Concerning SchrÖdinger’s Question: Is Democritus or Planck the Founder of Quantum Theory?

  • Hans-Jürgen Treder>
Conference paper
Part of the Fundamental Theories of Physics book series (FTPH, volume 24)


The question how far Democritean atomism provides the conceptual background for quantum physics is examined. First, Schrodinger’s profound studies of this philosophy and the relation of its concepts to quantum atomism and to statistical physics is reviewed. Then the contradiction is brought out between a relativity theory in which Democritean atoms are inconceivable and a quantum theory which implies their existence; as a result, paradoxes still plague quantum field theory. Schrodinger’s and Heisenberg’s way out of the difficulty leads, via Plato’s ideal structures, to taking universal constants as the fundamental building blocks of physics.


Quantum Theory Universal Constant SchrOdinger Equation Finite Extension Fundamental Building Block 
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  1. 1.
    Today this problem has become that of the relation between Hausdorff dimensions and fractalsGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Max Planck explained this point in his response to SchrOdinger’s lecture (in Physiker aber Physiker, vol. II, ed. C. Kirsten).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    None of the ingenious attempts at such derivations, from Eddington to Heisenberg, nave achieved any success.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hans-Jürgen Treder>
    • 1
  1. 1.Einstein-LaboratoriumDeutsche Akademie der WissenschaftenPotsdamDDR

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