Como alguna vez le pasó a Newton, como también a Schrödinger, Heisenberg se encontró con tiempo libre para pensar en sus ideas.
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.
Ya no era estudiante, ya era docente, así que imagino que este viaje no afectó tanto a su presupuesto como años antes, cuando necesitaba el soporte de la cátedra de su profesor Sommerfeld para viajar a congresos en Europa.
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.
Ahora tiene que revisar su resultado. El tema es si la energía se conservaba o no. En esos tiempos, dado lo extraño de los resultados cuánticos, se había llegado a sugerir en algún "paper" que la conservación de la energía era solo un resultado estadístico.
Other than that, however, several calculations showed that the scheme seemed quite self-consistent. Hence I concentrated on demonstrating that the conservation law held, and one evening I reached the point where I was ready to determine the individual terms in the energy table, or, as we put it today, in the energy matrix, by what would now be considered an extremely clumsy series of calculations. When the first terms seemed to accord with the energy principle, I became rather excited, and I began to make countless arithmetical errors. As a result, it was almost three o'clock in the morning before the final result of Iny computations lay before me. The energy principle had held for all the terms, and I could no longer doubt the mathematical consistency and coherence of the kind of quantum mechanics to which my calculations pointed. At first, I was deeply alarmed. I had the feeling that, through the surface of atomic phenomena, I was looking at a strangely beautiful interior, and felt almost giddy at the thought that I now had to probe this wealth of mathematical structures nature had so generously spread out before me. I was far too excited to sleep, and so, as a new day dawned, I made for the southern tip of the island, where I had been longing to climb a rock jutting out into the sea. I now did so without too much trouble, and waited for the sun to rise.
Buen trabajo esa noche. El "paper" que escribió sobre este tema tiene saltos mágicos en el razonamiento, pero llega a las conclusiones correctas. Seguiré comentando en el próximo post.
Angel "Java" Lopez