A Quantum Theory of the Scattering of X-rays by Light Elements in Physical Review 21, May 1923, pp. 483–502

Lancaster: American Physical Society, 1923. 1st Edition. FIRST EDITION OF ARTHUR COMPTON’S NOBEL PRIZE WINNING PAPER ON THE ‘COMPTON EFFECT,’ THE SCATTERING OF HIGH-ENERGY PHOTONS BY ELECTRONS. The landmark “discovery of the Compton effect served as the technical catalyst for the acceptance and rapid development of quantum mechanics in the 1920s and 1930s” (Todd, Scientists in Space and Astronomy, 88).

From this distance, “it is difficult for us today to understand that Compton’s explanation of X-ray scattering was regarded as revolutionary. Physicists until then had learned that electromagnetic radiation, depending on the process studied, had to be described as consisting of EITHER waves OR energy quanta but now had to accept that BOTH the wave AND the particle property were needed” (Brandt, The Harvest of the Century, 130).

“Compton carried out relativistic calculations (assuming detailed conservation of energy and momentum on a quantum-by-quantum basis) that predicted that energetic X-ray or gamma-ray quanta, when scattered off of electrons, would lose a certain amount of energy” Peacock, The Quantum Revolution, 43). “His experiments revealed that there definitely was a measurable shift of X-ray (photon) wavelength with scattering angle – a phenomenon now called the ‘Compton effect’” (Todd).

“The Compton effect is the inelastic scattering of a photon when it collides with an electron that results in a decrease in energy (increase in wavelength). Part of the energy is transferred to the electron, which recoils and is ejected from its atom (which becomes ionized), and the rest of the energy is taken by the scattered, “degraded” photon. The classical wave theory of light cannot explain the shift in wavelength (and loss of energy) observed in the Compton effect, and as a result, Compton’s experiment convinced most physicists that light does in this case behave as a stream of particles whose energy is proportional to its frequency” (The Wenner Collection).

Compton’s paper verified Planck's quantum postulate AND “confirmed Einstein’a view that the quantum of light interacted like a discrete particle” (Peacock). Compton was awarded the 1927 Nobel Prize in Physics. Item #1678

CONDITION & DETAILS: Full volume. Lancaster: American Physical Society. 4to (10.75 x 8 inches; 268 x 200mm). Entire volume, continuously paginated pp. 1-736. Compton’s paper: pp. 483-502. Ex-libris with no markings at the spine whatsoever. There are two stamps of the blank front fly leaf and an envelope on the front paste down. Minor. Illustration: In-text figures throughout. Exterior: Bound in blue cloth with a gilt-lettered spine; very slight rubbing at the edges. Tightly and solidly bound. The interior is bright and very clean throughout. Very good condition.

Price: $1,350.00