Berlin: Julius Springer, 1921. 1st Edition. FIRST EDITION OF THE “FIRST QUANTUM INTERPRETATION OF OPTICAL DISPERSION” (Taltavull, Rudolf Ladenburg and the First Quantum Interpretation of Optical Dispersion, Eur. Phys. J. H. 45, 123, 2020). “The problem of optical dispersion taught physicists important lessons about how to cross the boundary between classical and quantum physics in order to gain novel insights about quantum theory. The quantum reinterpretation of optical dispersion in 1921 [and put forth by Landenburg in this paper] was a fundamental step in this direction. Prior to Landenburg’s paper, “optical dispersion had never been considered as a quantum phenomenon before” (ibid., 157).
Theoretical physicists had tried to explain dispersion from the point of view of quantum theory ever since 1913 when Bohr proposed his quantum model of atom. But their theories proved unsuccessful. It was Ladenburg who provided the breakthrough toward a quantum understanding of dispersion.
“Classically, optical dispersion is understood as resulting from the interaction between electromagnetic waves and electric oscillators inside atoms” (Taltavull, The Uncertain Limits, Annalen der Physik, 15 August 2018). The question, then, was “how to retain an empirically successful dispersion formula without having recourse to resonance as the mechanism of light–matter interactions?” (ibid). In the paper offered here, Rudolf Ladenburg “took the first steps toward a reorientation of the problem [by redefining] the boundary between classical and quantum physics” (ibid).
In earlier “hybrid theories, optical dispersion continued to be a classical phenomenon, though taking place within quantum atomic and molecular structures, because dispersion continued stemming from the mechanism of resonance between light and matter. According to Ladenburg’s 1921 reinterpretation of N, instead, optical dispersion should be regarded as a quantum phenomenon… Through Ladenburg’s 1921 reinterpretation of N, optical dispersion came to be fully determined by quantum frequencies and transition probabilities, instead of resonance frequencies and the number of resonating electrons” (ibid).
We separately offer Ladenburg and Kopfermann’s 1928 and 1930 works (two volumes) presenting the first evidence of ‘negative dispersion,’ what physicists now call stimulated emission. (James, 100 Years at the Intersection of Chemistry and Physics, 86). “Some historians of science have even argued that with just a bit more luck Ladenburg and Kopfermann might have observed the first laser pulse” (James, 86). That might seem hyperbole. It isn’t. Item #1578
CONDITION & DETAILS: Berlin: Julius Springer. Full volume. Ex-libris bearing two small stamps on the rear of the title page and small pocket on rear pastedown; remnants of a spine label. Provenance: Bears the ownership stamp on the blank front flyleaf of Friedrich Hund, a German physicist known for his work on atoms and molecules. (9 x 6.5 inches; 225 x 163mm). [iv], 476pp, . Bound in black cloth over marbled paper boards; very slight rubbing at the edge tips. Tightly and very solidly bound. Bright and clean inside and out.