Quantum Mechanics: Historical Contingency and the Copenhagen Hegemony

Paperback | November 1, 1994

byJames T. Cushing

not yet rated|write a review
Why does one theory "succeed" while another, possibly clearer interpretation, fails? By exploring two observationally equivalent yet conceptually incompatible views of quantum mechanics, James T. Cushing shows how historical contingency can be crucial to determining a theory's construction and its position among competing views.

Since the late 1920s, the theory formulated by Niels Bohr and his colleagues at Copenhagen has been the dominant interpretation of quantum mechanics. Yet an alternative interpretation, rooted in the work of Louis de Broglie in the early 1920s and reformulated and extended by David Bohm in the 1950s, equally well explains the observational data. Through a detailed historical and sociological study of the physicists who developed different theories of quantum mechanics, the debates within and between opposing camps, and the receptions given to each theory, Cushing shows that despite the preeminence of the Copenhagen view, the Bohm interpretation cannot be ignored. Cushing contends that the Copenhagen interpretation became widely accepted not because it is a better explanation of subatomic phenomena than is Bohm's, but because it happened to appear first.

Focusing on the philosophical, social, and cultural forces that shaped one of the most important developments in modern physics, this provocative book examines the role that timing can play in the establishment of theory and explanation.

Pricing and Purchase Info

$68.44

In stock online
Ships free on orders over $25

From Our Editors

Why does one theory "succeed" while another, possibly equally clear and robust, fails? By exploring two observationally equivalent yet conceptually incompatible views of quantum mechanics, James T. Cushing shows how historical contingency can be crucial in determining a theory's construction and its position among competing views. Sinc...

From the Publisher

Why does one theory "succeed" while another, possibly clearer interpretation, fails? By exploring two observationally equivalent yet conceptually incompatible views of quantum mechanics, James T. Cushing shows how historical contingency can be crucial to determining a theory's construction and its position among competing views.Since t...

From the Jacket

Why does one theory "succeed" while another, possibly equally clear and robust, fails? By exploring two observationally equivalent yet conceptually incompatible views of quantum mechanics, James T. Cushing shows how historical contingency can be crucial in determining a theory's construction and its position among competing views. Sinc...

Format:PaperbackDimensions:328 pages, 9 × 6 × 1.4 inPublished:November 1, 1994Publisher:University Of Chicago Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0226132048

ISBN - 13:9780226132044

Look for similar items by category:

Customer Reviews of Quantum Mechanics: Historical Contingency and the Copenhagen Hegemony

Reviews

Extra Content

Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments
1: Theory Construction and Selection
2: Formalism, Interpretation, and Understanding
3: Standard Quantum Theory
4: Bohm's Quantum Theory
5: Alternative Interpretations: An Illustration
6: Opposing Commitments, Opposing Schools
7: Competition and Forging Copenhagen
8: Early Attempts at Causal Theories: A Stillborn Program
9: The Fate of Bohm's Program
10: An Alternative Scenario?
11: Lessons
Notes
References
Author Index
Subject Index

From Our Editors

Why does one theory "succeed" while another, possibly equally clear and robust, fails? By exploring two observationally equivalent yet conceptually incompatible views of quantum mechanics, James T. Cushing shows how historical contingency can be crucial in determining a theory's construction and its position among competing views. Since the late 1920s, the theory formulated by Niels Bohr and his colleagues at Copenhagen has been the dominant interpretation of quantum mechanics. Yet an alternative interpretation, rooted in the work of Louis de Broglie in the early 1920s and reformulated and extended by David Bohm and his colleagues in the 1950s, explains the observational data equally well. Through a detailed historical and sociological study of the physicists who developed different theories of quantum mechanics, the debates within and between opposing camps, and the reception given each theory, Cushing shows that despite the preeminence of the Copenhagen view, the Bohm interpretation cannot be ignored. Cushing contends that the Copenhagen interpretation became wi