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Bohr—Kramers—Slater Theory
 Helge KraghAffiliated withUniversity of Aarhus
The Bohr—Kramers—Slater theory (or BKS theory) was proposed in 1924 as an attempt to explain problems in physical optics and to provide a unified picture of the continuous electromagnetic field and the discontinuous quantum transitions in atoms. Although the theory was shortlived it proved most important in the subsequent development of quantum theory, not least because it replaced causal spatiotemporal description of the transitions between stationary states with statistical considerations. Moreover, it followed that energy and momentum was only conserved statistically, not for individual atomic processes.
In early 1924 atomic physics was in a state of crisis (► quantum theory, crisis period), one of the critical problems being the interaction between matter and radiation. In a paper published in Nature in February 1924, John Clark Slater (1900– 1976) suggested the radical idea that when an atom was in a stationary state, it would “communicate with other atoms… by means of a virtual field of radiation originating from oscillators having the frequencies of possible quantum transitions and the function of which is to provide for statistical conservation of energy and momentum by determining the probabilities for quantum transitions.” Note that the field was thought to be emitted by atoms in their stationary states and not, as in Bohr's original theory, during the ► quantum jumps from one state to another.
 Title
 Bohr—Kramers—Slater Theory
 Book Title
 Compendium of Quantum Physics
 Pages
 pp 6264
 Copyright
 2009
 DOI
 10.1007/9783540706267_19
 Print ISBN
 9783540706229
 Online ISBN
 9783540706267
 Publisher
 Springer Berlin Heidelberg
 Copyright Holder
 SpringerVerlag Berlin Heidelberg
 Additional Links
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 Editors

 Daniel Greenberger ^{(1)}
 Klaus Hentschel ^{(2)}
 Friedel Weinert ^{(3)}
 Editor Affiliations

 1. Department of Physics, The City College of New York
 2. Section for the History of Science & Technology, University of Stuttgart
 3. Department of Social Sciences and Humanities, University of Bradford
 Authors

 Helge Kragh ^{(4)}
 Author Affiliations

 4. University of Aarhus, Denmark
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