Uber quantentheoretische Umdeutung kinematischer und mechanischer Beziehungen in Zeitschrift fur Physik, 33, 1925, pp. 879-893. Werner Heisenberg.

Uber quantentheoretische Umdeutung kinematischer und mechanischer Beziehungen in Zeitschrift fur Physik, 33, 1925, pp. 879-893


Written when he was 23, Heisenberg’s new theory – “the starting point for quantum mechanics” -- “was based only on what can be observed, that is to say, on the radiation emitted by the atom. We cannot, he said, always assign to an electron a position in space at a given time, nor follow it in its orbit, so that we cannot assume that the planetary orbits postulated by Niels Bohr actually exist. Mechanical quantities, such as position, velocity, etc. should be represented, not by ordinary numbers, but by abstract mathematical structures called "matrices" and he formulated his new theory in terms of matrix equations” (DSB; Nobel Prize Committee).

"In spite of its high-sounding name and its successful solutions of numerous problems in atomic physics, quantum theory, and especially the quantum theory of polyelectronic systems, prior to 1925, was, from the methodological point of view, a lamentable hodgepodge of hypotheses, principles, theorems, and computational recipes rather than a logical consistent theory. Every single quantum-theoretic problem had to be solved first in terms of classical physics; its classical solution had then to pass through the mysterious sieve of the quantum conditions or, as it happened in the majority of cases, the classical solution had to be translated into the language of quanta in conformance with the correspondence principle… In short, quantum theory still lacked two essential characteristics of a full-fledged scientific theory, conceptual autonomy and logical consistency" (Jammer, The Conceptual Development of Quantum Mechanics, 196).

"In May 1925, Heisenberg took on a new and difficult problem, the calculation of the line intensities of the hydrogen spectrum. Just as he had done with Kramers and Bohr, Heisenberg began with a Fourier analysis of the electron orbits. When the hydrogen orbit proved too difficult, he turned to the anharmonic oscillator. With a new multiplication rule relating the amplitudes and frequencies of the Fourier components to observed quantities, Heisenberg succeeded in quantizing the equations of motion for this system in close analogy with the classical equations of motion. In June Heisenberg returned to Göttingen, where he drafted his fundamental paper [the paper offered], which he completed in July. In it, Heisenberg proclaimed that the quantum mechanics of atoms should contain only relations between experimentally observable quantities. The resulting formalism served as the starting point for the new quantum mechanics, based, as Heisenberg's multiplication rule implied, on the manipulation of ordered sets of data forming a mathematical matrix.

“Max Born and his assistant, Pascual Jordan, quickly developed the mathematical content of Heisenberg's work into a consistent theory with the help of abstract matrix algebra. Confident of the correctness of the new theory, Heisenberg, Pauli, Born, Dirac, and others began applying the difficult mathematical formalism to the solution of lingering problems" (DSB).

In 1932 he was awarded the Nobel Prize “"for the creation of quantum mechanics”.

NOTE: We offer separately a three-volume set of Heisenberg, Born’s and Jordan’s papers, Volumes 33, 34, 35.

ALSO INCLUDED: A major milestone in gravitational wave theory: the Czech physicist Guido Beck's discovery of a family of exact solutions to the equations of general relativity representing gravitational waves with cylindrical symmetry (called 'Beck vacua' or 'cylindrical gravitational waves'). "Zur Theorie Binärer Gravitationsfelder", pp. 713-738.

ALSO INCLUDED: Born’s "Zur Quantentheorie aperiodischer Vorgänge", pp. 479-508 and Jordan’s “Bemerkungen zur Theorie der Atomstruktur”, pp. 563-571. Item #991

CONDITION & DETAILS: 8vo. Tightly bound in black cloth with some rubbing and scuffing of the boards and lower spine; gilt-lettered at the spine. No library markings whatsoever. Internally fine with no marks.

Price: $3,250.00