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Access to classical papers

  1. Jan 6, 2008 #1


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    Put this on another forum if appropriate but I have mostly QM in mind.

    Is there an online source for classical papers, and in particular for obviously desirable translations of classical papers, which in QM were often in German? If with historical or scholarly gloss giving additional perspective, so much the better.

    My reason for asking is that IMHO textbooks often skimp certain things. There was once advice ‘study the masters, not their pupils’. For instance you are often told very summarily that the wavefunction ψ is to be interpreted as ψ squared is proportional to probability density. Rather like an engineering formula ‘use this, it always gives the right answer’. One would like to know how the originators (Born?) convinced themselves and others of it. I find symmetry and antisymmetry of wavefunctions for 2 particles treated rather the same way, but may make a separate post about that.

    Another way I find the textbooks defective is their insincere lipservice to the overriding importance of experiment. It looks as though since the mathematical treatments are such a barrier, books confine themselves to that after which they quickly croak out ‘and this result agrees with experiment’ and race on to the next math treatment. So access to the experimental publications would be useful too.
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2008
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  3. Jan 6, 2008 #2


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    A lot of important papers are translated and published in collections. One that relates to QM is "Sources of Quantum Mechanics" ed. van der Waerden ( Dover 1968) and still in print. It has papers by Einstein, Heisenberg, Born, Jordan, Pauli, Dirac and others.

    I have come across other collections but I don't have details to hand. Publishers lists should be a good start.
  4. Jan 6, 2008 #3
    You can get quite a few Historic Papers from here: http://home.tiscali.nl/physis/HistoricPaper

    It has papers by Einstein, Heisenberg, Born, Jordan, Pauli, Dirac and others.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 23, 2017
  5. Jan 6, 2008 #4
    Not quite an original paper, but Dirac's "Lectures on Quantum Mechanics" is worth reading
  6. Jan 7, 2008 #5
    Erwin Schrodinger, "Collected Papers on Wave Mechanics "
    Chelsea Pub Co; 3 Sub edition (April 1982) | ISBN: 0828413029 | 146 pages

    This third, augmented edition contains the six original, famous papers in which Schrödinger created and developed the subject of Wave Mechanics as published in the original edition. As the author points out, at the time each paper was written the results of the later papers were largely unknown to him. The papers and lectures in this volume were revised by the author and translated into English, and afford the reader a striking and valuable insight into how Wave Mechanics developed.
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2008
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