Sigo leyendo algo más adelante, el capítulo 5, Quantum Mechanics and a Talk with Einstein (1925-1926):
In the summer term of 1925, when I resumed my research work at the University of Gottingen-since July 1924 I had been Privatdozent at that university-I made a first attempt to guess what formulae would enable one to express the line intensities of the hydrogen spectrum, using more or less the same methods that had proved so fruitful in my work with Kramers in Copenhagen. This attempt led to a dead end -I found myself in an impenetrable morass of complicated mathematical equations, with no way out. But the work helped to convince me of one thing: that one ought to ignore the problem of electron orbits inside the atom, and treat the frequencies and amplitudes associated with the line intensities as perfectly good substitutes.
Ese es el gran cambio que dió Heisenberg: concentrarse en las frecuencias e intensidades (ya comenzaba a mencionar "amplitudes"),
In any case, these magnitudes could be observed directly, and as my friend Otto had pointed out when expounding on Einstein's theory during our bicycle tour round Lake Walchensee, physicists must consider none but observable magnitudes when trying to solve the atomic puzzle.
Tengo pendiente comentar sobre esas charlas con su amigo Otto, y también con Wolfgang Pauli.
My attempt to apply this scheme to the hydrogen atom had come to grief on the complications of this particular problem. Accordingly, I looked for a simpler mathematical system and found it in the pendulum, whose oscillations could serve as a model for the molecular vibrations treated by atomic physics. My work along these lines was advanced rather than retarded by an unfortunate personal setback.
Aparece el ataque de la "fiebre de heno", y el viaje a Heligoland:
Toward the end of May 1925, I fell so ill with hay fever that I had to ask Born for fourteen days' leave of absence. I made straight for Heligoland, where I hoped to recover quickly in the bracing sea air, far from blossoms and meadows. On my arrival I must have looked quite a sight with my swollen face; in any case, my landlady took one look at me, concluded that I had been in a fight and promised to nurse me through the aftereffects. My room was on the second floor, and since the house was built high up on the southern edge of the rocky island, I had a glorious view over the village, and the dunes and the sea beyond. As I sat on my balcony, I had ample opportunity to reflect on Bohr's remark that part of infinity seems to lie within the grasp of those who look across the sea.
Ahora podía concentrarse en el problema:
Apart from daily walks and long swims, there was nothing in Heligoland to distract me from my problem, and so I made much swifter progress than I would have done in Gottingen. A few days were enough to jettison all the mathematical ballast that invariably encumbers the beginning of such attempts, and to arrive at a simple formulation of my problem. Within a few days more, it had become clear to me what precisely had to take the place of the Bohr-Sommerfeld quantum conditions in an atomic physics working with none but observable magnitudes. It also became obvious that with this additional assumption I had introduced a crucial restriction into the theory. Then I noticed that there was no guarantee that the new mathematical scheme could be put into operation without contradictions. In particular, it was completely uncertain whether the principle of the conservation of energy would still apply, and I knew only too well that my scheme stood or fell by that principle.
El tema de la conservación de la energía (o de su falta de conservación) apareció en otras formulaciones tempranas. Veremos en el próximo post cómo se las arregló Heisenberg para mantener ese principio.
Angel "Java" Lopez