"Birth of Quantum Mechanics" by Jagdish Mehra

A delightful lecture by Jagdish Mehra, later published as CERN Report in 1976, gives blow by blow account of how Heisenberg's ideas developed and what his contemporaries thought about his works. This report is being made available to everyone as an attachement here.

REFERENCE

Jagdish Mehra, "Birth of Quantum Mechanics ", Heisenberg Memorial Lecture ( March 30, 1976), Published as CERN Report 76-10

Many students and teachers alike, would prefer an area to taught following the historical development of the subject. This is not the best approach. Having said this, I consider it very fascinating and very important to know about historical facts about how ideas grew and developed to the final form. Most often, only success stories are written and long and strenuous efforts which went into confirming the correct and excluding the incorrect leads are forgotten or find no place in history. This is not the case if the book or the article is written by a matster. A browsing through Sakurai's "Invariance Principles and ELemntary Particles'' will enlighen the kind of effort that was involved in establishing the conservation laws in early 50s.

How much one can know has limits, but not ignorance because it takes a lot of conscious effort to reduce it. Every student of quantum mechanics knows the Heisenberg Uncertainty principle. However, how many students are aware of other contributions made by Heisneberg to qunatum mechanics? For that matter how many text books include his matrix mechanics contribution to quantum mechanics, let alone other areas. Many will be surprised to know that the Matrix Mechanics was a complete full flegded theory, before Schrodinger wave mechanics came into existence.

Many students, and experts alike, will be not be able to identify the work where and how position and momentum first appeared as operators in quantum mechanics"

The aim of this blog is not criticism of any one, rather it is meant only to make a case for learning history. A delightful lecture by Jagdish Mehra, later published as CERN Report in 1976, gives blow by blow details of how Heisenberg's ideas developed and what his contemporaries thought about his works. This report is being made available to everyone as an attachement here.

Jagdish Mehra, "Birth of Quantum Mechanics ", Heisenberg Memorial Lecture ( March 30, 1976), Published as CERN Report 76-10