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Waves and Quanta" in Nature, No. 2815, Vol. 112, October 13, 1923, p. 540 - FIRST EDITION IN ORIGINAL WRAPS of the last of three papers in which Louis de Broglie brought together the concepts of the particle and the wave, drawing the analogy between light and matter with the hypothesis that every massive object should be associated with a quantum wave as well. By introducing the seminal new thought that particle-wave duality should apply not only to radiation, but also to matter, de Broglie not only heralded a new era in physics, he and Schrodinger, whose work came later, essentially created quantum mechanics. The three Nature papers were very important summaries of three papers de Broglie published in Comptes Rendus in 1923. Knowing the import of his discovery, de Broglie wrote summaries of each Comptes Rendus paper, this, as said, being the third. de Broglie was influenced by Einstein's work on the particle nature of light, writing that "After long reflection in solitude and meditation, I suddenly had the idea during the year 1923 that the discovery made by Einstein in 1905 should be generalized by extending it to all material particles and notably to electrons" (Preface to PhD thesis). The special theory of relativity founded by Einstein showed that matter itself was a form of energy. While explaining the photoelectric effect, Einstein proposed that electromagnetic radiation, a wave, can also behave as particle (photon). Building on Einstein, de Broglie proposed that just as waves can behave as particles, for instance electrons, can also behave as it were a wave motion (a de Broglie wave) with wavelength h/p, where p is the momentum of the electron and h is Planck's constant. He summed up his discovery in the following words: "Because the photon, which, as everyone knows, is a wave, is also a particle, why should not the electron (or any material particle) also be a wave?" In this paper, de Broglie writes that "The interplay between the propagation of the particle and of the waves could be expressed in more formal terms as an identity between the fundamental variational principles of Fermat (rays) and Maupertuis (particles) as de Broglie discussed it further in his last communication. Therein he also considered some thermodynamic consequences of his generalized wave-particle duality. He showed in particular how one could, using Lord Rayleigh's 1900 formula for the number of stationary modes for phase waves, obtain Planck's division of the mechanical phase space into quantum cells" (DSB). After the publication of the three papers in Nature, de Brogie achieved worldwide recognition for his discovery, and in 1929 he received the Nobel Prize for physics. In 1930, Schrodinger would extend de Broglie's work into a full-fledged wave mechanics, viewing electrons as continuous clouds and introducing 'wave mechanics' thus contributing to the creation of quantum mechanics. CONDITION & DETAILS: 4to. (10.5 x 7.5 inches; 262 x 188mm). Original paper wraps with slight repair at the spine. Ex-libris bearing only very light, all but invisible stamps on the front wrap (see image). Clean and bright inside and out. Near fine condition. [Bookseller: Atticus Rare Books]
Last Found On: 2014-08-29
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