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Zur Erklärung einiger Eigenschaften der Spektren aus der Quantenmechanik des Drehelektrons [Parts I – III]. Offprints

Von Neumann, John (1903-57) and Eugene Wigner (1902-95). Zur Erklärung einiger Eigenschaften der Spektren aus der Quantenmechanik des Drehelektrons [Parts I – III]. Together three offprints from Zeitschrift für Physik 47, Heft 3 – 4 (1928); 49, Heft 1 – 2 (1928); and 51, Heft 11 – 12 (1928). 203-220; 73-94; 844-858pp. 230 x 158 mm. Original printed self-wrappers, faint soiling and spotting. Fine. From the library of physicist Gregor Wentzel (1898-1978), with his name in an unidentified hand on the front wrappers of the first two parts and his signature on the front wrapper of the third part.

First Editions, Offprint Issues. Wigner, who won a share of the 1963 Nobel Prize in physics for his application of fundamental symmetry principles to the theory of the atomic nucleus, introduced group-theoretical methods into quantum mechanics. He began with a paper published in 1927 (“Ãœber nichtkombinierende Terme in der neueren Quantentheorie, zweiter Teil,” not present here), in which

some rules of term zoology were deduced, but the [electron] spin was sill left out of account. In the [1928] papers of von Neumann and Wigner, the whole apparatus of group characters and representations was put into action and the complete system of term zoology, including selection rules, intensity formulae [and] Stark effect was developed (Van der Waerden, quoted in Mehra & Rechenberg, 6, p. 488).

“Von Neumann and Wigner wished—by exploiting the elementary symmetry of atomic systems (notably, the identity of all electrons and the equality of all space directions) and the specific spin-property of the electron—to derive essentially the complete spectroscopic structure of atoms” (Mehra & Rechenberg, 6, pp. 496-497). The papers were largely Wigner’s work, but he included his good friend von Neumann as co-author in gratitude for von Neumann’s having introduced him to the works of F. G. Frobenius and Issai Schur on group theory.

These offprints are from the library of theoretical physicist Gregor Wentzel, who also made contributions to quantum mechanics; he is best known for the Wentzel-Kramers-Brillouin approximation for finding approximate solutions to linear partial differential equations with spatially varying coefficients.

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Last Found On: 2014-10-09           Check availability:      Biblio    


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