Bulletin of the American Physical Society
APS March Meeting 2018
Monday–Friday, March 5–9, 2018; Los Angeles, California
Session E25: The Author in Dialogue: A. Douglas Stone's Einstein and the QuantumInvited Undergraduate

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Sponsoring Units: FHP Chair: Paul CaddenZimansky, Bard Coll Room: LACC 403B 
Tuesday, March 6, 2018 8:00AM  8:36AM 
E25.00001: Einstein and Quantum Mechanics: It’s Not What You Think Invited Speaker: A. Douglas Stone Einstein is well known for his rejection of quantum mechanics in the form it emerged from the work of Heisenberg, Born and Schrodinger in 1926. Much less appreciated are the many seminal contributions he made to quantum theory prior to his final scientific verdict: that the theory was at best incomplete. In this talk I present an overview of Einstein’s many conceptual breakthroughs and place them in historical context. I argue that Einstein, much more than Planck, introduced the concept of quantization of energy in atomic mechanics. Einstein proposed the photon, the first forcecarrying particle discovered for a fundamental interaction, and he recognized the emerging notion of waveparticle duality. He was the first to emphasize the intrinsic randomness in atomic processes, and introduced the notion of transition probabilities, embodied in the A and B coefficients for atomic emission and absorption. He also preceded Born in suggesting the interpretation of wave fields as probability densities for particles, specifically for photons and electromagnetic fields. Finally, stimulated by Bose, he introduced the notion of indistinguishable particles in the quantum sense and derived the condensed phase of bosons, which is one of the fundamental states of matter at low temperatures. His work on quantum statistics in turn directly stimulated Schrodinger’s discovery of the wave equation of quantum mechanics. It was only due to his rejection of the final theory that he is not generally recognized as the most central figure in this historic achievement of human civilization. 
Tuesday, March 6, 2018 8:36AM  9:12AM 
E25.00002: An Unintentional Consequence: The Quantum in the Framework of the 19th Century Physics Invited Speaker: Massimiliano Badino There is an ingrained tendency to see the emergence of the quantum hypothesis almost exclusively from the human side. The deep break with the prequantum physics has been often described in terms of an “act of desperation” (echoing Planck’s famous expression in a letter to Robert Wood) and Planck himself has been declared an “unwilling revolutionary”. While these metaphors correctly stress the element of contingency intrinsic in this story, they run the risk to underestimate the structural features of the 19th century physics that prepared the discovery of the quantum. In this paper, I argue that the quantum was the, admittedly unintentional, consequence of two major features. On the one hand, the findesiècle physics provided Planck with a number of conceptual and formal resources, primarily the Fourier series and combinatorial techniques, which he creatively adapted to his approach to radiation theory. On the other, thermodynamics, statistical mechanics, and electromagnetic theory imposed a series of constraints through which Planck had to navigate in order to construct a consistent theory. Ultimately, it was the extreme difficulty of integrating these multiple elements that made the introduction of the quantum a desperate measure. 
Tuesday, March 6, 2018 9:12AM  9:48AM 
E25.00003: Wave mechanics versus matrix mechanics Invited Speaker: Michel Janssen Given its focus on Einstein, A. Douglas Stone's book understandably emphasizes the history of wave mechanics and downplays the history of matrix mechanics. Both the DiracJordan statistical transformation theory and von Neumann's Hilbert space formalism, however, grew out of the latter. And it's not just for historical reasons that it's important to give a balanced account of the development of both. It may also affect how we think about and teach quantum mechanics today. One can argue that wave mechanics suggests an interpretation of quantum mechanics in which wave functions or state vectors represent what's real in the quantum world, while matrix mechanics suggests an interpretation in which state vectors represent families of probability distributions over values of observables with the values found upon measurement of the chosen observables representing what's real in the quantum world. If this alignment between different lines of development of quantum mechanics and different interpretations holds up, one's assessment of the relative importance of these lines of development will depend on what kind of interpretation of the theory one prefers. 
Tuesday, March 6, 2018 9:48AM  10:24AM 
E25.00004: When did particles become “indistinguishable”? Einstein, Schrödinger, Heisenberg, Dirac, and the interpretive flexibility of mathematicaltheoretical apparatus in the emergence of quantum statistics Invited Speaker: Daniela Monaldi Quantum physics has changed the concept of particles profoundly. This change—commonly summarized with the formula, “particles have become indistinguishable”—did not stem from a deliberate theoretical choice or a single experimental finding. It was, rather, the result of prolonged efforts to arrive at a unified interpretation of the mathematicaltheoretical apparatus of the quantum statistics and the quantum mechanics of multiparticle systems. Several interpretations were sketched in the 1920s and 1930s, as the possibilities, limits, and conditions of the quantum theoretical technologies were probed on different physical systems in different contexts of theoretical and experimental practice. This paper examines the first formulation and interpretation of quantum statistics by Albert Einstein, and relates it to the early interpretative efforts of Edwin Schrödinger, Werner Heisenberg, and Paul Dirac, showing how professional cultures and interactions shaped the diverse views of these pioneers. 
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