Item #2141 Zerstreuung von Röntgenstrahlen und Quantentheorie. PETER DEBYE.
Zerstreuung von Röntgenstrahlen und Quantentheorie

Zerstreuung von Röntgenstrahlen und Quantentheorie

“The Compton effect was seen as the first conclusive proof of the validity of Einstein's hypothesis. As such, it forced physicists to thoroughly reexamine the way in which they thought about the interaction of radiation and matter, and it became a milestone on the way to the creation of modern quantum mechanics in 1925-1926." -American National Biography

FIRST EDITION IN ORIGINAL WRAPPERS of Debye’s explanation of the dual wave-particle nature of electromagnetic radiation (the “Compton effect”). Precedes the full account by Compton.

In October 1922, Arthur Holly Compton wrote a report for the National Research Council documenting his experimental observations that the wavelengths of X-rays increased when they were scattered by electrons, but did not offer an explanation.

"Meanwhile, in Zürich, Peter Debye read Compton's report to the National Research Council… Debye had already considered the possibility of change in frequency, but had never published it. He might not have thought that the experiment was worth the trouble because it would only prove what everybody, except Einstein, already thought: light quanta do not exist. But after he read Compton's paper, Debye knew what the data meant. In March, while Compton's paper was undergoing a leisurely preparation for publication, Debye's paper arrived at the office of Zeitschrift für Physik the world’s leading journal for news of the quantum revolution. In April, still a month before Compton's article appeared, Debye's article was published. Einstein, Planck, Bohr, Heisenberg--every physicist interested in quanta--now knew that the wave theory of electromagnetism was down, possibly (even probably) out…

"Debye had gotten into print first and was known to all of Europe's important physicists. He had been at Göttingen and was now in Zürich. Compton was off in wild-west country. It was Sommerfeld who saved Compton's fame. Months before the Debye article appeared, Sommerfeld had already begun lecturing in America about the importance of Compton's work. Furthermore, Sommerfeld was the author of the leading textbook on quantum theory and, in the summer of 1923, as he revised his book for its latest edition he described a 'Compton effect.' So Debye was consigned to the role of Alfred Wallace" (Bolles, Einstein Defiant: Genius Versus Genius in the Quantum Revolution).

IN: Physikalische Zeitschrift, Vol 24, No. 8, 15 April 1923; pp. 161-166. Leipzig: Hirzel, 1923. Quarto, original wrappers; custom case. A touch of wear to spine, otherwise fine. RARE in original wrappers.

Price: $2,200 .

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