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A textbook is commonly perceived as a atpmbau tool dedicated to achieving the goals of curricula in teaching institutions. Its first edition was intended to popularize atomic physics for non-professionals. It was only in the course of its subsequent editions that it eventually transformed into one of the most renowned quantum textbooks in the twentieth century.

The story of Atombau und Spektrallinientherefore, suggests a broader notion of a textbook. Rather than a singular event transforming past results atombah research into didactic lessons, a textbook may be a process —subject to change within its environment as much as the research for which it is accounting.

Atombau und Spektrallinien entails an evolution of intentions, uses, and perceptions. Its author, Sommerfeld, was spektrllinien of the architects of modern theoretical physics and a charismatic teacher who trained numerous quantum theorists Eckert ; Seth atomnau He involved his talented students, among them prodigies atombai Wolfgang Pauli and Werner Heisenberg, not only in advanced quantum problems but also in the writing and proofreading of subsequent editions of Atombau und Spektrallinien.

Thus it became a tool for teaching and research. Outside the Munich Sommerfeld spektralllinien, it was perceived as an authoritative indicator of the current knowledge on atomic physics. The first four editions of Atombau und Spektrallinien Sommerfeld ; ; ; and a wave-mechanical supplementary volume Sommerfeld mirror the transformation of quantum and atomic physics during this crucial decade after the First World War.

In Sommerfeld published the fifth edition of what he now named volume 1 of Atombau und Spektrallinien. The wave-mechanical supplement became volume 2. Sommerfeld dedicated a good deal of his energies during the s to this effort.

When he finally published the second edition of volume 2 inits size had more than doubled from to pages. If we ignore the minor changes added in subsequent editions, the process that lay behind Atombau und Spektrallinien extended over more than two decades.

Atombau und Spektrallinien.

The results of this process comprise a series of pre- and post-quantum-mechanical editions that stand out as unique within the physics textbook literature see table 6.

This chapter is concerned only with the first four editions of Atombau und Spektrallinienpublished before the advent of quantum mechanics. The focus is on its conception, birth, growth, and reception, that is, the evolution that characterizes this textbook as the embodiment of a process extending from the First World War until the eve of quantum mechanics.

The post-quantum-mechanical phase concerning the further transformation of the fourth into a fifth edition and the addition of a soektrallinien supplementary volume — is left to a sequel. The seminar was, at first, only a forum where students were presented with problems related to the theme of the main lecture.

The pedagogical activity that offered the closest contact with current research themes, before the First World War, was the regular Munich Wednesday Colloquium. Occasionally, the Munich theorists invited speakers from other universities to present their most recent papers in an informal environment. Despite the outbreak of the First World War, Sommerfeld conducted his regular main lecture course four days a week in the morning for one hour, accompanied by a two-hour seminar each Tuesday afternoon; the advanced lectures were scheduled for one or two hours weekly; the colloquium took place on Wednesday evenings, or sometimes on another day of the week—but with few interruptions throughout the war.

However, there were changes due to the absence of students who had been drafted for war service. In particular, the Munich professors offered lectures for non-professionals, addressed to colleagues from other faculties. The audience was about 80 people, among them 12 colleagues, mainly chemists, medical scientists, and philosophers. I intend to publish it as a book. I had so much fun that I will try to lecture on relativity in the next semester spektralllinien popularly, i.


Sommerfeld also presented popular lectures for soldiers at the western front in January Sommerfeld could not give as much space to his own recent achievements in atomic theory as he might have wished, had he envisaged theoretical physicists as his readership. Such advanced subjects as the fine structure theory were curtailed for the benefit of a broader exposition of subjects like radioactivity, X-rays, or the periodic system. He was unc aware of this self-imposed limitation. But he did not entirely abstain from presenting research that had not yet had enough time to be generally accepted—all the more when it originated from his own institute.

One recent accomplishment in which he took particular pride was the theoretical derivation of selection rules obtained without recourse to additional assumptions by Adalbert Rubinowicz just a few months earlier. Bohr had arrived at the same result, but by means of the correspondence principle. The writing of Atombau und Spektrallinientherefore, lasted less than a year, from early summer to the spring of Neither the war nor the ensuing revolutionary turmoil spektrallinifn to have had an impact on the transformation of the popular, wartime lectures into arombau semi-popular textbook.

Sommerfeld, however, spektralliniwn most of his colleagues, was far from untouched by these events. Politically he may be characterized by and large as national-liberal. It appears at Vieweg. I had also negotiated with Teubner and Springer.

Teubner was not at all accommodating and seems to be in economic troubles. Springer was very tempting, but I did not trust his business practices and am becoming more and more anti-semitic in view of the Jewish-political mischief. Otherwise the turbulent times during which the book project was carried out left no traces. Up to the last moment, Sommerfeld continued to add recent results that seemed pertinent to the proofs.

