Item #93 On the Constitution of Atoms and Molecules. NIELS BOHR.
On the Constitution of Atoms and Molecules

On the Constitution of Atoms and Molecules

“One must assume that there are forces in nature of a kind completely different from the usual mechanical sort.” –Niels Bohr

"This is one of the greatest discoveries." –Albert Einstein

FIRST EDITIONS IN SCARCE ORIGINAL WRAPPERS of all three parts of Bohr’s landmark papers marking the definitive break from using classical physics at the atomic level, often cited as the foundation of our modern understanding of the atom.

“'On the constitution of atoms and molecules’ was seminally important to physics. Besides proposing a useful model of the atom, it demonstrated that events that take place on the atomic scale are quantized: that just as matter exists as atoms and particles in a state of essential graininess, so also does the process. Process is discontinuous and the ‘granule’ of process- of electron motions within the atom, for example- is Plank’s constant. The older mechanistic physics was therefore imprecise; though a good approximation that worked for large-scale events, it failed to account for atomic subtleties… Bohr was happy to force this confrontation between the old physics and the new. He felt that it would be fruitful for physics. Because original work is inherently rebellious, his paper was not only an examination of the physical world but also a political document. It proposed, in a sense, to begin a reform movement in physics… “On the constitution of atoms and molecules,” so proudly and bravely titled- Part I mailed to Rutherford on March 6, 1913, Parts II and III finished and published before the end of the year- would change the course of twentieth-century physics. Bohr won the 1922 Nobel Prize in Physics for the work” (Rhodes, The Making of the Atomic Bomb, 69-75).

On the Constitution of Atoms and Molecules. Parts I-III (all published). In: The London, Edinburgh, and Dublin Philosophical Magazine, and Journal of Science. Sixth Series, Vol. 26, No. 151, pp. 1-25; No. 153, pp. 476-501; No. 155, pp. 857-75. London: Taylor & Francis, 1913. Octavo, original printed wrappers; custom leather box. Three volumes. Toning to the spines, but otherwise beautiful, fine copies. SCARCE in original wrappers.

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