Angel "Java" Lopez en Blog

18 de Enero, 2017

Publicado el 18 de Enero, 2017, 16:20

Ya he escrito varios posts sobre el desarrollo de la mecánica cuántica, alrededor del año 1925, y quiero extenderlos a la época que le precedió y siguió. Ver por ejemplo:

Dirac y la teoría de Heisenberg
Dirac revisando el trabajo de Heisenberg
Erwin Schrödinger creando su ecuación
Dirac y las ecuaciones de la mecánica cuántica
Heisenberg desarrollando la mecánica cuántica
Desarrollo de la mecánica cuántica, por Max Born
La ecuación de Schrodinger

En estos días, me encuentro con el relato de Abraham País, que fue contemporáneo de los avances que vinieron más tarde, y es interesante ver cómo ya se tomaba diferente a esos "quiebres" de la física básica:

The way I was first exposed to quantum mechanics, not long after 1935 when I began my university studies, was no different from the way I learned, say, thermodynamics. There were courses on the subject and there were books, some more helpful for an understanding of the principles, some better for learning how to solve problems. I learned some experimental facts about electron behaving as particles in collision processes, as waves in diffraction effects. I was awed by the success of the Schrodinger equation for the hydrogen atom and found the introduction of quantum mechanical probabilities via the continuity equation a most plausible step. Not did I experience any difficulty in accepting Heisenberg's uncertainty relations, served up with the help of a classical picture of the dispersion of wave packets combined with E = hv and p = hk. Soon I was happily making quantum mechanical exercises. I had no sense whatever at the time of the stir and struggle which, only ten years earlier, had accompanied the introduction of the new mechanics. I knew a few dates but those seemed to belong to antiquity.

Pero cuando comenzó a tener contacto con Bohr, y otros que participaron en esa "revolución" de 1925 y cercanías, empezó a darse cuenta lo que fueron esos tiempos, lo que significó para sus protagonistas:

In 1946 I went to Copenhagen and for a brief period became Niels Bohr's close colaborator. Of that experience I have written: 'I must admit that in the early stages of collaboration I did not follow Bohr's line of thinking a good deal of the time... I failed to see the relevance of such remarks as that
Schrodinger was completely shocked in 1926 when he was told of the probability interpretation of quantum mechanics, or a reference to some objection by Einstein in 1928, which apparently had no bearing whatever on the subject at hand. But it did not take long before the fog started to lift... Bohr would relive the struggles which it took before the content of quantum mechanics was understood and accepted... Through steady exposure to Bohr's "daily struggle" and his ever repeated emphasis on "the epistemological lesson which quantum mechanics has taught us", to use a favorite phrase of his, my understanding deepened not only of the history of physics but of physics itself'.

Además de Bohr, otros le comentaron sus reacciones:

In the course of time, other physicists who were active during the years of discovery of quantum mechanics also told me occasionally of their reactions. Uhlenbeck said to me that it was as if within the span of a few years his life had changed. Wigner told me of his astonishment upon reading Born and Jordan's paper which explained that Heisenberg had unwittingly introduced matrix methods and of his sense that now there seemed to be hope after all for a rationale of quantum theory. Several members of the 1925 generation have told me that Heisenberg's paper which marks the beginning of the new era took a while, but not long, to sink it. Even now this paper, one of the most admirable contributions to physics, is hard to read without knowledge of its subsequent elaboration.

Estoy tratando de comentar el "paper" de Heisenberg en:

Entiendiendo a Heisenberg

Fueron tiempos muy interesantes. Encuentro este texto en el excelente "Inward bound, on matter and forces in the physical world" de País.

Nos leemos!

Angel "Java" Lopez

Por ajlopez, en: General