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A Quantum Theory of the Scattering of X-rays by Light Elements.Lancaster, PA & Corning, NY: American Physical Society, [1923].
First edition of the 'Compton effect,' which demonstrated the existence of quanta of electromagnetic radiation, later called photons. "This discovery 'created a sensation among the physicists of the time.' There were the inevitable controversies surrounding a discovery of such major proportions. Nevertheless, the photon idea was rapidly accepted. Sommerfeld incorporated the Compton effect in his new edition of Atombau und Spektrallinien with the comment, 'It is probably the most important discovery which could have been made in the current state of physics'" (Pais, Subtle is the Lord, p. 414). "Arthur Holly Compton will always be remembered as one of the world's great physicists. His discovery of the Compton effect, so vital in the development of quantum physics, has ensured him a secure place among the great scientists" (DSB). The explanation and measurement of the Compton effect earned Compton a share of the Nobel Prize in physics in 1927. Rare in unrestored original printed wrappers.

Compton (1892-1962) received his PhD from Princeton in 1916 for research on the intensity distribution of X-rays reflected from crystals. After a period working for the Westinghouse Company he returned to fundamental research in 1919, when he obtained one of the first National Research Council Fellowships (established by Millikan). He used it to spend a year at the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge, where he continued his experiments on the scattering of radiation. In 1920 Compton moved to Washington University in St. Louis, where he continued his work on X-ray scattering, using a Bragg spectrometer he had brought from Cambridge. By this time it had become apparent that the scattered radiation had a wavelength longer than that of the primary radiation, and that the shift of wavelength varied with the scattering angle: this became known as the Compton effect.

"It was only late in 1922, when considering all data available to him, that Compton saw the necessity for a light quantum with energy and momentum to explain the scattering of X-rays. Compton read a paper entitled 'A quantum theory of the scattering of X-rays by light elements' at a meeting of the American Physical Society in Chicago, which took place on 1 and 2 December 1922. Its abstract begins as follows:

"The hypothesis is suggested that when an X-ray quantum is scattered it spends all its energy and momentum upon some particular electron. The electron in turn scatters the ray to some definite direction. The change in momentum of the X-ray quantum due to the change in direction of its propagation results in a recoil of the scattering electron. The energy in the scattered quantum is thus less than the energy of the primary quantum by the kinetic energy of recoil of the scattering electron."

"The full paper was published a little later [the offered paper].. In: Physical Review, Second Series, Vol. 25, No. 5, May 1923, pp. 483-502

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