The present theory of nuclear forces is very inconsistent. But as far as relativity effects can be neglected it seems that the meson theory gives a fairly good first approximation. In this case, where we obviously do not need a real field theory, we are able to understand at least the general features shown by lighter nuclei.
The heavy nuclei are in many respects well described by the “liquid droplet model”. But there are certain instances where, contrary to this model, one nucleon seems to a certain degree independent of the rest of the nucleus.
The general impression of the present situation is that in the theory of nuclear structures the notion of force has about the same limitation as the non-relativistic theory.
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Vortrag, gehalten vor der Physikalischen Gesellschaft in Zürich am 17. Februar 1947.
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Fierz, M. Über die Möglichkeiten und die Grenzen der heutigen Theorie der Atomkerne. Experientia 3, 304–310 (1947). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02164240