PL EN


2012 | 11 | 69-78
Article title

„Polska fizyka” i droga do „europejskiej” teorii kwantowej:Władysław Natanson i Pierwsza Konferencja Solvaya w 1911 r.

Content
Title variants
EN
„Polish Physics” and the road to a „European” Quantum Theory: Władysław Natanson and the First Solvay Conference of 1911
Languages of publication
PL EN
Abstracts
EN
In recent years, a good deal of scholarship has explored the quantum revolution of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries as inextricably part of the social, political, and cultural forces that accompanied the continuing development of a modern Europe at that time. These studies, however, have largely concentrated on the contributions of Western European scientists and on the milieus of which they were a part. This essay seeks to expand these geographic and cultural limits through an examination of the work of the Polish physicist Władysław Natanson in the context of the First Solvay Conference in 1911. In that year, Natanson wrote two major papers that marked his explicit turn to research into early quantum physics and reveal Natanson’s exceptional grasp of the fundamental issues at stake in the revolution that shook the foundations of European physics. Indeed, Natanson was in many ways more cognizant of the revolutionary implications of Max Planck’s derivation for the nature of matter and energy than his Western European counterparts. Despite his research at the forefront of theoretical physics, Natanson was not invited to be among the participants of the Solvay Conference. In explaining this curious fact, I maintain that Natanson’s approach relied on a strand of “quantum thought” beyond the dominant Western European strains. This unique insight, I argue further, was a product of not only Natanson’s exceptional intellect, but also of the cultural and intellectual milieu of which he was a part. This milieu – comprised of physicists and mathematicians working at Polish-language universities and stretching across imperial borders – was in many ways more intellectually cosmopolitan and more broadly “European” that those in the West. This scientific cosmopolitanism fostered methodological, epistemological, and ontological approaches that fell outside the bounds of Western European scientific discourse.
Keywords
Year
Volume
11
Pages
69-78
Physical description
Dates
cover
2012
Contributors
  • Department of History, University of Minnesota; Fulbright Commission grant holder
References
  • W. Brock, The Chemical Tree: A History of Chemistry, New York 1992.
  • O. Darrigol, Quantum Theory and Atomic Structure, 1900–1927 [w :] The Cambridge History of Science, t. 5: The Modern Physical and Mechanical Sciences, red. M.J. Nye, Cambridge 2002.
  • C. Gearhart, Planck, the Quantum, and the Historians, „Physics in Perspective” 2002, t. 4, s. 170-215.
  • M. Klein, Einstein, Specific Heats, and the Early Quantum Theory, „Science” 1965, New Series, t. 148, nr 3667, s. 174–175.
  • M. Kokowski, Geneza sytuacji problemowej teorii zjawisk termicznych przed sformułowaniem zasady termokinetycznej Natansona. Część II: Poszukiwanie mechanicznych i fenomenologicznych teorii zjawisk termicznych poprzedzających prace Natansona, „Kwartalnik Historii Nauki i Techniki” 1994, nr 1.
  • Th. Kuhn, Black-Body Theory and the Quantum Discontinuity, 1894–1912, Chicago 1987.
  • W. Natanson, On the Statistical Theory of Radiation, „Bulletin International de l’Académie des Sciences de Cracovie” 1911.
  • W. Natanson, The Energy-Content of Material Bodies, „Bulletin International de l’Académie des Sciences de Cracovie” 1912.
  • J. Spałek, Statystyka Natansona – Bosego – Einsteina? Krytyczne tak, „Zwoje” 2005, nr 2 (43), online: http://www.zwoje-scrolls.com/zwoje43/text10p.htm.
  • B. Średniawa, History of Theoretical Physics at the Jagiellonian University in Cracow in the XIXth Century and in the First Half of the XXth Century, Kraków 1985.
  • I. Rhys Morus, When Physics Became King, Chicago 2005.
Document Type
Publication order reference
Identifiers
YADDA identifier
bwmeta1.element.desklight-d1eb0293-7b44-4663-8d7d-a0b9622b95aa
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