Einstein and the quantum theory
Abstract
This is an account of Einstein's work and thoughts on the quantum theory. The following topics will be discussed: The lightquantum hypothesis and its gradual evolution into the photon concept. Early history of the photoelectric effect. The theoretical and experimental reasons why the resistance to the photon was stronger and more protracted than for any other particle proposed to date. Einstein's position regarding the BohrKramersSlater suggestion, the last bastion of resistance to the photon. Einstein's analysis of fluctuations around thermal equilibrium and his proposal of a duality between particles and waves, in 1909 for electromagnetic radiation (the first time this duality was ever stated) and in January 1925 for matter (prior to quantum mechanics and for reasons independent of those given earlier by de Broglie). His demonstration that longknown specific heat anomalies are quantum effects. His role in the evolution of the third law of thermodynamics. His new derivation of Planck's law in 1917 which also marks the beginning of his concern with the failure of classical causality. His role as one of the founders of quantum statistics and his discovery of the first example of a phase transition derived by using purely statistical methods. His position as a critic of quantum mechanics. Initial doubts on the consistency of quantum mechanics (19261930). His view maintained from 1930 until the end of his life: quantum mechanics is logically consistent and quite successful but it is incomplete. His attitude toward success. His criterion of objective reality. Differences in the roles relativity and quantum theory played in Einstein's life. His vision regarding quantum theory in the context of a unified field theory. His last autobiographical sketch, written a few months before his death, concluding with a statement about the quantum theory, a subject to which (by his own account) he had given more thought than even to general relativity.
 Publication:

Reviews of Modern Physics
 Pub Date:
 October 1979
 DOI:
 10.1103/RevModPhys.51.863
 Bibcode:
 1979RvMP...51..863P