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By the end of Octoberthe book was printed. This was not the only political allusion in the flood of positive, and often euphoric, reactions.

Walter Kaufmann, for example, framed his praise as a congratulation—not to the author but to the reader of Atombau und Spektrallinien: Of course, spektrallinoen was also a true need for educating physicists on the recent developments in atomic physics.

Spekteallinien whole generation of students was returning to the universities, hungry for mental as much as physical nourishment, and eager to absorb the new scientific knowledge about atoms that had been developing so quickly while they were in the trenches.

Within a few weeks, the need for a second edition became apparent. Given the euphoric response that Sommerfeld received in numerous letters, from his colleagues it is hardly astonishing that the public reception of Atombau und Spektrallinien was equally favorable. The reviewer, James Franck, recommended the book most warmly to all scientists regardless of their specialty.

Even though many will not follow the guide up to the highest peaks there are enough lookout points within effortless reach from which the sight is rewarding.

Atombau und Spektrallinien by Arnold Sommerfeld | LibraryThing

In particular the first four chapters, which cover more than half of the book, may claim to be broadly understandable. Their reading will be particularly useful for the chemist.

The praise was not limited to private atombah and book reviews. The favorable reception of Atombau und Spektrallinien was only occasionally accompanied with critical remarks. He also blamed Sommerfeld for being too lokalpatriotischfor example when he gave preference to Rubinowicz regarding the selection rules. The changes concerned mainly the mathematical appendices.

The second edition was as short-lived as the first. A few months after its appearance, Sommerfeld wrote to Bohr: We have to relearn thoroughly.

Now I have to write my third edition without knowing more details about this decisive turn concerning the electronic orbits. After releasing the second edition with only minor changes, it was clear to Sommerfeld that he would have to make a considerable effort to adapt the third edition to the atombaj state of atomic knowledge.


He asked Lise Meitner, for example, to update his paragraph on nuclear physics. I do not have the power to do this and am content with the details of the quantum magic in the spectra. I have no idea what they mean but they unravel the composed triplets and doublets. The new approach seemed particularly appropriate in accounting for the anomalous Zeeman effect Forman ; Seth By that point, in Januaryhe had finished the revisions for the third edition.

The excitement about the most recent advances is also manifested in his preface to this edition: I attach particular importance to the introduction of the inner quantum numbers chap. The regularities that here obtain throughout are primarily of an empirical nature, but their integral character demands from the outset that they be clothed in the language of quanta. This mode of explanation, just like the regularities themselves, is fully established and is unique. Even at the present early stage it has shown itself in many respects to be fruitful and suggestive.

Sommerfeld also acknowledged such contributions in doctoral reports. In terms of personalities, the indisputable main character of the book was Bohr. He had visited Bohr in autumn and privately compared him to Einstein. In particular, Sommerfeld regarded the correspondence principle as merely useful—not as fundamental the way Bohr did.

After expressing his congratulation and admiration, Bohr thanked Sommerfeld. During the last years I have often felt scientifically very lonely, under the impression that my tendencies to develop the principles of quantum theory systematically to the best of my ability have been received with very little understanding. For me this is not a matter of a didactic trifle but a sincere effort to obtain an inner connection such that one can hope to create a valid fundament for further construction.

I understand very well how little things are yet resolved, and how clumsy I am with expressing my thoughts in an easily accessible manner. All the more I was pleased to see a change of your attitude in the new edition of your book.

By and large, the third edition was praised as a new accomplishment—and a glimpse at a rapidly-evolving subject. Admittedly even now one can not yet speak of an accomplishment of quantum theory as in classical theories. Even the immensely productive correspondence principle does not yet procure the complete connection to the classical theory. Your book is now my physical bible. While these were in the making, however, physicists abroad used the German edition. Within less than a year, more than four thousand copies were sold.

In the summer ofSommerfeld received an invitation from the University of Wisconsin in Madison to lecture there as the Karl Schurz Professor for four months, from September to January The advances in physics achieved in Europe were being watched with great curiosity and had already resulted in invitations of professors from overseas to several American universities, including Einstein, Marie Curie, and Hendrik Antoon Lorentz, see Sopkaappendix II. At that time, in autumnthere was still no English translation of Atombau und Spektrallinien available.

Those attempting to learn about the recent advances in atomic physics used the third German edition, which had just appeared. Altogether, Sommerfeld lectured at seventeen locations during his six-month sojourn in the United States. In January, he traveled to California, where Robert A.

Millikan and Exum P. Lewis invited him to lecture for two weeks each at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena and the University of California, Berkeley, respectively.