Matvei Petrovich Bronstein
and Soviet Theoretical Physics in the Thirties

by Gennady Gorelik and Victor Frenkel

Birkhaeuser, Basel-Boston, 1994.
 
 

Table of Contents

Foreword

Chapter 1. Childhood and Youth. Road to Science

Chapter 2. In Leningrad University (1926-1930)

2.1 Entering the University
2.2. The Jazz-Band
2.3. The Abbot and His Astronomer Friends
2.4. The First Works in Astrophysics, Geophysics and Popular Science
2.5. At the Shenroks on Vasiliev Island
Chapter 3. At the Leningrad Physicotechnical Institute 3.1. Theoretical Physics in St. Petersburg and Petrograd
3.2. The Physicotechnical Institute and Its Seminars
3.3 "Quantizing Free Electrons in a Magnetic Field"
3.4 "A New Crisis in the Theory of Quanta"
3.5 Science and Society
3.6. Quantum Mechanics in the Early Thirties
3.7. Cosmology in the Early Thirties
3.8. Ether and the Theory of Relativity
3.9. Styles and Generations
3.10. The Physics of Semiconductors and Nuclear Physics
Chapter 4. Hard Times for the Laws of Conservation and for Theoreticians 4.1. Three Attempts to Topple the Law of Conservation of Energy
4.2. The Hypothesis of Non-conservation and the Arguments of Its Supporters 4.2.1. Waiting for a Relativistic Theory of Quanta
4.2.2. The Neutrino Alternative
4.2.3. Non-conservation of Energy, General Relativity, Cosmology and Astrophysics
4.3. Non-Physical Arguments Applied to Physics
4.4. A Duel in Sorena
4.5. The Death of a Non-conservation Hypothesis
Chapter 5. cGh' Physics in Bronstein's Life 5.1. An Unsuitable Thesis
5.2. The Roots of Bronstein's Interest in cGh'-Physics 5.2.1.Quantum Gravity before Bronstein
5.2.2. "The Relationship Between the Physical Theories and Their Relation to the Cosmological Problem"
5.2.3. At the Sources of Quantum Relativistic Astrophysics
5.3. The Quantum Theory of the Weak Gravitational Field
5.4 "The Fundamental Distinction between Quantum Electrodynamics and the Quantum Theory of Gravitational Field". 5.4.1. The Problem of ch' Measurability
5.4.2. cGh' Measurability and General Relativity Quantum Limits
5.4.3. The Planck Scales in cGh'-physics
5.4.4.Reception of the Quantum-Gravitational Limits
5.5 Physics and Cosmology 5.5.1. Cosmology in the Thirties
5.5.2. Bronstein's Attitude to Cosmology
5.5.3. Red shift, the Relativity Principle and Polarization of Vacuum
Chapter 6. Creative Personality 6.1. Perceiving the World
6.2. Vocation of a Teacher
6.3. Science and Literature
6.4. Personality
Afterword

AFTERWORD TO THE ENGLISH EDITION. HALF A CENTURY LATER

1. From the KGB-NKVD Archives
2. The Last Days in the Cell
3. Subnuclear Physics, Matvei Bronstein and Ettore Majorana
 
Bibliography Works by Matvei Bronstein Scientific Papers
Encyclopaedical Entries
Reviews
Editing
Popular Science
Books for children


Other Works
 
 

Appendix 1. Extract from M.P.Bronstein's paper "Quantentheorie schwacher Gravitationsfelder", 1936

Appendix 2. M.P.Bronstein's note "Über den Spontanen Zerfall der Photonen", 1936

Appendix 3. M.P.Bronstein "Inventors of Radiotelegraph" (First chapters of the book)

 

Bibliography

Abbreviations

PZM -- Pod znamenem marxisma [Under the Banner of Marxism]
PZS -- Physikalische Zeitschrift der Sowjetunion [published in Kharkov between 1932 and 1938].
UFN -- Uspekhi fizicheskikh nauk [Advances of Physical Sciences]
ZhETF -- Zhurnal Eksperimentalnoy i Teoreticheskoy Fiziki [Journal of Experimental and Theoretical Physics]
ZhRFKhO -- Zhurnal Russkogo Fiziko-Khimicheskogo Obchshestva [Journal of the Russian Physico-Chemical Society]
ZP -- Zeitschrift fUer Physik
 

Works by Matvei Bronstein
 

Scientific Papers

1. Ob odnom sledstvii gipotezy svetovykh kvantov [About one consequence from light quanta hypothesis] // ZRKhRO, 1925, Vol. 57, pp. 321-325.

2. ZUer Theorie des kontinuierlischer ROentgenspektrums // ZP, 1925, Bd 32, S. 881-885.

3. Bemerkung zUer Quantentheorie des Laue-Effektes // Ibid., S. 886-893.

4. Ueber die Bewegung eines Elektrons in Felde eines festen Zentrums mit Berucksichtigung der MassenverAenderung bei der Ausstrahlung // ZP, 1926, Bd 35, S. 234, 863; Bd 39, p. 901.

5. ZUer Theorie der Feinstruktur des Spektrallinien // ZP, 1926, Bd 37, S. 217-224.

6. Zum Strahlunhsgleichgewichtsproblem von Milne // ZP, 1929, Bd 58, S. 696-699.

7. Ueber das Verhaltnis des effektiven Temperatur der Sterne zUer Temperatur ihrer Oberflache // Ibid., Bd 59, S. 144-148.

8. K teorii obchshei tsirkulyatsii atmosfery [On theory of general circulation of atmosphere] // Zhurnal geofiziki i meteorologii, 1929, Vol. 6, pp. 265-292.

