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The Physical Principles of the Quantum Theory [Paperback]

Werner Heisenberg , Carl Eckart , F.C. Hoyt
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Book Description

June 1, 1949 0486601137 978-0486601137

The contributions of few contemporary scientists have been as far reaching in their effects as those of Nobel Laureate Werner Heisenberg. His matrix theory is one of the bases of modern quantum mechanics, while his "uncertainty principle" has altered our whole philosophy of science.
In this classic, based on lectures delivered at the University of Chicago, Heisenberg presents a complete physical picture of quantum theory. He covers not only his own contributions, but also those of Bohr, Dirac, Bose, de Broglie, Fermi, Einstein, Pauli, Schrodinger, Somerfield, Rupp, ·Wilson, Germer, and others in a text written for the physical scientist who is not a specialist in quantum theory or in modern mathematics.
Partial contents: introduction (theory and experiment, fundamental concepts); critique of physical concepts of the corpuscular theory (uncertainty relations and their illustration); critique of the physical concepts of the wave theory (uncertainty relations for waves, discussion of an actual measurement of the electromagnetic field); statistical interpretation of quantum theory (mathematical considerations, interference of probabilities, Bohr's complementarity); discussion of important experiments (C. T. R. Wilson, diffraction , Einstein-Rupp, emission, absorption and dispersion of radiation, interference and conservation laws, Compton effect, radiation fluctuation phenomena, relativistic formulation of the quantum theory).
An 80-page appendix on the mathematical apparatus of the quantum theory is provided for the specialist.


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The Physical Principles of the Quantum Theory + Lectures on Quantum Mechanics + Thermodynamics (Dover Books on Physics)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications (June 1, 1949)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486601137
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486601137
  • Product Dimensions: 2.2 x 3.1 x 0.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #60,096 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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50 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heisenberg's motivation January 22, 2004
Format:Paperback
Not really for beginners in spite of appearances, this book sketches Heisenberg's path in discovering the canonical commutation rules of quantum mechanics. After trying unsuccessfully for years to quantize the helium atom via the Bohr-Sommerfeld quantization rules (which attempt Einstein had already explained in 1917 to be hopeless, because the classical 3-body problem is nonintegrable), Heisenberg was finally motivated by the example of relativity (where absolute time had to be abandoned) to give up the assumption that the position and momentum of a point particle are simultaneously predictable. To follow Heisenberg's reasoning the reader must first understand action-angle variables in classical mechanics. With Einstein's 1917 paper in hindsight, the three body problem representing the helium atom energy spectrum was finally approximated semi-clasically around 1990 based on a path-integral approximation to a chaotic Hamiltonian system.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic in quantum mechanics December 19, 2001
Format:Paperback
This book is the standard introduction to - well, to the physical principles underlying the mathematical formalism of quantum mechanics. While it is dated in terms of that mathematical formalism, it has never been superseded in its analyses. Every serious student of quantum physics will encounter it, sooner or later, in the original or in paraphrases in newer monographs on quantum theory.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Hard Read June 18, 2005
Format:Paperback
I was pleasantly surprised by this book. It uses technical language (which can at times can become difficult), to express the physical context surrounding the development of Quantum mechanics, and deal with the matter at hand (pardon the pun). Quantum theory has a reputation as being difficult, confronting and unbelievable. However this book expresses logically and in detail, the physical principles of the Quantum theory, by the great Werner Heisenberg himself.

A great book if your thought needs provoking...
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars some good content, but not terribly accessible December 5, 2009
Format:Paperback
A lot of the interesting bits are covered in the appendix, but I found it too dense to attempt to read (an attempt to cram too much into a short book).

After learning the subject from other sources this would probably be interesting to revisit to get a historical perspective, but I don't rate it high for learning from.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A treatise from one of the true geniuses of our time...this book along with Dirac's "Principles of Quantum Mechanics" provides insight into the origins of matrix mechanics.
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