Course Materials

Seminar on Bohr, Spring 2004

by Prof. Soshichi Uchii

We will use the following text:

The Philosophical Writings of Niels Bohr Vol. I, Atomic Theory and the Description of Nature, Ox Bow Press, 1987 (1st ed., 1934). [This is the first of the three volumes of Bohr's philosophical writings.] The books seem to be out of print, so that I will prepare photocopy materials.

In addition, we will pick up the following paper from Volume II: "Discussion with Einstein on Epistemological Problems in Atomic Physics" (1949). Bohr's view became clearer in this later version, and many interesting imaginary experiments appear; as Bohr himself acknowledges, Einstein played an essential role for clarifying Bohr's position.

How to prepare for this? You don't have to be an expert of quantum mechanics, but you have got to be ready for learning basic features of this field. For this, consult a good textbook on quantum mechanics, which contains historical materials. I would recommend the following:

朝永振一郎『量子力学 I』第2版、 みすず書房、1969

Bohr's first paper (Atomic Theory and Mechanics) may be a bit hard without historical knowledge of the development of quantum mechanics, from 1900 to 1926; but Tomonaga's book contains good materials for such knowledge. If you feel some difficulty with the first paper (especially the latter part), then read the second paper (The Quantum Postulate and the Recent Development of Atomic Theory) first.

If you find Dr. Tomonaga's book hard to follow, you need more preparation. Learn the elements of Newtonian Mechanics, of Lagrangians and Hamiltonians, and of Statistical Mechanics. My own elementary materials on these topics can be found in Assorted Index. See also a useful site on Microphysics, at Kyushu University:

Third Assignment due July 16 (Fri) , Comments added July 28

Planck's Problem (Hollow-Space Radiation)

Energy Quantum

Light Quantum Hypothesis

The Blue Sky or Rayleigh Scattering

Experimental Facts

Atomic Structure

Bohr Model

Correspondence Principle

X-Ray, X-Ray Spectra, and Spin

Shells around the Nucleus

"Matrix Loaded"

Mechanics of Waves

Mechanics of Waves II

Causality and Space-time Description

Tunnel Effect

Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen Paradox

Bohr meets EPR

Schroedinger's Cat

Last modified April 15, 2006.
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