These articles and speeches by the Nobel Prize-winning physicist date from 1934 to 1958. Rather than expositions on quantum physics, the papers are philosophical in nature, exploring the relevance of atomic physics to many areas of human endeavor. Includes an essay in which Bohr and Einstein discuss quantum and_wave equation theories. 1961 edition.
Introductory survey -- Atomic theory and mechanics -- The quantum postulate and the recent development of atomic theory -- The quantum of action and the description of nature -- The atomic theory and the fundamental principles underlying the description of nature.
Quantum physics and philosophy--causality and complementarity -- The unit of human knowledge -- The connection between the sciences -- Light and life revisited -- The Rutherford memorial lecture 1958 -- The genesis of quantum mechanics -- The Solvay meetings and the development of quantum physics.
SummaryA short exposition is given of the foundation of the causal description in classical physics and the failure of the principle of causality in coping with atomic phenomena. It is emphasized that the individuality of the quantum processes excludes a separation between a behaviour of the atomic objects and their interaction with the measuring instruments denning the conditions under which the phenomena appear. This circumstance forces us to recognize a novel relationship, conveniently termed complementarity, between empirical evidence obtained under different (...) experimental conditions. An appropriate tool for a complementary mode of description is provided by the quantum‐mechanical formalism which allows us to account for regularities of definite or statistical character beyond the grasp of classical physical explanation. – N. B. (shrink)
On several occasions I have pointed out that the lesson taught us by recent developments in physics regarding the necessity of a constant extension of the frame of concepts appropriate for the classification of new experiences leads us to a general epistemological attitude which might help us to avoid apparent conceptual difficulties in other fields of science as well. Since, however, the opinion has been expressed from various sides that this attitude would appear to involve a mysticism incompatible with the (...) true spirit of science, I am very glad to use the present opportunity of addressing this assembly of scientists working in quite different fields but united in their striving to find a common ground for our knowledge, to come back to this question, and above all to try to clear up the misunderstandings which have arisen. (shrink)
v. 1. Atomic theory and the description of nature -- v. 2. Essays 1932-1957 on atomic physics and human knowledge -- v. 3. Essays 1958-1962 on atomic physics and human knowledge -- v. 4. Causality and complementarity.
Introduction -- Light and life -- Biology and atomic physics -- Natural philosophy and human cultures -- Discussion with Einstein on epistemological problems in atomic physics -- Unity of knowledge -- Atoms and human knowledge -- Physical science and the problem of life.