Publisher Information: 1930.
Heisenberg, Werner (1901-76). Die Selbstenergie des Elektrons. Offprint from Zeitschrift für Physik 65 (1930). 4-13pp. 230 x 157 mm. Original printed wrappers, a bit soiled and worn, small split in spine. Very good. From the library of H. A. Kramers (1894-1952), with his pencil signature on the front wrapper and a few pencil underlinings, probably his, on the first 2 pages.
First Edition, Offprint Issue. Heisenberg’s paper, published two years after Dirac announced his relativistic equation of the electron, tackles the problem of the electron’s self-energy, one of the most difficult (and still unresolved) issues in quantum field theory. In both classical and quantum physics, if an electron is treated as a massless point, as required by relativity theory, the radiation field surrounding it becomes infinitely large, causing the divergence of the electron’s energy to infinity. In his paper “Heisenberg showed that, even if the electrons travel so fast that their infinite self-energies can be neglected (because of relativistic effects), Dirac’s negative energy states still destroyed any attempt to treat the most basic situation—one electron moving alone through empty space., surrounded by its own electric field. Because of the infinite number of negative states, the calculated energy of that field also exploded to infinity. From this he concluded: ‘It is not probable that we will arrive at a solution without considerable alterations of the quantum theory of wave fields’” (Cassidy, Uncertainty: The Life and Science of Werner Heisenberg, p. 288). This paper is one of eleven early QED papers featured in A. I. Miller’s Early Quantum Electrodynamics: A Source Book (1994).
This copy of Heisenberg’s paper is from the library of Dutch physicist H. A. Kramers, one of the major contributors to quantum theory. Cassidy & Baker, Werner Heisenberg: A Bibliography of his Writings, 1930b.Book Id: 50890