted by Pierre Marage, Grégoire Wallenborn (1999). The Solvay Councils and the Birth of Modern Physics. Birkhäuser Verlag. ISBN 3-764-35705-3.