Proceedings 5

Traditions and Transformations in the History of Quantum Physics

Third International Conference on the History of Quantum Physics, Berlin, June 28 – July 2, 2010
Studies on the history of theory, experimentation, and interpretation of quantum physics.

Studies on the history of theory, experimentation, and interpretation of quantum physics.

This publication is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Germany (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 DE) Licence.

More than a century after the beginning of the quantum revolution, historians continue to explore new facets in the history of quantum physics, and to re-examine some of its better-known aspects. The thirteen papers collected in this volume, by authors from five continents, present central trends in the current study of quantum physics within its theoretical, experimental, philosophical, technological and social contexts. They discuss developments from the late nineteenth to the early twenty-first century and go beyond the traditional focus on Europe and North America to include China and Japan, and beyond the Heisenbergs and Diracs to reveal the role of actors who hitherto have played only a marginal role in historical account, but left their mark on the development of quantum physics. Also a wider array of subdisciplines comes into view, from optics to quantum gravity through quantum electrodynamics, from atomic and nuclear to condense matter physics and foundations of physics. Moreover, the volume shows that fields such as dispersion, physical chemistry and solid state physics should not be seen merely as areas of applications of ideas that evolved in other contexts, but should be regarded as birthplaces of important theoretical insights. The perspective of the papers ranges from local histories to global discussions, from conceptual changes via the role of experimentation to interactions with social and technological forces and to the interpretation of the theory.

Contributors

Introduction

From Classical to Quantum Physics

1 Theoretical Challenges by Experimental Physics:
Radiation and Its Interaction with Matter

Shaul Katzir

2 Challenging the Boundaries between Classical and
Quantum Physics: The Case of Optical Dispersion

Marta Jordi Taltavull

3 Putting the Quantum to Work: Otto Sackur’s Pioneering
Exploits in the Quantum Theory of Gases

Massimiliano Badino, Bretislav Friedrich

Quantum Mechanics in the Making

4 The Concepts of Light Atoms and Light Molecules and
Their Final Interpretation

Dieter Fick, Horst Kant

5 Early Interactions of Quantum Statistics and
Quantum Mechanics

Daniela Monaldi

6 Pourparlers for Amalgamation: Some Early Sources of
Quantum Gravity Research

Dean Rickles

Extending the Framework of Quantum Physics

7 Superposing Dynamos and Electrons: Electrical Engineering and Quantum Physics in the Case of Nishina Yoshio
Kenji Ito

8 The Origins of Maria Göppert’s Dissertation on
Two-Photon Quantum Transitions at Göttingen’s
Institutes of Physics 1920-1933

Barry R. Masters

9 An Act of Creation: The Meitner-Frisch Interpretation
of Nuclear Fission

Roger H. Stuewer

The Challenges of Quantum Field Theory

10 Tsung-Sui Chang’s Contribution to the Quantization
of Constrained Hamiltonian Systems

Xiaodong Yin, Zhongyuan Zhu, Donald C. Salisbury

11 Feynman’s Struggle and Dyson’s Surprise: The Development and Early Application of a New Means of Representation
Adrian Wüthrich

Traditions and Debates in Recent Quantum Physics

12 Orthodoxies on the Interpretation of Quantum Theory:
The Case of the Consistent History Approach

Olival Freire

13 From Do-it-yourself Quantum Mechanics to Nanotechnology? The History of Experimental Semiconductor Physics,
1970–2000

Christian Kehrt

Information

ISBN

978-3-945561-22-5

Pages

352

Publication Date

May 30, 2013

Print on Demand

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Price

11,25 €

Submitted by

Olivier Darrigol

Editorial Team

Heidi Henrickson, Oksana Kuruts, Jonathan Ludwig, Marius Schneider