London: Royal Society, 1926. 1st Edition. FIRST EDITION OF A PAPER “JUSTLY SEEN AS A MAJOR CONTRIBUTION TO QUANTUM THEORY” (Kragh, p. 36).
Dirac’s paper introduced his quantum mechanical derivation of one of two possible ways in which a system of indistinguishable particles can be distributed among a set of energy states, here with each of the available discrete states occupied by only one particle. Dirac’s work, along with that of Fermi’s in the same year, has come to be known as Fermi-Dirac statistics – a quantum mechanical law obeyed by systems of particles whose wave function changes when two particles are interchanged (the Pauli exclusion principle applies).
The paper "will be remembered as the first in which quantum mechanics is brought to bear on statistical mechanics. Recall that the earliest work on quantum statistics, by Bose and by Einstein, predates quantum mechanics. Also, Fermi’s introduction of the exclusion principle in statistical problems, though published after the arrival of quantum mechanics, is still executed in the context of the "old" quantum theory. All these contributions were given their quantum mechanical underpinnings by Dirac, who was, in fact, the first to give the correct justification of Planck’s law, which started it all" (Pais, p. 6).
Dirac’s paper may also be considered the birth of quantum electrodynamics. Item #510
CONDITION & DETAILS: Complete. 4to (Quarto). 10 x 7 inches (250 x 175mm). [vi], 696, . Two small ex-libris stamps on the title page, one just a few numbers. In text illustrations throughout. Bound in tan cloth; two gilt-lettered red morocco spine labels. Very tightly and solidly bound. Clean and bright inside and out. Very good condition.