Studies 2

Research and Pedagogy

A History of Quantum Physics through Its Textbooks
This book addresses how new ideas in emerging quantum physics were introduced in textbooks.

This book addresses how new ideas in emerging quantum physics were introduced in textbooks.

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

Historians of quantum physics and early quantum mechanics have seldom paid attention to the ways the new theory was integrated in physics textbooks, perhaps taking for granted that novelties in science can only be taught once they are fully understood and generally accepted. The essays in this volume challenge this view by studying some of the early books and textbooks in which quantum theory was first introduced. By so doing, the authors show the many ways books and textbooks embody pedagogical and research practices in certain local environments (geographical, disciplinary, in terms of expertise, etc.), as well as the circular feedback between research and pedagogy.

Textbooks can become the subject of a history of early quantum physics since the very process of writing a textbook, (i.e., of trying to organise a new doctrine to the newcomer in an accessible way), together with its life as an object that is issued, used, changed, and abandoned, incorporates many of the tensions between research and pedagogy. Furthermore, the life of these books can also help us better situate less known actors in the history of quantum physics, by bringing into the picture the reasons, the context, the research agenda, and other aspects that cannot be found in the publication of research papers or in the abundant correspondence between the main physicists involved in this story.

The case studies collected in this volume may, at first glance, look like a heterogeneous set. Some books were not, in fact, primarily addressing quantum theory as such, but including some of its early principles in re-shaping the established foundational principles and modes of teaching in fields such as optics and physical chemistry. Others were written by scientists not directly involved in the development of the new physics, and their books were addressed at an audience interested in having only a superficial knowledge of the theory of quanta. Finally, the main actors in the formulation of quantum theory wrote books on the quantum for different purposes: as a way to organise their thoughts, to spread a particular interpretation of the theory, or to press for their personal research agendas, among others. This heterogeneity is, however, the tool the editors use to give a full picture of the role of early textbooks in the history of quantum physics.

Show All


Abegg, Richard

Abraham, Max

Adams, Elliot Q.

Alexandrow, W.

Anderson, Philip W.

Aston, Francis

Atanassoff, J. V.


Back, Ernst E. A.

Bardeen, John

Basset, Alfred B.

Bechert, Karl

Bederson, Benjamin

Birge, Raymond T.

Birkhoff, Garrett

Birtwistle, George

Bloch, Felix

Bohr, Niels

Atomic model
Correspondence principle

Boltzmann, Ludwig

Born, Max

Bose, Satyendra Nath

Bothe, Walther

Bragg, William

Brattain, Walter H.

Bridgman, Percy W.

Briggs, Lyman J.

Brillouin, Léon

Bronstein, Matvei P.

Brose, Henry L.

Buchner, Eduard

Burgers, Johannes M.


Carnap, Rudolf

Cassirer, Ernst

Catalan, Miguel

Chadwick, James

Collins, Harry

Compton, Arthur H.

Compton effect

Courant, Richard

Curie, Marie


Damerow, Peter

Darwin, Charles G.

Davisson, Clinton J.

De Broglie, Louis

Debye, Peter

Dennison, David M.

Dewey, John

Dirac, Paul A. M.

Donnan, Frederick G.

Dony, Françoise

Drude, Paul


Eddington, Arthur

Ehrenfest, Paul

Einstein, Albert

Light quantum
Radiation theory
Relativity theory
Theory of specific heats

Epstein, Paul

Eucken, Arnold

Ewald, Paul


Fajans, Kazimierz

Faraday, Michael

Fermi, Enrico

Feynman, Richard P.

FitzGerald, George F.

Fleck, Ludwig

Fock, Vladimir A.

Foote, Paul D.

Foucault, Michel

Fowler, Ralph H.

Franck, James

Frank, Phillipp

Franz, Walter

Frenkel, Yakov

Fresnel, Augustin-Jean

Füchtbauer, Christian


Gaunt, John A.

Geiger, Hans

Gerlach, Walther

Gibbs, Josiah W.

Glaser, August


Haber, Fritz

Hahn, Otto

Hall, Edwin

Hamilton, William R.

Hannaway, Owen

Hardy, Godfrey H.

Hartree, Douglas

Hatfield, Henry S.

Heilbron, John L.

Heisenberg, Werner

Helmholtz, Hermann von

Hertz, Gustav

Hilbert, David

Hill, Edward L.

Hund, Friedrich

Höpfner Sommerfeld, Johanna


Immerwahr, Clara

Ishiwara, Jun

Ivanenko, Dmitri


Jacobi, Carl G.

