The Quantum Postulates
In Part 1, we covered both the birth of physics and its apparent end. The fact that you still have another 300 or so pages to go, though, should clue you in that the confidence of the classical physicists was rather misguided. Physics did not end in 1900. Quite the contrary—that’s when all the real fun began.
In the early days of the twentieth century, classical physicists were accumulating a growing number of riddles that they couldn’t seem to crack. No matter how they molded, bent, and stretched their classical ideas, they could make no headway. In Part 2, we’ll meet the quantum pioneers and learn how they adopted a new “semiclassical” approach that helped solve many of these riddles.
One by one, they drew up a ...