Publisher Information: 1929-1930.
Heisenberg, Werner (1901-76) and Wolfgang Pauli (1900-1958). (1) Zur Quantendynamik der Wellenfelder. Offprint from Zeitschrift für Physik 56 (1929). 61pp. 231 x 160 mm. Original printed wrappers, spine repaired. (2) Zur Quantentheorie der Wellenfelder. II. Offprint from Zeitschrift für Physik 59 (1930). 168-190pp. 231 x 160 mm. Original printed wrappers, spine repaired with clear tape. Together 2 items. Small mark from paper clip on wrappers of no. (1), small tear in front wrapper of no. (2), but very good.
First Editions, Offprint Issues. Heisenberg and Pauli’s two-part paper contains the first full-fledged relativistic quantum field theory, representing the “formal invention of quantum electrodynamics” (Miller, Early Quantum Electrodynamics: A Source Book, p. xiii). “This extremely technical and mathematical branch of quantum physics, the foundations of which were laid by Heisenberg, Dirac, Pauli, Jordan, and their colleagues during the late 1920s and early 1930s, continues to this day with much the same program and approach . . . [Heisenberg was] a leading member of the small band of abstract theorists who established the program and laid the foundations of relativistic quantum field theory as it has been pursued ever since” (Cassidy, Uncertainty: The Life and Science of Werner Heisenberg, p. 276).In this paper—the only one that Heisenberg and Pauli co-authored—the two physicists attempted to establish “a consistent extension of
the quantum formalism that would yield a satisfactory unification of quantum mechanics and relativity theory . . . In 1929, drawing upon the work of Dirac, Jordan, Oskar Klein, and others, Heisenberg and Pauli succeeded in formulating a general gauge-invariant relativistic quantum field theory by treating particles and fields as separate entities interacting through the intermediaries of field quanta. The formalism led to the creation of a relativistic quantum electrodynamics, equivalent to that developed by Dirac, which, despite its puzzling negative energy states, seemed satisfactory at low energies and small orders of interaction. But at high energies, where particles approach closer than their radii, the interaction energy diverges to infinity. Even at rest, a lone electron interacting with its own field seemed to possess an infinite self-energy . . . Attention was directed to the resolution of such difficulties for more than two decades” (Dictionary of Scientific Biography). Mehra & Rechenberg, The Historical Development of Quantum Theory, 6, pp. 312-26.Book Id: 43254