Thursday, August 19, 2010

An excerpt of a report I sent to my funder at the Niels Bohr Library

The result of my summer stint at CERN and Niels Bohr has enabled me to further narrow the focus of my dissertation topic. But I am not all there yet!

I am sending you and the Center for the History of Physics a short report regarding my almost 7-day stint at the Niels Bohr Library at the ACP. I was there from July 19-23, and then for a few hours on July 30 and Aug 2 respectively. I have found my stay there to be very conducive in helping me narrow down on some of the questions which I wanted to address for my dissertation. I have spent most of my time there looking at the available Archives for the Quantum History Project initiated by Thomas Kuhn and John Heilbron, as well as a book (out of the many available volumes) on the primary materials relating to and by Niels Bohr. I have visited the library in the aftermath of my two-week stint at CERN and have found it useful and tracing some of the epistemological developments that predates the growth of modern particle physics. I am sorry to not be able to finish looking through all the boxes available (I stopped half-way through box 4 of 8) and also to look at Feynman's papers. However. I am sure I will be back later, with an even more focused project, which will be to trace the ontological and epistemological turn that led to the development of modern day experimental and theoretical particle physics, and the location of phenomenology as a bridge between both. I will likely begin my background exploration at the particular juncture whereby the modern quatum physics were developed in place of the older classical model and the juncture in which the theory of relativity was integrated into quantum mechanics. Hence, I will be interested in the later Bohr and Dirac/Schroedinger and post-matrix methods Born/Jordan/Heisenberg, and to trace the phenomenological turn there that led to developments in particle physics and high energy theory, before going on to contemporary conditions.

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