Turning Points in Physics. A Series of Lectures Given at by R.J. Blin-Stoyle, D. ter Haar, K. Mendelssohn, J. De Boer,

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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De Broglie's suggestion was based on symmetry considerations. He thought that complementary to the waveparticle dualism for light quanta there should be a particlewave dualism for matter, and he had been proved right. While thus the symmetry had been established, it remained a symmetry of contradictions which, by itself, did not solve any problem. For the moment the experimental proof of the existence of matter waves raised the question as to their nature. Maxwell had been sure that he could understand light waves which, after all, could be described as oscillations in the electro-magnetic field but there was no similar system into which matter waves could be fitted.

For the experiment to be successful the rectangle has to be a certain size and Hertz correctly deduced that this implied some sort of resonance effect. The importance of this preliminary work was that he now had available a means of detecting electromagnetic waves in free space. He next constructed an oscillator consisting essentially of two sheets of metal in the same plane, each having a projecting wire with a knob at its end, the knobs being placed close to one another. The sheets were connected to the two terminals of an induction coil, and behaving in some respects like an opened-out condenser, the whole constituting an efficient oscillator of electromagnetic radiation.

The limit of this indeterminacy is given by the quantum constant h as Aq'Ap > h. More than a quarter of a century had passed since this mysterious universal constant had appeared in Planck's formulation of the quantum theory of radiation. Its phys­ ical significance remained unknown until Heisenberg show­ ed that it defines the ultimate limit of physical measure­ ment. Physics deals with observables. Events which take 61 PROBABILITY ENTERS PHYSICS [Ch. Ill place below the limit set by the quantum constant are not observable and have no place in the laws of physics.

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