Perspectives in Quantum Theory: Essays in Honor of Alfred Landé

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9780262240147: Perspectives in Quantum Theory: Essays in Honor of Alfred Landé
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Max Born, Louis de Broglie, Eugene Wigner, Hermann Bondi, Karl Popper, and others of comparable stature here express their esteem for Alfred Landé and his lifelong dedication to his science in a particularly appropriate way: by contributing to this book articles in which they operate at their deepest level of ongoing concern rather than by offering simple tributes or reminiscences. No better salute could be accorded to a man who, in his eighties, continues to operate at such a level himself.

Some of the papers deal with the specific areas in which Landé made important contributions to the theory of atomic structure in his younger days, such as the "Landé g-factor" so important to spectral analysis. Most of them, however, take up the larger issues of the nature of quantum reality and the consistency and completeness inherent in our descriptions of it.

Landé was an early supporter of the "Copenhagen interpretation" of quantum phenomena, developed in the late 1920s by Bohr and Heisenberg. This depends on a fundamental duality in which the wave-like and particle-like aspects of matter and radiation are each regarded as necessary but partial views of reality, mutually complementing one another.

In his later years, however, Landé became increasingly dissatisfied with this interpretation and began to develop a "unitary" approach that does not depend on this dualism. This was to lead to his demonstration "that quantum theory, instead of being a set of enigmatic, though most successful, rules of calculation, can be understood as the logical consequence of a few almost self-evident postulates of symmetry and invariance." To Landé's own scientific conscience, the quantum riddle has found its solution. Even those who take a different point of view, including some of the contributors to this book, treat this solution with the respect its seriousness has earned.

The contributors and their topics are as follows: Max Born: An Open Letter to Alfred Landé; Louis de Broglie: A New Interpretation Concerning the Coexistence of Waves and Particles; Hans-Jürgen Treder: The Einstein-Bohr Box Experiment; Eugene P. Wigner: Quantum-Mechanical Distribution Functions Revisited; Henry Margenau and James L. Park: The Logic of Noncommutability of Quantum-Mechanical Operators—and Its Empirical Consequences; Alfred Kastler: How the Landé Factor of an Atom Can Be Changed by Putting the Atom in a Radiofrequency Bath; David Bohm: Space-Time Geometry as an Abstraction from "Spinor" Ordering; Helmut Hönl: A Contribution to the Thermodynamics of the Universe and to 3ºK Radiation; Dennis Caldwell and Henry Eyring: Quantum-Mechanical Rate Processes; O. Costa de Beauregard: Statistical Irreversibility and Quantized Wave Retardation; Fritz Bopp: The Internal Symmetries of Elementary Particles Resulting from the Geometric Structure of Lattice Space; Jean-Pierre Vigier: Hidden Parameter Theory; Karl R. Popper: Particle Annihilation and the Argument of Einstein, Podolsky, and Rosen; Walter M. Elsasser: Philosophical Dissonances in Quantum Mechanics; Leon Rosenfeld: Unphilosophical Considerations on Causality in Physics; Hermann Bondi: Logical Foundations in Physics; André Merçier: Forms of Determinism, Objectivity, and the Classification of Sciences; and Paul Bernays: Causality, Determinism, and Probability.

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