Exclusion Principle and Quantum Mechanics
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The history of the discovery of the exclusion principle, for which I have received the honor of the Nobel Prize award in the year 1945, goes back to my student days in Munich. While, in school in Vienna, I had already obtained some knowledge of classical physics and the then new Einstein relativity theory, it was at the University of Munich that I was introduced by Sommerfeld to the structure of the atom — somewhat strange from the point of view of classical physics. I was not spared the shock which every physicist, accustomed to the classical way of thinking, experienced when he came to know of Bohr’s ‘Basic postulate of quantum theory’ for the first time. At that time there were two approaches to the difficult problems connected with the quantum of action. One was an effort to bring abstract order to the new ideas by looking for a key to translate classical mechanics and electrodynamics into quantum language which would form a logical generalization of these. This was the direction which was taken by Bohr’s Correspondence Principle. Sommerfeld, however, preferred, in view of the difficulties which blocked the use of the concepts of kinematical models, a direct interpretation as independent of models as possible, of the laws of spectra in terms of integral numbers, following, as Kepler once did in his investigation of the planetary system, an inner feeling for harmony. Both methods, which did not appear to me irreconcilable, influenced me.
KeywordsConfiguration Space Exclusion Principle Wave Mechanic Symmetrical State Symmetry Class
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