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Sources of Quantum Mechanics [Hardcover]

B. L. van der Waerden
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Dec 1967
Seventeen seminal papers, published from 1917 to 1926, develop and formulate modern quantum theory. Contributors include many of the leading physicists of the early 20th century: Einstein, Ehrenfest, Bohr, Born, Van Vleck, Heisenberg, Dirac, Pauli, and Jordan. The editor, a distinguished Dutch mathematician, provides a 59-page historical introduction.
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 442 pages
  • Publisher: Elsevier Science Publishing Co Inc.,U.S. (Dec 1967)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0720401119
  • ISBN-13: 978-0720401110
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,739,400 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Where is Schrodinger? 10 Feb 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
It is as if Schrodinger never existed. Yet I always thought that his equation accounted for qm in a way that no other theory did. Even at the time of its inception, people fell upon the wave equation with some relief, after trying to understand the Heisenberg formulation.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Completely described" 15 July 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This volume is completely described by its title and the Look Inside pages, save that the first page of the Preface is omitted. In short, Max Born had conceived of publishing a collection of seminal papers on quantum mechanics (a term he claims to have coined [see page 20]), after translating into English those originally published in German (here the majority), and discussed the selection with Pauli and the publishers' consultant, Paul Rosbaud. After the latter's death, the project was completed by the present editor (also a member of the translation team), following discussions also with Dirac, Heisenberg, Hund, Jordan, Kuhn and Wigner. [Preface]

Naturally, most papers assume knowledge of advanced mathematics, and all papers of classical electrodynamics, as mostly does the editor's Introduction [see Look Inside pages]. But, to those of us lacking such knowledge, the latter gives some assistance (whilst remaining essentially an introduction to the historical development of the physics and its mathematical interpretation) and at least the introductions to most of the papers can be followed. Paper 5 contains but a single equation, and is in Bohr's inimitable style.

As can be seen [page vi] various papers were omitted (including those on Wave Mechanics which, it was hoped, would form a second volume).

It will be of interest primarily to physics undergraduates (such as myself) and to historians of science. I believe it presents the most convenient, if not only, English translation of some of these important sources.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars uncomplicated 18 July 2011
As usual administration and transportation proceeded smoothly; the order was received in excellent condition ; transportation time UK-NL: may 31 - june 18.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.8 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice collection of papers leading to quantum revolution, but some might feel discouraged reading 13 Jun 2008
By qp~h SH - Published on Amazon.com
It's no wonder some might feel frustrated or discouraged reading the papers in this collection. Even though those papers were written several decades ago, they had been all forefront research papers then. Some papers should be difficult even for a physics major if one is not in the specific field; some are difficult because of the usage of "old-style" notations such as writing matrix equations in a certain way; still you may find a couple papers very much readable even with a minimal amount of training in mathematical skills.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great, but... 17 April 2013
By Justin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This goes beyond a simple collection of the translated papers (which could probably be found free of charge elsewhere): it starts with a 60-page introduction where the author summarizes each paper, giving its context in the development of quantum physics broadly, and its relation to the other papers in particular -- but even beyond that, the editor provides plentiful background, clarification and anecdotes from his (obviously voluminous) personal correspondence with the authors.

My one gripe: while all of the actual papers are provided in English, the editor gives quotations from correspondence (both his own and that between the authors and their collaborators) in the original language (mostly German) without translation. This isn't an insurmountable barrier to understanding the gist, but it seems like an odd choice in a collection of translated articles.
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Where is Schroedinger's paper? 2 May 2011
By Pichierri Fabio - Published on Amazon.com
This book collects seventeen papers which contributed to laying down the foundations of quantum mechanics. Part I comprises eleven papers (1-11) dealing with the old quantum theory of the pre-Heisemberg period 1900-1925; Part II contains six papers (12-17) concerned with the new quantum theory. Paper nr. 12 is the famous Heisemberg's 1925 paper written when the brilliant, young physicist stationed in Heligoland (or Helgoland in German), an island in the North Sea, while recovering from an attack of hay fever. This paper is well known for it being difficult to read since Heisemberg assumed that several equations were known to his colleagues and, hence, spared them of all the mathematical derivations. Help comes from the author, Dutch mathematician and historian of science professor van der Waerden, who included inside the Introduction a summary of paper 12 (see page 28). The remaining papers in Part II were authored by Born, Jordan, Dirac, and Pauli. A mysterious surprise is the absence of any paper written by Schroedinger, the Austrian physicist who is credited, together with Heisemberg and Dirac, of being the father of quantum mechanics (for his biography see Moore's book: "Schroedinger: Life and Thought"). In 1926 he wrote in the journal Annalen der Physik four important papers, one of which introduces the famous Schroedinger eigenvalue equation. The exclusion from Part II of Schroedinger's paper(s) is puzzling while the book index associates to his name only three pages (52, 56, and 379). This absence (it would be interesting to know why) forced me to assign it only three stars.
6 of 30 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Over My Head 31 Aug 2007
By Fred Dashevsky - Published on Amazon.com
I have read several dozen books on the subject of Cosmology and related topics. This is a technically oriented book filled with intricate mathematical formulas and is clearly geared for advanced students. I am not shy about mathematics or formulas as a rule and have handled other books on Quantum mechanics, relativity and physics but this book was just over my head.
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