Quantum Mechanics Beginnings

The Nobel Prize in Physics 1932

Werner Heisenberg

Award Ceremony Speech

Your Majesty, Your Royal Highnesses, Ladies  and Gentlemen.

This year’s Nobel Prizes for Physics are dedicated to the new  atomic physics. The prizes, which the Academy of Sciences has at  its disposal, have namely been awarded to those men, Heisenberg,  Schrödinger, and Dirac, who have created and developed the  basic ideas of modern atomic physics.

It was Planck who, in 1900,  first expressed the thought that light had atomic properties, and  the theory put forward by Planck was later more exhaustively  developed by Einstein. The  conviction, arrived at by different paths, was that matter could  not create or absorb light, other than in quantities of energy  which represented the multiple of a specific unit of energy. This  unit of energy received the name of light quantum or photon. The  magnitude of the photon is different for different colours of  light, but if the quantity of energy of a photon is divided by  the frequency of oscillation of the ray of light, the same number  is always obtained, the so-called Planck’s constant h.  This constant is thus of a universal nature and forms one of the  foundation stones for modern atomic physics.

Since light too was thus divided into atoms it appeared that all  phenomena could be explained as interactions between atoms of  various kinds. Mass was also attributed to the atom of light, and  the effects which were observed when light rays were incident  upon matter could be explained with the help of the law for the  impact of bodies.

Not many years passed before the found connection between the  photon and the light ray led to an analogous connection between  the motion of matter and the propagation of waves being sought  for.

For a long time it had been known that the customary description  of the propagation of light in the form of rays of light, which  are diffracted and reflected on transmission from one medium to  another, was only an approximation to the true circumstances,  which only held good so long as the wavelength of the light was  infinitesimally small compared with the dimensions of the body  through which the light passed, and of the instruments with which  it was observed. In reality light is propagated in the form of  waves which spread out in all directions according to the laws  for the propagation of waves.

[Click on the link above to read the whole speech]


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  • marildi  On November 11, 2011 at 7:52 PM

    I’m curious, since this is from 1935, do the same theories stand today, unaltered or improved upon?

  • vinaire  On November 11, 2011 at 9:56 PM

    I don’t know yet. I am just starting from the beginning. There is a lot here to chew on.


  • marildi  On November 11, 2011 at 9:57 PM

    “It must be further considered, that it is impossible to carry out the measurement of the situation in an atom or molecule without the employed instruments, illumination, etc. themselves altering the situation which is under examination. The light emitted from the electrons becomes modified in the optical instruments.

    In the above quote from the article, I get how the instruments that measure will themselves alter the “observation.” But other sources seem to be claiming that it is a matter of consciousness, i.e. conscious (knowing, aware) observation by those using the instruments. Can you shed more light on this for me, how it works?

    • vinaire  On November 12, 2011 at 8:35 AM

      My understanding is that means to become aware (the instruments) influence the awareness of the phenomenon being observed, just as it is noted above.


  • marildi  On November 12, 2011 at 1:37 AM

    Vin, I’ve been watching a series of videos, each a 9-10 min segment of a 90-minute talk by a “consciousness physicist.” There’s some good, simplified data about quantum physics, and video #8 (the one I’m posting) has a description about unknowable that reminded me of many things you have said. Note, by “Big TOE,” the lecturer is referring to his Big Theory of Everything – he calls it Big because it includes not just physics but metaphysics, based partly on personal experience of a metaphysical nature.

    • marildi  On November 12, 2011 at 1:50 AM

      p.s. In video #1 he states that quantum mechanics hasn’t really changed since the 20’s and 30’s. So I guess that answers my question about the speech you posted – it apparently is not stale dated. Good to know since it’s a pretty good summary of the history and basics.

    • vinaire  On November 12, 2011 at 9:10 AM

      I like this video. It is a pretty good explanation of the Unknowable as a super-system, which we cannot know until we get there.

      But, the process of “neti, neti” says that there can be infinty of such super-systems, each beyond the previous one, and that there will always remain something that is beyond our reach.

      All I am doing is applying the concept of Infinite series to knowingness. And as I have said many times, that this concept helps uncover our hidden considerations, such as here, regarding Axiom #3:


      See my comment of 11/12/11 added to what I had written earlier in December 2009. This is the progress I have made.


      • marildi  On November 12, 2011 at 3:14 PM

        I thought you would like it. As I said, it sounded like your ideas about Unknowable. And I like your additional comments on that forum, such as:
        “I call it ‘Unknowable’ because it does not exist from any considered point of view.”

      • vinaire  On November 12, 2011 at 3:25 PM


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