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Applying the work of Hylleraas to the negative hydrogen atom


Felix Bloch's theory of conduction in metals
Hans Bethe Scientist
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The electron wave in a solid has the periodicity of the crystal, and... but it... you can have an electron propagating freely in the solid. That was very much in Sommerfeld's mind too, and it then became the basis of Bloch's theory of conduction in metals, where you had wave functions which had... were like free wave functions but modulated with the periodicity of the crystal. That was the basis of... of the theory of conductivity and it was also used by Brillouin and then by Peierls in talking about finer details of the behavior of electron wave functions in a crystal.

[Q] Then you master all of these...

All of these were familiar to me. I wasn't clever enough to do Bloch's theory of... of conduction in... in metals, but later on in... in Handbuch article with Sommerfeld I discussed all these.

The late German-American physicist Hans Bethe once described himself as the H-bomb's midwife. He left Nazi Germany in 1933, after which he helped develop the first atomic bomb, won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1967 for his contribution to the theory of nuclear reactions, advocated tighter controls over nuclear weapons and campaigned vigorously for the peaceful use of nuclear energy.

Listeners: Sam Schweber

Silvan Sam Schweber is the Koret Professor of the History of Ideas and Professor of Physics at Brandeis University, and a Faculty Associate in the Department of the History of Science at Harvard University. He is the author of a history of the development of quantum electro mechanics, "QED and the men who made it", and has recently completed a biography of Hans Bethe and the history of nuclear weapons development, "In the Shadow of the Bomb: Oppenheimer, Bethe, and the Moral Responsibility of the Scientist" (Princeton University Press, 2000).

Tags: Felix Bloch, Arnold Sommerfeld, Léon Brillouin, Rudi Peierls

Duration: 1 minute, 58 seconds

Date story recorded: December 1996

Date story went live: 24 January 2008