From the periphery: The genesis of Eugene P. Wigner's application of group theory to quantum mechanics [Book Review]
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Foundations of Chemistry 3 (1):55-78 (2001)
This paper traces the origins of Eugene Wigner's pioneering application of group theory to quantum physics to his early work in chemistry and crystallography. In the early 1920s, crystallography was the only discipline in which symmetry groups were routinely used. Wigner's early training in chemistry, and his work in crystallography with Herman Mark and Karl Weissenberg at the Kaiser Wilhelm institute for fiber research in Berlin exposed him to conceptual tools which were absent from the pedagogy available to physicists for many years to come. This both enabled and pushed him to apply the group theoretic approach to quantum physics. It took many years for the approach first introduced by Wigner in the 1920s – and whose reception by the physicists was initially problematical – to assume the pivotal place it now holds in physical theory and education. This is but one example that attests to the historic contribution made by the periphery in initiating new types of thought-perspectives and scientific careers.
|Keywords||Philosophy Chemistry/Food Science, general Physical Chemistry Philosophy of Science History|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
Arianna Borrelli (2009). The Emergence of Selection Rules and Their Encounter with Group Theory, 1913–1927. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 40 (4):327-337.
Arianna Borrelli (2009). The Emergence of Selection Rules and Their Encounter with Group Theory, 1913–1927. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 40 (4):327-337.
Similar books and articles
Karl H. Pribram (2009). Minding Quanta and Cosmology. Zygon 44 (2):451-466.
Robert Bishop (2005). Patching Physics and Chemistry Together. Philosophy of Science 72 (5):710-722.
Robert C. Bishop (2005). Patching Physics and Chemistry Together. Philosophy of Science 72 (5):710-722.
Gabor Pallo (2011). Early Impact of Quantum Physics on Chemistry: George Hevesy's Work on Rare Earth Elements and Michael Polanyi's Absorption Theory. [REVIEW] Foundations of Chemistry 13 (1):51-61.
Amit Hagar & Meir Hemmo (2006). Explaining the Unobserved: Why Quantum Theory Ain't Only About Information. Foundations of Physics 36 (9):1295-1234.
John T. Bruer (1982). The Classical Limit of Quantum Theory. Synthese 50 (2):167 - 212.
Steven French (2000). The Reasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics: Partial Structures and the Application of Group Theory to Physics. Synthese 125 (1-2):103 - 120.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads27 ( #145,112 of 1,907,187 )
Recent downloads (6 months)5 ( #161,266 of 1,907,187 )
How can I increase my downloads?