Monday, 13 October 2008

Oppenheimer on The Golden Age of the Quantum

'Our understanding of atomic physics, of what we call the quantum theory of atomic systems, had its origins at the turn of the century and its great synthesis and resolutions in the 1920s.It was a heroic time. It was not the doing of any one man. It involved the collaboration of scores of scientists from many different lands, though from first to last the deeply creative and subtle and critical spirit of Niels Bohr guided, restrained, deepened, and finally transmuted the enterprise. It was a period of patient work in the laboratory, of crucial experiments and daring action, of many false starts and many untenable conjectures. It was a time of earnest correspondence and hurried conferences, of debate, criticism, and brilliant mathematical improvisation. For those who participated it was a time of creation. There was terror as well as exaltation in their new insight.'
Robert Oppenheimer

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