Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Understanding Scientific Understanding$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Henk W. de Regt

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190652913

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190652913.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 24 November 2020

Visualizability and Intelligibility

Visualizability and Intelligibility

Insight Into the Quantum World

Chapter:
(p.226) 7 Visualizability and Intelligibility
Source:
Understanding Scientific Understanding
Author(s):

Henk W. de Regt

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190652913.003.0007

This chapter investigates the relation between visualizability and intelligibility, by means of an in-depth study of the transition from classical physics to quantum physics in the first decades of the twentieth century. In this development, the issue of visualizability played a central role. After a brief discussion of the visualizability of classical physics, it examines the gradual loss of visualizability in quantum theory, focusing on the work of quantum physicists Niels Bohr, Wolfgang Pauli, Werner Heisenberg, and Erwin Schrödinger. The chapter presents a detailed analysis of the role of visualizability (Anschaulichkeit) in the competition between Schrödinger’s wave mechanics and Heisenberg’s matrix mechanics, and in the discovery of electron spin. The contextual theory of understanding asserts that visualizability is one out of many possible tools for understanding, albeit one that has proved to be very effective in science. This conclusion is supported by an analysis of the role of visualization in postwar quantum physics, especially via Feynman diagrams.

Keywords:   quantum mechanics, visualizability, Anschaulichkeit, Niels Bohr, Wolfgang Pauli, Werner Heisenberg, Erwin Schrödinger, electron spin, Richard Feynman, Feynman diagrams

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .