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Einstein and the Quantum by A. Douglas Stone

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CHAPTER 9

TRIPPING THE LIGHT HEURISTIC

The wave [Maxwell] theory of light … has proved itself splendidly in describing purely optical phenomena and probably will never be replaced by another theory…. [However] it is conceivable that … the [wave] theory of light may lead to contradictions with experience when it is applied to the phenomena of production and transformation of light. Indeed it seems to me that the observations regarding ‘blackbody radiation,’ photoluminescence, and [the photoelectric effect] … can be understood better if one assumes that the energy of light is discontinuously distributed in space. According to the assumption to be contemplated here, when a light ray is spreading from a point, the energy is not distributed continuously ...

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