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By R.J. Blin-Stoyle, D. ter Haar, K. Mendelssohn, J. De Boer, H. Brinkman and H. B. G. Casimir (Auth.)

ISBN-10: 1483196364

ISBN-13: 9781483196367

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Additional resources for Turning Points in Physics. A Series of Lectures Given at Oxford University in Trinity Term 1958

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But these are images which go clearly far beyond observational justification. However, before we examine again the significance of particle and wave observations, I want to deal with another aspect of the difference between the macroscopic world which we see and the microscopic world from which the 45 PROBABILITY ENTERS PHYSICS [Ch. Ill macroscopic world is made up. This concerns the nature of heat and entropy and their relation to probabihty which was already mentioned by Dr. ter Haar last week.

Nitrogen is available in the air and hydrogen in water. If you can predict the conditions under which the reaction iN 2 + 3H2 ^ 2NH3 will proceed towards the combination of nitrogen and hydrogen, then you can make fertilizers and explosives without which the Germans could not have embarked on the first world war. The physicists and chemists of the early 19th century thought that processes would always go in the direction which led to the development of heat, and they were almost right. For instance Galileo's pennies would fit well into such a theory.

However, according to Planck, a short wave length means a photon of high energy. When colliding with the particle, the energetic photon will change the momentum of the particle in an unknown manner. , light of longer wave length. But then we must sacrifice accuracy in the determination of position. Heisenberg showed conclu­ sively that the uncertainty which in this way arises in the measurement of position and speed has nothing to do with any particular type of experiment and that it is of a funda­ mental nature.

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Turning Points in Physics. A Series of Lectures Given at Oxford University in Trinity Term 1958 by R.J. Blin-Stoyle, D. ter Haar, K. Mendelssohn, J. De Boer, H. Brinkman and H. B. G. Casimir (Auth.)


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