Article ID: CBB000470252

Paul Ehrenfest on the Necessity of Quanta (1911): Discontinuity, Quantization, Corpuscularity, and Adiabatic Invariance (2004)


Our object in this paper is to study the antecedents, contents, implications, and impact of a not-well-known or appreciated paper by EHRENFEST in 1911 on the essential nature of the different quantum hypotheses in radiation theory. After a careful analysis of EHRENFEST's notebooks, correspondence, and publications, we conclude that the essential points of EHRENFEST's paper were not perceived to a large extent, and hence that its implications were not considered thoroughly. Specifically, we show that EHRENFEST contributed significantly to the clarifications of the differences between PLANCK's and EINSTEIN's respective quantum hypotheses, as well as to those of the concepts discontinuity, quantization, and corpuscularity.

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Authors & Contributors
Pérez, Enric
Hilgevoord, Jan
Navarrho, Luis
Sommer, Klaus P.
Brush, Stephen G.
Camilleri, Kristian
Archive for History of Exact Sciences
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics
Physics in Perspective
Llull: Revista de la Sociedad Española de Historia de las Ciencias y de las Técnicas
Berichte zur Wissenschaftsgeschichte
Historical Studies in the Physical and Biological Sciences
Princeton University Press
Quantum mechanics
Electromagnetic waves; radiation
Mathematical physics
Theoretical physics
Statistical mechanics
Ehrenfest, Paul
Bohr, Niels Henrik David
Einstein, Albert
Schrödinger, Erwin
Heisenberg, Werner
Pauli, Wolfgang Ernst
Time Periods
20th century, early
Rijksuniversiteit te Leiden

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