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A famous account of Lamb and Retherford's circa 1946 discoveries about

  1. Oct 4, 2006 #1

    selfAdjoint

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    A famous account of Lamb and Retherford's circa 1946 discoveries about the Hydrogen spectrum which led to the development if QED is that they "used microwave techniques delveloped in the Radar research of WWII."

    What I am looking for is some nitty-gritty description of their actual equipent and practice. I am especially interested in their detector setup and whether and how they use microwave bolometers in that early day. Anybody know?
     
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  3. Oct 5, 2006 #2
    I am assuming that the original papers are sparse with details on the equipment used?
    The 1947 paper in Phys. Rev. has a very brief description but absolutely no detail.

    The subsequent paper in 1950 seems to say that they did not use the microwave radiation technique ([1], beginning of section 4, top of page 552), but while considering it, they came up with the technique they did use. They devoted the Appendix I to an order of magnitude calculation using a Woods chamber.

    They make reference to two German papers (ref. 17,18 in [1]) that may be of interest. I don't know German, so I cannot help you there.

    I don't have time to look into the Phys. Rev. papers in detail, but maybe later tonight I can stomp around the library and the internet to churn up some information.

    Cheers and good luck,
    Ryan

    [1] Phys. Rev. 79, 549–572 (1950)
     
  4. Oct 5, 2006 #3

    selfAdjoint

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    Thanks for this nice effort Ryan. As you say their original paper which I have seen a reprint of, does not give any detail. My interest was in whether a homebuilt reproduction of their equipment - not a modern version with solid state detectors, etc. would be possible. And if so whether their measurements could be repeated with it. Sort of the physics equivalence of recreating Civil War battles and equipment.
     
  5. Oct 6, 2006 #4

    George Jones

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    This probably won't be of much help, but I think what you want may be in the library of Columbia University.

    From QED and the Men Who Made It: Dyson, Feynman, Schwinger, and Tomonaga by Silvan Schweber:

    The above book does give a few of the details of the experiments, but not in as much depth as you appear to want.

    In any case, this is a book that I think you would enjoy greatly. It gives interesting biographical material that includes the mathematics, and also talks about the contibutions of Bethe, Dirac, Lamb, Oppenheimer, Pauli, Weisskopf, etc.
     
  6. Oct 6, 2006 #5

    selfAdjoint

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    Thank you George. In fact I do have chweber's book and have read it, although I last dipped into it several years ago. Thanks for the suggestion though.

    It's amazing to me that the details of a Nobel Prize winning experiment should have just fallen into the bit bucket. A warning to us all, document! Document! And make sure others know where you put the documentation.
     
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