Talk:Bohr–Einstein debates

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This article is highly unclear. Which are the actual arguments, which are comments by the article's author, which are the scientific facts behind the arguments, which of the arguments are false or defective - nothing has been explained. Seriously lacks a lot.

SundarKanna 18:10, 5 January 2006 (UTC)


You see, here's another example. I go and break my balls writing up a lenghty and decent article on this and then find there is already an article. If no one is offended or anything, I will merge whatver useful contents I can gather from this one into my own version (much more developed, lucid, fascinating and conprehensive) and redirect this over there.--Lacatosias 11:19, 27 February 2006 (UTC)

Do it! --Kripkenstein 23:53, 27 February 2006 (UTC)

mediating role of Ehrenfest[edit]

I became interested in Ehrenfest's mediating role in these debates. According to Niels Bohr, in Schilpp's book:

Einstein's attitude gave rise to ardent discussions within a small circle, in which Ehrenfest, who through the years had been a close friend of us both, took part in a most active and helpful way.

I remember also how at the peak of the discussion Ehrenfest, in his affectionate manner of teasing his friends, jokingly hinted at the apparent similarity between Einstein's attitude and that of the opponents of relativity theory; but instantly Ehrenfest added that he would not be able to find relief in his own mind before concord with Einstein was reached.

The Solvay meeting in 1930 was the last occasion where, in common discussions with Einstein, we could benefit from the stimulating and mediating influence of Ehrenfest, ...

I included a brief paragraph on this in the article on Paul Ehrenfest, perhaps it should be brought up here as well. JdH 03:28, 27 March 2006 (UTC)

In 'Revisiting the Einstein-Bohr Dialogue' by Don Howard it becomes clear that according to Ehrenfest, Einstein did not intend to discuss the validity of the uncertainty relations, as Bohr supposed he did. Einstein had said to Ehrenfest, that "for a very long time already, he absolutely no longer doubted the uncertainty relations". Einstein actually anticipated some sort of EPR argument to show the incompleteness of QM. Are we dealing with a flaw in Bohr's memory or with him rewriting the history of QM in favor of the Copenhagen interpretation? This important fact should be taken into account! Someone? 4-12-2013 Pim van der Heijden ( — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:33, 4 December 2013 (UTC)

Louisa Gilder's 'The Age of Entanglement' clarifies what happened (based on Howard's re-translation of a letter by Ehrenfest to Bohr): Einstein's box was the precursor to EPR, but was misunderstood by Bohr to be a challenge to uncertainty. (It was, but only in the sense that it was not obvious how there was no violation of uncertainty.) The point of Einstein's box was that you could, by measuring the box, determine either the position or momentum of a photon half a light-year distant, which would require either a violation of realism or of locality. I may or may not make this edit myself. Emvan (talk) 02:18, 22 January 2014 (UTC)

small suggestion/question[edit]

This article writes:

"Einstein pointed out how it was possible to take advantage of the (universally accepted) laws of conservation of energy and of impulse (momentum) in order to obtain information ..."

I was wondering if Einstein or Bohr actually called it "impulse", because as far as I can see - we now think of it as conservation of momentum not impulse, although they of course have the same implications and use. My suggestion is that we put that word impulse in quotes. Fresheneesz 02:22, 20 April 2006 (UTC)

They of course spoke German; they probably called it "Impulsmoment" when speaking German (and "Drehmoment" for angular momentum). In Bohr's account of the disccusons, which is written in English, he uses the two expressions interchangebly JdH 09:05, 20 April 2006 (UTC)
    • impulse is represented as the change in momentum or delta-p so conservation of impulse and momentum are synonymous** — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:00, 23 December 2013 (UTC)

a second small suggestion/question[edit]

One title reads: Einstein's second attack

Is attack the best word considering the friendly relationship Einstein and Bohr had.


A few thoughts about the EPR section:

  • It does not explain in plain language what the point of the dispute was. This is not because it is impossible; the formulation of the gedanken-experiment is not the most important part of the EPR argument.
  • I've read in a number of sources that the EPR paper was written only by Podolsky (though it came out of conversations with the other). This is probably worth noting: Einstein's most famous disagreement over QM was not written by Einstein at all. And Einstein himself felt that it was bogged down in formalism and not clear.
  • Bohr's response here is not really given a fair shake at all. While I'd be the last to suggest that Bohr was clear, there have been reasonable interpretations of what his objections were, which are much more comprehensible than the version given here.
  • There is no mention of the role that the correspondence principle played, implicitly, in this part of the debate, which I think is rather crucial to it.

I'll try and make some changes when I get some time, but I just wanted to throw that out there. I think the section is also unnecessarily slanted towards Einstein's position which it ironically does not explain very well in the first place. As the text notes, most people thought Bohr won the debate; it is worth trying to explain why. --Fastfission 12:46, 20 September 2006 (UTC)

Ease up. Ease up, please. I am not god!! You have valid points and seem to be quite knowlegable about the matter. I would appreciate your contribution, especilly on simplifying the prose. Why do you find it necessary to be insulting about it?--Francesco Franco aka Lacatosias 16:53, 20 September 2006 (UTC)

Has someone vandilized this page??? (photo) Surely thats not them smoking a joint??? Thanks.

