The Quantum Revolution
By the early 1920s, various phenomena had revealed a gaping
hole in the fabric of physics. At the same time, the explanations proffered by
physicists such as Einstein and Bohr held out the promise of a radical reconstruction.
The task of integrating these insights into a coherent theory of subatomic
physics fell to Werner Heisenberg and Erwin Schrödinger. Although they were
working independently, their approaches were sufficiently similar to be
formally merged into quantum mechanics. This new theory constituted a radical
shift in the conceptual foundations of physics.
To read about
the problems in interpreting blackbody radiation and the first proposal in
quantum theory see the ultraviolet catastrophe. To read about how Einstein
helped early quantum theory develop see the photoelectric effect. To read about
the paradoxical behaviour of light and subatomic particles see waveparticle
duality.
Choose from
the following links to investigate three key aspects of quantum mechanics: the
Schrödinger Wave Equation, Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle, and the EPR
Paradox.
SeeShaking the Foundations: the
implications of quantum theory for a summary of the ways the quantum view of
the world departs from classical physics.
To read
different interpretations of how quantum theory relates to reality see
Schrödinger’s Cat and the meaning of quantum theory.
Email
link  Feedback  Contributed by: Dr.
Christopher Southgate
Source: God, Humanity and the
Cosmos (T&T Clark, 1999)
