Item #14 Electrons et Photons. Rapports et Discussions du Cinquieme Conseil de Physique Tenu a Bruxelles du 24 au 29 Octobre 1927. [Fifth Solvay Conference]. ALBERT EINSTEIN, NIELS BOHR, WERNER HEISENBERG.

Electrons et Photons. Rapports et Discussions du Cinquieme Conseil de Physique Tenu a Bruxelles du 24 au 29 Octobre 1927. [Fifth Solvay Conference]

"The conference was surely the most interesting scientific conference I have taken part in so far…" -Heisenberg, on the Fifth Solvay Conference

FIRST EDITION IN ORIGINAL WRAPPERS of the official report of the proceedings of the 1927 Fifth Solvay Conference, generally considered the most important gathering in the history of physics.

"Chaired by Dutch physicist Hendrik Lorentz and running from October 24 to 29, 1927, the fifth physics conference was devoted to 'electrons and photons' but was dominated by disputes about the ideas behind quantum mechanics. Beginning in 1925, Danish physicist Niels Bohr, German physicists Werner Heisenberg and Max Born, among others, had formed what came to be known as the 'Copenhagen interpretation' of quantum mechanics, which postulated that the indeterminacy in the theory (i.e., that only the probability of a result could be predicted) was fundamental and should be accepted by scientists. There was no underlying deterministic order to be found. Some physicists, most notably German physicist Albert Einstein, did not accept the Copenhagen interpretation and felt that its reliance on indeterminacy showed that quantum mechanics still was not a complete theory. This dispute was foregrounded at the 1927 conference. Bohr, Heisenberg, and Born were not able to win Einstein over, but the dissemination of the Copenhagen interpretation among physicists was accelerated by the conference and it eventually became the prevailing view of quantum mechanics” (Britannica).

The Bohr-Einstein debate that dominated the conference “is considered to be one of the most famous intellectual debates of the 20th century, and probably the most famous one between physicists" (Bricmont, Making Sense of Quantum Mechanics). It was at this conference where Einstein, disenchanted with Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle, reportedly insisted "God does not play dice", to which Bohr replied, "Einstein, stop telling God what to do." Note: This exchange is not reported in the official printed proceedings.

Paris: Gauthier-Villars, 1928. Octavo, original wrappers; custom box. Text largely unopened. A little wear and toning to wrapper edges, number stamp at base of rear wrapper. An outstanding copy documenting a momentous event in the history of science.

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