Schirrmacher, Arne: Who Did Really Believe in Bohr's Atom? The "Ultramikroskopie des Atominneren" of Peter Debye and the Art of Reinterpreting Experimental Results

In the context of the slow reception of the Bohr atom – both within the physics community and within the publications of science popularization – experimental and theoretical investigations in the possible reality of planetary atoms with properties governed by quantum principles are examined. A close reading of Peter Debye's writings alone and with Paul Scherrer of the years from 1914 to 1923 exhibits a characteristic flexibility and at times opportunism to the interpretation of experimental results. In this way, however, Debye was able at least for some period of time to convince even a number of otherwise reluctant scientists of the promise of the "Bohr-Debye model" about the atom. The development of Debye's claims of evidence for the appropriateness of Bohr type atomic models can be compared with similar processes of reinterpretation e.g. of the Franck-Hertz experiment, the Stern-Gerlach experiment or even of certain aspects of the creation of quantum mechanics by Born, Heisenberg and Jordan.

Schirrmacher (Presentation)
Talk Schirrmacher (*.mp4 audio file)