Article ID: CBB001251951

On the First Solvay Congress in 1911 (2011)


Late in October 1911, eighteen leading scientists from all over Europe met to the first of a famous sequence of Solvay conferences in Brussels. This historical meeting was mainly devoted to The Theory of Radiation and the Quanta, at a time when the foundations of physics were totally shaken. Although nothing positive came out (Einstein), it is interesting to see the diverging attitudes of Europe's most famous scientists in the middle of the quantum revolution. After a few general remarks about the conference, I shall focus on some of the most interesting contributions and discussions. Einstein, at 32 the youngest, was clearly most aware of the profound nature of the crises. He gave the final talk entitled The Present State of the Problem of Specific Heats, but he put his theme into the larger context of the quantum problem, and caused a barrage of challenges, in particular from Lorentz, Planck, Poincaré, and others.

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Authors & Contributors
Orens, Jeffrey
Rocci, Alessio
Kunihisa Morita
Valentini, Antony
Stuewer, Roger H.
Stone, A. Douglas
Berichte zur Wissenschaftsgeschichte
Studium: Tijdschrift voor Wetenschaps- en Universiteitgeschiedenis
Perspectives on Science
Naturwissenschaftliche Rundschau
Metascience: An International Review Journal for the History, Philosophy and Social Studies of Science
Journal of Modern Literature
Drew University
Yale University Press
Princeton University Press
Pegasus Books
Oxford University Press
Cambridge University Press
Quantum mechanics
Theoretical physics
Philosophy of science
Scientific communities; interprofessional relations
Controversies and disputes
Einstein, Albert
Bohr, Niels Henrik David
Schrödinger, Erwin
Heisenberg, Werner
De Donder, Théophile
Rosenfeld, Léon
Time Periods
20th century, early
20th century
Brussels (Belgium)
Paris (France)
Solvay Conferences

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