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Einstein's Miraculous Argument of 1905: The Thermodynamic Grounding of Light Quanta

Norton, John D (2008) Einstein's Miraculous Argument of 1905: The Thermodynamic Grounding of Light Quanta. In: HQ1: Conference on the History of Quantum Physics: Preprint 350. Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, 67 - 82. ISBN UNSPECIFIED

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Abstract

A major part of Einstein’s 1905 light quantum paper is devoted to arguing that high frequency heat radiation bears the characteristic signature of a microscopic energy distribution of independent, spatially localized components. The content of his light quantum proposal was precarious in that it contradicted the great achievement of nineteenth century physics, the wave theory of light and its accommodation in electrodynamics. However the methods used to arrive at it were both secure and familiar to Einstein in 1905. A mainstay of Einstein’s research in statistical physics, extending to his earliest publications of 1901 and 1902, had been the inferring of the microscopic constitution of systems from their macroscopic properties. In his statistical work of 1905, Einstein dealt with several thermal systems consisting of many, independent, spatially localized components. They were the dilute sugar solutions of his doctoral dissertation and suspended particles of his Brownian motion paper.


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Details

Item Type: Book Section
Status: Published
Creators/Authors:
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Norton, John Djdnorton@pitt.eduJDNORTON
Centers: University Centers > Center for Philosophy of Science
Date: 2008
Date Type: Publication
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Volume: 1
Publisher: Max Planck Institute for the History of Science
Page Range: 67 - 82
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > History and Philosophy of Science
Refereed: Yes
Title of Book: HQ1: Conference on the History of Quantum Physics: Preprint 350
Editors:
EditorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Joas, CUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Lehner, CUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Renn, JUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Date Deposited: 12 Jul 2012 14:04
Last Modified: 31 Jul 2020 19:00
URI: http://d-scholarship.pitt.edu/id/eprint/12556

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