The conceptual development of quantum mechanics.

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9780070322790: The conceptual development of quantum mechanics.

Excerpt from the Preface: It is the purpose of this study to trace the conceptual development of quantum mechanics from its inception to its formulation as a full-fledged theory of atomic physics, from its status as a rather doubtful ad hoc hypothesis to that of an imposing intellectual structure of great beauty. All the great theories in the history of physics - from Aristotelian mechanics and its medieval elaborations, through Newtonian dynamics with its Lagrangian or Hamiltonian modifications, to Maxwellian electro-dynamics and Einsteinian relativity - have been subjected repeatedly to historico-critical investigations, and their conceptual foundations have been thoroughly analyszed. But no comprehensive scholarly study of the conceptual development of quantum mechanics has heretofore appeared. The popular or semiscientific publications available hardly skim the surface of the subject. And the few, though important. Essays on the topic written by the originators of the theory themselves are mostly confined to a particular aspect or to the defense of a specific philosophical position. The publication of a comprehensive and coherent analysis of the conceptual development of quantum mechanics, the only consistent theory of atomic processes, and hence a foundation of modern science, seems therefore to fill an important lacuna in the literature on the history and philosophy of physics.

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