720 X. ON THE STRUCTURE OF 'MATTER' |
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representation for events, according to the personal make-up of the individual workers. And of course these forms can be translated into one another.
Section F. The wave mechanics.We have not sufficient space at our disposal to discuss more fully the new wave mechanics. I found that short of a small volume, no explanations, readily intelligible, could be made.
In mathematics and physics, which represent the most developed sciences, we consciously and unconsciously strive for more and more general formulations. The work of Einstein, showing that the classical mechanics was only a particular case of a more general mechanics, has given a healthy stimulation to such a fruitful line of work.
As the quantum phenomena could not be accounted for by the old mechanics, it was natural that physicists should try schemes of new mechanics which included classical mechanics as a particular case. Thus, Sommerfeld, through his methods of the application of the Einstein theory to the quantum mechanics and his generalizations of phase-space, and his treatment of the relation of wave-optics to ray-optics and of the relation of mechanics to ray-optics, came close to the discovery of the wave mechanics.
^{10}The new wave mechanics originated in 1924 in Paris, with the thesis of Louis de Broglie, published in 1925, and republished in a book form in 1926.
The controversy between the corpuscular light theory of Newton (emission theory) and the wave theory of Huygens is well known. The emission theory had its support in the 'rectilinear' propagation of light, which followed from the inertia of light particles. Also, it explained the reflection and the refraction . , of light, but failed in other respects. It is true that the wave theory also had its weak structural spots. In it the 'rectilinear' propagation of light remained a complete mystery and it completely failed to account for the dispersion of light, until this was explained on the electron theory.
Both theories assumed the periodicity of light phenomena, but the acceptance of one theory was generally held to mean the rejection of the other. It did not occur to many that both theories might be correct but only partial structural aspects of a more general theory.
With the advent of the quantum theory of Planck (1900) new methods were found. In 1905 Einstein propounded his theory of 'light quanta' successfully. He assumed that radiation occurs in discrete quanta of energy
hv, where v represents the frequency. From this point of view the quantum had the characteristic discreteness of a corpuscle, and yet the frequency characteristic of a wave. We see that the new theory involved a kind of a blend of the two older theories.De Broglie generalized still further the above notions. His theory is in a way the result of the theory of Einstein. As we already know, Einstein shows the connection of mass and energy, so that the conservation of mass becomes also the conservation of energy, and vice versa. Starting with these premises de Broglie concluded that if any element, in the most general sense, be it an |
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