On the verge of Umdeutung in Minnesota: Van Vleck and the correspondence principle. Part two

Anthony Duncan, Michel Janssen

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Abstract

This is the second installment of a two-part paper on developments in quantum dispersion theory leading up to Heisenberg's Umdeutung paper. In telling this story, we have taken a 1924 paper by John H. Van Vleck in The Physical Review as our main guide. In this second part we present the detailed derivations on which our narrative in the first part rests. The central result that we derive is the Kramers dispersion formula, which played a key role in the thinking that led to Heisenberg's Umdeutung paper. We derive classical formulae for the dispersion, emission, and absorption of radiation and use Bohr's correspondence principle to construct their quantum counterparts both for the special case of a charged harmonic oscillator (Sect. 5) and for arbitrary non-degenerate multiply-periodic systems (Sect. 6). We then rederive these results in modern quantum mechanics (Sect. 7).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)625-671
Number of pages47
JournalArchive for History of Exact Sciences
Volume61
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2007

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