Later in the same year he became assistant to Helmholtz in the physical laboratory of the Berlin Institute.
During the three years he held this position he carried out researches on the contact of elastic solids, hardness, evaporation and the electric discharge in gases, the last earning him the special commendation of Helmholtz.
Imagining that this would interest Hertz and be successfully attacked by him, Helmholtz specially drew his attention to it, and promised him the assistance of the Institute if he decided to work on the subject; but Hertz did not take it up seriously at that time, because he could not think of any procedure likely to prove effective.
The result, was in Helmholtz's words, to establish beyond doubt that ordinary light consists of electrical vibrations in an all-pervading ether which possesses the properties of an insulator and of a magnetic medium.
Lenard and Helmholtz, contain many biographical details, together with statements of the scope and significance of his investigations.