Niels Bohr and the Quantum Atom: The Bohr Model of Atomic Structure 1913-1925

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OUP Oxford, May 3, 2012 - Biography & Autobiography - 410 pages
Niels Bohr and the Quantum Atom is the first book that focuses in detail on the birth and development of Bohr's atomic theory and gives a comprehensive picture of it. At the same time it offers new insight into Bohr's peculiar way of thinking, what Einstein once called his 'unique instinct and tact'. Contrary to most other accounts of the Bohr atom, the book presents it in a broader perspective which includes the reception among other scientists and the criticism launched against it by scientists of a more conservative inclination. Moreover, it discusses the theory as Bohr originally conceived it, namely, as an ambitious theory covering the structure of atoms as well as molecules. By discussing the theory in its entirety it becomes possible to understand why it developed as it did and thereby to use it as an example of the dynamics of scientific theories.
 

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Contents

1 Atomic Theories Before 1913
1
2 On the Constitution of Atoms and Molecules
39
3 Reception and Early Developments
90
4 The BohrSommerfeld Theory
140
5 A Magic Wand
189
6 Molecules and Other Failures
226
7 A Theory of the Chemical Elements
271
The End of the Bohr Model
313
The Philosophers Atom
364
Bibliography
371
Index
403
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About the author (2012)


After graduation from the University of Copenhagen in physics and chemistry, and a period as a high school teacher, Helge Kragh became Associate Professor at Cornell University, Departments of History and Physics. Later, he took positions as Curator at the Steno Museum for Science and Medicine and Professor of the History of Science at the University of Oslo. Since 1997, he has been Professor of the History of Science and Technology at Aarhus University, Denmark. He is a member of the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters, the International Academy for History of Science, and the European Academy of Science. From 2008-2010, he was President of the European Society for History of Science.

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