Jeans, James H.

Jellinek, Karl

Jordahl, Olaf

Jordan, Pascual


Kapitza, Peter

Kaufmann, Walter

Kemble, Edwin C.

Kennard, Earle H.

Kerr, John

Ketteler, Eduard

Kirchhoff, Gustav R.

Klein, Oskar

Kobayashi, Minoru

Koopman, Bernard O.

Kopp, Hermann F. M.

Kramers, Hendrik A.

Kratzer, Adolf

Kronig, Ralph

Kuhn, Thomas S.

Kuhn losses

König, Walter


Ladenburg, Rudolf

Lagrange, Joseph L.

Landau, Lev D.

Landé, Alfred

Langevin, Paul

Laplace, Pierre S.

Laporte, Otto

Larmor, Joseph

Latour, Bruno

Laue, Max von

Lawrence, Samuel L.

Lenard, Philipp

Lennard-Jones, John

Lenz, Wilhelm

Lewis, Exum P.

Liebig, Justus

Lifshitz, Evgeny M.

Lin, Chun

Lindemann, Frederick A.

Lodge, Oliver

Lorentz, Hendrik A.

Love, Augustus E. H.

Lummer, Otto


Mach, Ernst

Mann, Charles R.

Manneback, Charles

Margenau, Henry

Maue, August W.

Maxwell, James C.

McCrea, William

Meggers, William F.

Meitner, Lise

Mendenhall, Charles E.

Mensing, Lucy

Merton, Robert K.

Michelson, Albert A.

Mie, Gustav

Millikan, Robert A.

Minkowski, Rudolph

Morell, Jack

Mott, Nevill


Nernst, Walther

Heat theorem

Neumann, Franz

Nicholson, John W.

Niessen, Kare Frederick

Nishina, Yoshio

Nordheim, Lothar W.


Oppenheimer, Julius R.


Partington, James R.

Paschen, Friedrich

Paul, Theodor

Pauli, Wolfgang

Pauling, Linus

Penney, William

Piaget, Jean

Planck, Max

Black body law
Quantum hypothesis

Poincaré, Henri

Preston, Thomas

Päsler, Max


Ramsey, William

Reiche, Fritz

Reichenbach, Hans

Reiff, Richard A.

Richardson, Owen W.

Ritz, Walther

Rojansky, Vladimir

Rollefson, Ragnar

Roschdestwensky, Dmitri S.

Ruark, Arthur E.

Rubinowicz, Adalbert

Runge, Carl

Rutherford, Ernest

Röntgen, Wilhelm


Sackur, Otto

Sarton, George

Schlapp, Robert

Schlick, Moritz

Schrödinger, Erwin

Schwarzschild, Karl

Segrè, Emilio

Senter, George

Serber, Robert

Shockley, William B.

Siertsema, Lodewijk

Sieveking, Hermann

Slater, John C.

Smekal, Adolf

Snow, Charles P.


Solvay Conference 1911
Solvay Conference 1927
Solvay Conference 1930

Sommerfeld, Arnold

Spengler, Ostwald

Stark, Johannes

Stefan, Josef

Stern, Otto

Stuewer, Roger

Swann, W. F.

Sylvester, James J.


Tamaki, Hidehiko

Tate, John T.

Thomas, Llewellyn H.

Thomson, Joseph J.

Tomonaga, Sin-Itiro


Valentiner, Siegfried

Van Vleck, John H.

Van’t Hoff, Jacobus H.

Voigt, Woldemar

Von Kármán, Theodore

Von Miller, Oskar

Von Neumann, John

Von Simson, Clara


Waldmann, Ludwig

Wang, Shou Chin

Warburg, Emil

Washburn, Edward W.

Weber, Heinrich F.

Weinstein, Bernhard

Welker, Heinrich

Wentzel, Gregor

Weyl, Hermann

Wheeler, John A.

Whitney, Robert B.

Wiechert, Emil

Wien, Wilhelm

Wigner, Eugene

Wilson, Alan H.

Wittgenstein, Ludwig

Wood, Robert W.

Woolgar, Steve


Yukawa, Hideki


Zahn, Charles T.

Zeeman, Pieter

Zeeman effect








Publication Date

Sept. 10, 2013

Print on Demand

currently unavailable

Suggested Citation

Badino, Massimiliano and Navarro, Jaume (eds.) (2013). Research and Pedagogy: A History of Quantum Physics through Its Textbooks. Berlin: Max-Planck-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Wissenschaften.

Submitted by

Kostas Gavroglu

Editorial Team

Jeremiah James