Formulation of the Relativistic N-Electron Problem
The first of my lectures examined relatively general features of the relativistic quantum mechanics of atoms in order to show that there is good evidence for taking relativistic effects seriously in atomic and molecular physics. It is therefore disturbing that the methods employed, both in the simple calculations described in the first lecture (and in high precision calculations reported elsewhere in this volume) have often been criticized as lacking proper foundations. In the past, the argument has often gone by default, those concerned being too deeply involved in calculations to devote much time to the tricky arguments needed, and it is now time to remedy the deficiency. Indeed, while the view-point is very different from that adopted elsewhere in this volume by Sucher, the final conclusions are not all that different.
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