I'm new, frist edit, sorry for mistakes. 22:41, 26 March 2007 (UTC)

Just a comment--- EPR wasn't written by Einstein, but the argument clearly belongs to him. Einstein's english just wasn't very good. In the new biography of Einstein, they say that he was upset with the final form, which he felt was too formal. I think the reason Bohr won the debate on this matter is mostly political--- by then nobody thought (or thinks now) that quantum mechanics is wrong in any measurable way. It was just that Einstein was arguing that this type of theory involves a nonlocal construction--- the wavefunction--- which allows for the physical phenomenon of entanglement between distant objects. He could not accept such a construction as the foundation of an objective physical reality. Neither could Bohr, but Bohr didn't care because he did not think that physics is in the business of describing a reality.Likebox (talk) 02:30, 4 January 2008 (UTC)

principle of equivalence[edit]

Just a small thing... towards the end of the section on Einstein's box, the article states

"[Bohr] arrived at this conclusion by appealing precisely to one of the great ideas of Einstein: the principle of equivalence between gravitational mass and inertial mass."

But it seems to me that we're not talking about the equivalence between gravitational and inertial mass (which I thought was due to Newton anyway -- Einstein's great equivalence principle was between acceleration and gravitational fields) but the effect of gravitational fields on clocks in general relativity: the reason there is uncertainty about the time the photon is released is (it seems to me) because there is uncertainty about position in a gravitational field, and position in a gravitational field has an effect on the measurement of time.

Anyway, I'd recommend that the text be changed to

" of the great ideas of Einstein: the effect of a gravitational field on the measurement of time,"

but I don't feel I'm enough of an expert to make the change myself.

Nathanielvirgo (talk) 22:11, 29 May 2009 (UTC)

BKS/Einstein HJ equation[edit]

This article said "The revolution in quantum mechanics occured in the 1920's with little input from Einstein or Bohr". That's complete and total nonsense. The Schrodinger equation came directly from Einstein's 1924 paper analyzing the equation for DeBroglie waves. Einstein gave it in the semi-classical limit, as the Hamilton Jacobi equation, and Schrodinger long acknowledged his indebtedness to Einstein in this. The step from Einstein to Schrodinger is probably smaller than the step from DeBroglie to Einstein. One must also keep in mind that DeBroglie was generalizing Einstein's relations for photons to matter waves.

As for Bohr, he led the whole school that developed matrix mechanics which included Born, Heisenberg, Jordan, Pauli. His correspondence principle and attempts to deal with radiative transitions as orbital harmonics were the inspiration for the 1920s Heisenberg/Kramers calculations. His 192-something BKS theory with Kramers and Slater tried to put the whole thing right, and failed. But parts of it were seminal for Heisenberg's reasoning.

It was Bohr's prodding for a physical interpretation of the canonical commutation relation which led to the uncertainty principle, and it was Bohr who put it to best use. Bohr's physical insight was tremendous, probably equal to that of Einstein. But Einstein by this point had aquired a better formal mathematical ability. Both were leaders in this transformation.

It was largely because of the dual leadership of Einstein and Bohr, with their different emphasis, that quantum mechanics came in two flavors. Matrix mechanics, and wave mechanics.Likebox (talk) 02:24, 23 June 2009 (UTC)

Cites Please?[edit]

This article strikes me as one man's opinion, and it is an idiosyncratic opinion at that. There are no citations anywhere. This isn't what a Wikipedia article should be. Just look at the final paragraph, and its rather silly characterization of the Copenhagen interpretation as a "total renunciation of all realism". What the Copenhagen interpretation actually says is that the variables that are real are not necessarily the ones our macroscopic intuition tells us are real, and don't obey the kinds of laws (i.e. locality) that we would naively expect them to based on our macroscopic experience. That is, even though we imagine particles moving in lines, what are actually present are wavefunctions propagating, interfering, and collapsing (with an element of randomness involved). Those wavefunctions are perfectly real. No one is renouncing realism; least of all, physicists. Xezlec (talk) 19:30, 29 July 2010 (UTC)

The article is one-sided from beginning to end. The reader would never guess that most physicists decided that Bohr won the debates. Roger (talk) 18:59, 9 March 2011 (UTC)

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Ebohr1 IP.svg

There is a slight error in the interference pattern of this drawing. The central fringe should be bright band instead of dark band. I have made a new drawing shown at right which has the correct interference pattern. If no one objects, I would replace the incorrect drawing with correct drawing next week. --LaoChen (talk)06:22, 12 April 2012 (UTC)

The Double Slit Thought experiment was preformed[edit]

I was in a Physics group doing a discussion on a practical experimental adaptation for the first of Einstein's critics of the physics, the article we read was from "Physical Review Letters" week ending 6 september 2013, the article was "Momentum Transfer to a Free Floating Double Slit: Realization of a Thought experiment from the Einstein-Bohr debates." I could Find the article but I did not have the subscription required to show it to you all. It does actually perform the thought experiment of the first point and as a result can actually lead to a result of the debate. As an actual experiment with results is rather important is science, it would be wise to link it in. Plus it has many References that could help expand this article. JonathonWilliam (talk) 06:07, 27 June 2014 (UTC)

I went ahead and made the edit with the reference. It is the first time that I have done an edit to an article, so if someone would please proof it so that it is well put together. Thank you JonathonWilliam (talk) 01:00, 28 June 2014 (UTC)