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The interpretation of the Einstein-Rupp experiments and their influence on the history of quantum mechanics

van Dongen, Jeroen (2007) The interpretation of the Einstein-Rupp experiments and their influence on the history of quantum mechanics. [Preprint]


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The Einstein-Rupp experiments were proposed in 1926 by Albert Einstein to study the wave versus particle nature of light. Einstein presented a theoretical analysis of these experiments to the Berlin Academy together with results of Emil Rupp, who claimed to have successfully carried them out. However, as the preceding paper has shown, Rupp's success was the result of scientific fraud. This paper will argue, after exploring their interpretation, that the experiments were a relevant part of the background to such celebrated contributions to quantum mechanics as Born’s statistical interpretation of the wave function and Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle. Yet, the Einstein-Rupp experiments have hardly received attention in the history of quantum mechanics literature. In part, this is a consequence of self-censorship in the physics community, enforced in the wake of the Rupp affair. Self-censorship among historians of physics may however also have played a role.

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Item Type: Preprint
van Dongen, Jeroen
Additional Information: Historical Studies in the Physical and Biological Sciences, 37 Suppl. (2007), 121-131, to appear.
Keywords: Albert Einstein, Emil Rupp, Einstein-Rupp experiments, wave-particle duality, canal rays, Max Born, Werner Heisenberg, interpretation of quantum mechanics, ghost fields
Subjects: General Issues > Theory/Observation
General Issues > Experimentation
General Issues > History of Science Case Studies
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
Depositing User: Jeroen van Dongen
Date Deposited: 20 Sep 2007
Last Modified: 07 Oct 2010 15:15
Item ID: 3531

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