Book ID: CBB166235354

Establishing Quantum Physics in Munich: Emergence of Arnold Sommerfeld’s Quantum School (2020)


This book traces the history of Arnold Sommerfeld’s famous “nursery of theoretical physics” at the University of Munich and demonstrates the centrality of developing personal and institutional networks for the emergence of quantum theory. Sommerfeld, originally a mathematician with little interest in theoretical physics, was a somewhat unlikely choice for a chair of theoretical physics when he was appointed in 1906. However, he quickly reoriented his research focus towards physics, forstering a keen interest in experimental research. Possibly even more important for the development of quantum theory in the coming years was his exceptional talent as a charismatic teacher and prolific networker, which turned Munich into a central node in the fast-growing network of quantum physicists in the 1920s. It is no coincidence that the two most talented “child prodigies” of 1920s quantum physics, Wolfgang Pauli and Werner Heisenberg, were his students, nor that by the end of the decade about a dozen of Sommerfeld’s former disciples held chairs in theoretical physics. The book is directed at historians of science and physics, as well as all those interested in the history of science diplomacy and networking.

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Authors & Contributors
Eckert, Michael
Cassidy, David C.
David C. Clary
Talbot, Chris
Artin, Tom
Blum, Alexander
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics
Physics in Perspective
European Physical Journal H
Notes and Records: The Royal Society Journal of the History of Science
Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences
British Journal for the Philosophy of Science
Springer International Publishing
Johns Hopkins University Press
Bellevue Literary Press
Quantum mechanics
Atomic, nuclear, and particle physics
Science and society
Scientific communities; interprofessional relations
Societies; institutions; academies
Heisenberg, Werner
Sommerfeld, Arnold Johannes Wilhelm
Pauli, Wolfgang Ernst
Von Neumann, John
Bohr, Niels Henrik David
Schrödinger, Erwin
Time Periods
20th century, early
20th century
20th century, late
19th century
Munich (Germany)
Copenhagen (Denmark)
United States
Berlin (Germany)
Royal Society of London

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