History and Foundations of Quantum Physics

 The Max Planck Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science has inaugurated a very big project: “History and Foundations of Quantum physics”: a project which is an international cooporation of researchers interested in the history and foundations of quantum physics

מכון מקס פלנק להיסטוריה ופילוסופיה של המדע מארגן פרויקט מחקר בינלאומי – היסטוריה ויסודות של פיסיקת הקוונטים. משתתפים בפרויקט חוקרים מכל העולם. רציתי להזכיר שהמנחה שלי לדוקטורט, פרופ’ מרה בלר ז”ל מהאוניברסיטה העברית, הייתה חלוצה במחקר של ההיסטוריה והיסודות של פיסיקת הקוונטים ואני מאוד מקווה שמבצעי המחקר יזכרו זאת. רשימה זו מוקדשת לזכרה.

I would like to emphasize that Professor Mara Beller zal from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem was a known expert in the history and foundations of Quantum physics. I dedicate this short piece to Professor Beller

איינשטיין כידוע לכם התווכח עם נילס בוהר בנוגע לפיסיקת הקוונטים. תוך כדי כך הוא שחרר ביטויים שנהפכו למפורסמים כמו “אלוהים לא משחק בקוביות” ו”פעולה למרחוק של רוחות רפאים”.

פסל של איינשטיין ובוהר בגן גורקי במוסקבה – פסל של V.S. Lemport

כאשר בוחנים את היחס של איינשטיין לתורת הקוונטים צריך לקחת בחשבון את מכלול הגורמים ההיסטוריים, החברתיים והאישיים שבהם היה נתון איינשטיין: איינשטיין היהודי הרגיש שנוא ונרדף באירופה, הוא הרגיש לכוד במתמטיקה של היחסות הכללית (מתמטיקה זו הובילה אותו להצלחה הגדולה הזו); הוא הלך ושקע בפיתוחים המתמטיים שבאו בעקבות היחסות הכללית והוא התבודד בגלל כל מכלול הגורמים האלה. להלן צוהר קטן למשבר שבו היה נתון איינשטיין מתוך ההתכתבות של איינשטיין עם שני בניו, הנס אלברט ואדוארד. ניתן למצוא את ההתכתבות בארכיון איינשטיין. ההתכתבות נמכרה ב-1996.

Einstein wrote to Hans Albert and Eduard Einstein, December 12, 1922, Kyoto. “The trip is wonderful, even though Japan is rather tiring. I have already given 13 lectures… Now you will really get the Nobel prize. Look around for a house. The surplus will be deposited somewhere in your names… After my return (end of March or beginning of April) I have to travel to Stockholm to receive the prize… Papa”. And

In 1921, the physics Nobel Prize was given to Einstein for his “work on theoretical physics, and in particular for your discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect, without taking into account the value which will be accorded your relativity and gravitation theories after these are confirmed in the future”. And

The announcement was made while Einstein and his wife Elsa were on route to Japen, where he gave a series of lectures on…  Relativity in November and December 1922. In 1923 Einstein gave the whole Nobel Prize, amounting to 121,000 Swedish Kroner ($32,000), to his first wife Mileva and the children, as he had promised; this enabled Mileva to purchase three houses in Zurich, in one of which she lived for the rest of her life. Einstein never received a Nobel prize for his work on either special or the general theory of relativity

Einstein to Eduard Einstein, December, 1933, Princeton. “Terrible things have happened since we last saw each other… I am one of the most hated men, and even the Swiss newspapers speak against me. But I have kept my sense of Humor… Men are like the sea, sometimes calm and friendly, sometimes stormy and treacherous, but on the whole, just water… Papa”. And


Einstein to Hans Albert Einstein, January, 1935, Princeton. “I am so completely in the clutches of the mathematical devil that I have nothing left for private correspondence. I’m pursuing such hopeless goals that my head is good for nothing else…. Papa”. And

Einstein to Hans Albert Einstein, February, 1936, “I am working very hard on a theory of matter based on the general theory of relativity. I have never encountered such mathematical obstacles. A very famous young colleague [Nathan Rosen?] is working with me, and I am enjoying our daily collaboration very much… Pater”. And

Hans Albert Comes to America. Einstein to Hans Albert, March 3, 1937, Princeton, “I am not as tough as I once was, but it’s better to work all out than to be a well-preserved shell… Papa”. And

Einstein to Hans Albert, August 30, 1937, Princeton, “Because I live in isolation my English is rotten…Papa”. And

Einstein to Hans Albert, October 30, 1938, Princeton. Hans Albert and his family are in America. Einstein is pleased “especially since you are burdened with the name Einstein, which is now detested in Germany”. And

Einstein to Hans Albert Einstein, October 19, 1942. “My work is going rather well, in that I have finally found the right form for the ‘Greenville idea’, after scribbling over mountains of paper with false starts. It will soon have progressed to the point where I can make a comparison with reality… Papa”. And

Einstein was searching to make comparison with REALITY; he lived in isolation (is this reality?); he was so completely in the clutches of the mathematical devil: a theory of matter based on the general theory of relativity; and he was one of the most hated men (a Jew in Nazi-era Europe and later a gypsy in America). However, he received a Nobel prize for his quantum of light paper


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