Article ID: CBB576846777

Indistinguishable elements in the origins of quantum statistics: The case of Fermi–Dirac statistics (2022)


In this paper, we deal with the historical origins of Fermi–Dirac statistics, focusing on the contribution by Enrico Fermi of 1926. We argue that this statistics, as opposed to that of Bose–Einstein, has been somewhat overlooked in the usual accounts of the old quantum theory. Our main objective is to offer a critical analysis of Fermi’s seminal paper and its immediate impact. Secondly, we are also interested in assessing the status of the particle concept in the years 1926–1927, especially regarding the germ of quantum indistinguishability. We will see, for example, that the first applications of the Fermi–Dirac statistics to the study of metals or stellar matter had a technical nature, and that their main instigators barely touched upon interpretative matters. Finally, we will discuss the reflections and remarks made in these respects in two famous events in physics of 1927, the Como conference and the fifth Solvay congress.

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Authors & Contributors
Andrea Oldofredi
Andrea Mazzola
Massimiliano Sassoli de Bianchi
Giraud, Eva
Martin Calamari
Wendt, Alexander
Physis: Rivista Internazionale di Storia della Scienza
Foundations of Science
European Physical Journal H
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
Social Studies of Science
Revue d'Histoire des Sciences
Luigi Pellegrini Editore
University of Chicago Press
Kluwer Academic
Harvard University Press
Basic Books
Quantum theory
Philosophy of science
Particles (nuclear physics)
Quantum mechanics
Atomic structure
Fermi, Enrico
Einstein, Albert
Dirac, Paul Adrien Maurice
Wick, Gian Carlo
Karen Barad
Rosenfeld, Léon
Time Periods
20th century
20th century, early
19th century
17th century
Lisbon (Portugal)
Turin (Italy)
United States
Soviet Union
Rome (Italy)

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