Genesis of Quantum Mechanics

  • Alexander Komech


Quantum mechanics rests on the centuries-long development of the theory of structure and stability of matter. The development of quantum mechanics is supposed to have started with the concept of atom, and further progressed in parallel with the development of chemistry, mechanics, optics and electrodynamics. As long ago as at the end of the 19th century, the atoms were already considered as vibrating systems composed of positive and negative charged particles. However, the pure electromagnetic theory of atom stability turned out to be inconsistent, and the key ideas came from the thermodynamics of radiation.

The fundamental principles of quantum mechanics can be perceived only from systematic analysis of empirical observations and their theoretic classification. We begin with early discoveries in chemistry and in spectral observations, Thomson’s discovery of the electron, Lorentz’s electron theory, and Abraham’s mass-energy identification.

Further we dwell upon Kirchhoff’s laws of radiation, Rayleigh–Jeans’s and Planck’s theories of black-body radiation, and the ‘old’ quantum mechanics of Niels Bohr. Next we show how these achievements emerged in the development of Heisenberg’s matrix theory of quantum mechanics, de Broglie’s wave–particle dualism and the generalizations thereof by Schrödinger.

Finally, we describe the quasiclassical asymptotics (‘geometrical optics’) for short-wavelength solutions of the Schrödinger equation, which provides a ‘bridge’ between the quantum and classical description of matter.


Correspondence Principle Maxwell Field Combination Principle Maxwell Electrodynamic Planck Formula 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alexander Komech
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of MathematicsUniversity of ViennaViennaAustria

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