Chapter

Crisis: The End of the Bohr Model

Helge Kragh

in Niels Bohr and the Quantum Atom

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780199654987
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191741692 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199654987.003.0008
Crisis: The End of the Bohr Model

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Failed attempts to understand the anomalous Zeeman effect contributed to the feeling of crisis that by 1924 characterized parts of the physics community. The solution proposed by W. Heisenberg’s ‘core model’ only raised other problems. Another indication was the state of radiation theory and the uncertain relationship between wave theory and the light quantum, a problem that resulted in the controversial BKS (Bohr–Kramers–Slater) theory of 1924. In the wake of this theory, H. Kramers and Heisenberg constructed a formal theory of dispersion that did not rely on electron orbits but only on observable quantities, in agreement with the ‘quantum mechanics’ programme of M. Born. The development culminated with Heisenberg’s paper of August 1925, which marks the end of the Bohr model and the beginning of quantum mechanics. The chapter reconsiders the crisis and the reasons for it, in particular the role of experimental anomalies.

Keywords: core model; Werner Heisenberg; Max Born; dispersion theory; light quantum; Zeeman effect; quantum mechanics; wave theory; Bohr-Kramers-Slater theory

Chapter.  26219 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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