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Historical Magic in Old Quantum Theory?

Vickers, Peter John (2010) Historical Magic in Old Quantum Theory? [Preprint]

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Two successes of old quantum theory are particularly notable: Bohr’s prediction of the spectral lines of ionised helium, and Sommerfeld’s prediction of the fine-structure of the hydrogen spectral lines. Many scientific realists would like to be able to explain these successes in terms of the truth or approximate truth of the assumptions which fuelled the relevant derivations. In this paper I argue that this will be difficult for the ionised helium success, and is almost certainly impossible for the fine-structure success. Thus I submit that the case against the realist’s thesis that success is indicative of truth is marginally strengthened.

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Item Type: Preprint
Vickers, Peter John
Keywords: old quantum theory, selective, realism, prediction
Subjects: General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
Depositing User: Dr Peter Vickers
Date Deposited: 16 Sep 2010
Last Modified: 07 Oct 2010 15:20
Item ID: 5547

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