On the Influence of Magnetism on the Nature of the Light Emitted by a Substance (Parts I and II and Appendix) [Zeeman]; WITH: Radiation in a Magnetic Field [Michelson]. PIETER ZEEMAN, ALBERT MICHELSON.

On the Influence of Magnetism on the Nature of the Light Emitted by a Substance (Parts I and II and Appendix) [Zeeman]; WITH: Radiation in a Magnetic Field [Michelson]

FIRST APPEARANCE IN ENGLISH IN ORIGINAL WRAPPERS OF THE DISCOVERY ("THE ZEEMAN EFFECT") THAT EARNED ZEEMAN THE SECOND EVER NOBEL PRIZE IN PHYSICS; WITH MICHELSON'S REPORT (IN OFFPRINT FORM) OF ONE OF THE EARLIEST OBSERVATIONS OF QUANTUM EFFECTS, "THE ANOMALOUS ZEEMAN EFFECT."

Although it was not entirely unexpected following the work of Faraday, Zeeman was the first to observe the influence of a magnetic field on spectral emission lines – what would quickly become known as the Zeeman effect. “Initially, in late October 1896, Zeeman could only observe a diffuse line broadening that had actually been predicted by Joseph Larmor’s electron theory… [But by] the spring of 1897, Zeeman first recorded distinct splittings of spectral lines into doublets and triplets.” (Hentschel). Although the result may have been anticipated, Zeeman shared his observations with Hendrik Lorentz, “who showed Dr. Zeeman that the widening could be predicted from Lorentz's theory that light is generated by the vibrations of electrically charged particles or ions; and that the same theory indicated that the edges of the widened lines should be plane-polarized or circularly-polarized”. (Reese). Zeeman confirmed Lorentz’s predictions, and the two of them would share the 1902 Nobel Prize in physics “in recognition of the extraordinary service they rendered by their researches into the influence of magnetism upon radiation phenomena.”

Albert Michelson (winner of the 1907 Nobel Prize in physics) was among those who repeated Zeeman’s experiments, and in 1897 his work “cast severe doubts” on Lorentz’s results. (del Toro Iniesta). Although both the details of his observations and the theory he presented was recognized as problematic almost immediately (as can be seen, for example, in Reese’s article in Science from 1900), what he observed was that Zeeman’s spectral lines could be resolved into an even finer splitting. “Such splitting, which soon became known as the ‘anomalous’ Zeeman effect, remained absolutely mysterious in the classical electron theory and deeply problematic for Bohr’s atomic model as well.” (Hentschel). (The discovery of the anomalous Zeeman effect is often attributed to Preston, who independently also observed the splitting of Zeeman’s spectral lines. (del Toro Iniesta). The attribution is therefore likely due to a defect in Michelson’s experimental setup.)

A number of explanations were offered for the anomalous Zeeman effect in the years that followed Michelson’s observations, but these were almost entirely ad hoc. In fact, the anomalous Zeeman effect would become one of the problems that sent quantum theory into a “crisis period” in the early 1920s. (Hentschel). It would eventually be explained by appealing to electron spin, making Michelson’s observations in the papers offered here one of the first experimental results only explicable by quantum mechanics.

The first two of the Zeeman papers offered here are English translations of Zeeman’s original papers in Dutch. Together (with the Appendix also included in a separate issue where Zeeman defends his priority), they form a single article with the same title that appeared in the Philosophical Magazine for March 1897. However, these issues of the Communications from the Physical Laboratory of the University of’ Leiden were published between April 1896 and January 1897, predating the Philosophical Magazine publication.

The first two Michelson offprints offered here are of a single paper printed in both the Astrophysical Journal and the Philosophical Magazine reporting early spectral line splitting observations that had not been yet been reported by Zeeman. The third is Michelson’s report of the further splitting of the spectral lines, which marks the anomalous Zeeman effect. The first paper is inscribed with "Compliments of the Author" written on front wrapper but we have not been able to confirm that this is in Michelson's hand.

References:

Hentschel K. (2009) “Zeeman Effect”. In: Greenberger D., Hentschel K., Weinert F. (eds) Compendium of Quantum Physics. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg. Hentschel K. (2009) “Quantum Theory, Crisis Period 1923–Early 1925” ”. In: Greenberger D., Hentschel K., Weinert F. (eds) Compendium of Quantum Physics. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg. del Toro Iniesta, J.C. (1996) On the discovery of the Zeeman effect on the sun and in the laboratory. Vistas in Astronomy 40(2). Reese, H. (1900). The Zeeman Effect. Science, 12(295), 293-297.

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P. Zeeman, ‘On the Influence of Magnetism on the Nature of the Light Emitted by a Substance (Part I)‘, Communications from the Physical Laboratory of the University of Leiden 33 (1896). l-8. WITH PART II (same issue). Spine perished (but issue held together with mylar); chips to front wrapper. [With Appendix issue, 1897].

A. Michelson. ‘Radiation in a Magnetic Field’. The Astrophysical Journal, Vol VI, No. 1, June 1897. Offprint. Original grey printed wrappers. Small tear in top edge throughout the offprint, not near text. Light soiling to wrappers.

A. Michelson. ‘Radiation in a Magnetic Field’. Philosophical Magazine (5), 44 (1897), pp. 109-115 (Reprint of the previous item, published slightly later). Offprint. Original printed wraps. Some soiling to wrappers.

A. Michelson, ‘Radiation in a Magnetic Field’. Philosophical Magazine (5), 45 (1898), pp. 348-356. Original printed wraps. (This is a different paper in which Michelson shows that the spectral lines are split into more than 3 components in a magnetic field - this is the anomalous Zeeman effect). Some soiling to wrappers.

Issues handsomely boxed together.

A RARE SET IN ORIGINAL WRAPPERS DOCUMENTING AN IMPORTANT DISCOVERY IN PHYSICS.

Price: $4,300 .