9. Kvantovanie svobodnykh elektronov v magnitnom pole [Quantizing of free electrons in magnetic field] (with Y. Frenkel) // ZhRFKhO, 1930, Vol. 62, pp. 485-494.

10. On the temperature distribution in stellar atmospheres//Mon. Not. Roy. Astron. Soc., 1930, Vol. 91, p. 133.

11. Sovremennoe sostoyanie relativistskoi kosmologii [Modern state of relatovistic cosmology] // UFN, 1931, Vol. 11, pp. 124-184.

12. On the theory of electronic semoconductors // PZS, 1932, Vol. 2, pp. 28-45.

13. Fizicheskie svoistva elektronnykh poluprovodnikov [Physical properties of electron semoconductors] // Zhurnal Tekhnicheskoy Fiziki, 1932, pp. 919-952.

14. On the anomalous scattering of gamma-rays // PZS, 1932, Vol. 2, p. 541.

15. Poglochshenie i rasseyanie gamma-luchei [Absorbing and scattering of gamma-rays] // UFN, 1932, Vol. 12, p. 649.

16. On the expanding universe // PZS, 1933, Vol. 3, pp. 73-82.

17. On the conductivity of semiconductors in magnetic field // Ibid., p. 140.

18. Vnutrennya konversiya gamma-luchei [Inner conversion of gamma-rays] // UFN, 1933, Vol. 13, p. 537.

19. Vsesoyuznaya yadernaya konferentsia [All-union nuclear conference] // Ibid., p. 768.

20. Vnutrennee stroenie zvezd i istochniki zvezdnoi energii [Inner composition of stars and soerces of stellar enrgy] // Uspekhi astron. nauk. Coll. 2, Moscow, ONTI, 1933, pp. 84-103 (see also [50, pp. 142-166]).

21. K voprosu o vozmozhnoi teorii mira kak tselogo [On the question of the possible theory of the world as a whole] // Ibid, Coll. 3, Moscow, ONTI, pp. 3-30; [50, pp. 186-215].

22. The second law of thermodynamics and the Universe (with L. Landau) // PZS, 1933, Vol. 4, pp. 114-118.

23. On the applicability limits of the Klein-Nishina's formula // PZS, 1934, Vol. 5, p. 517.

24. K voprosy o relativistskom obobchshenii printsipa neopredelennosti [On the question about relativistic generalisation of indeterminancy principle] // DAN. 1934, Vol. 1, pp. 388-390.

25. Svoistva izlucheniya pri ochen vysokikh plotnostyakh energii [Properties of radiation under very high energy densities] // Ibid., Vol. 2, p. 462.

26. O konferentsii po teoreticheskoi fizike [About the conference on theoretical physics] // UFN, 1934, Vol. 14, pp. 516-520.

27. O rasseyanii neitronov protonami [On the scattering of neutrons by protons] // DAN, 1935, Vol. 8, p. 75.

28. Gipotezy o proiskhozhdeii kosmicheskikh luchei [Hypotheses about the origin of cosmic rays] // Trudy Vses. konf. po izycheniyu stratosfery, Leningrad; Moscow, 1935, pp. 429-432, 445-449.

29. Addition to the traslation: Einstein A. Osnovy teorii otnositel'nosti, Moscow-Leningrad, ONTI, 1935.

30. Quantentheorie schwacher Gravitationsfelder // PZS, 1936, Vol. 9, pp. 140-157.

31. Kvantovanie gravitatsionnykh voln [Quantizing of gravitational waves] // ZhETF, 1936, Vol. 6, pp. 195-236

32. On the anomalous scattering of electrons by protons // PZS, 1936, Vol. 9, p. 537.

33. On the intensity of forbidden transitions // Ibid., p. 542.

34. Ueber den Spontanen Zerffall der Photonen // PZS, 1936, Vol. 10, pp. 686-688.

35. O vozmozhnosti spontannogo rachsheplenia fotonov [On possibility of spontaneous splitting of photons] // ZhETF, 1937, Vol. 7, pp. 335-358.

36. O magnitnom rasseyanii neitronov [On the magnetic scattering of neutrons] // Ibid., pp. 357-362.
 

Encyclopaedical Entries

37. Otnositel'nosti teoriya [Theory of relativity] (with V. Frederix) // Tekhnich. entsiklopedia, Vol. 15, Moscow, Gostekhteorizdat, 1931, pp. 352-367.

38. Elektron // Ibid., Vol. 26, 1934, pp. 645-650.

39. Atom // Ibid., Additional vol., 1936, pp. 78-97.

40. Atom // Fizich. slovar', Vol. 1, Moscow, ONTI, 1936, pp. 214-222.

41. Beta-luchei spektry. Beta-raspada teoriya [Beta-rays theory] // Ibid., pp. 298-302, 307-313.

42. Kvantovaya statistika [Quantum statistics] // Fizich. slovar', Vol. 2, 1937, pp. 744-751.
 

Reviews

43. Dirac P., The principles of quantum mechanics. (Oxford, 1930) // UFN, 1931, Vol. 11, pp. 355-358.

44. Weyl H., Gruppentheorie und Quantenmechanik (2 Aufl. Lepzig, 1932) // Ibid., pp. 358-360.

45. Gamow G.A., Stroenie atomnogo yadra i radioaktivnost' [The constitution of atomic nuclei and radioactivity] // UFN, 1932, Vol 12, p. 362.

46. Joos G., Lehrbuch der theoritischen Physik (Leipzig, 1932), PZS, 1933, Vol. 3, pp. 100-101.

47. Terenin A.N., Vvedenie v spektroskopiyu [Introduction in spectroscopy] (Leningrad, 1933) // UFN, 1934, Vol. 14, p. 248.

48. Heisenberg W., Shroedinger E., Dirac P., Sovremennaya kvantovaya mekhanika. Tri nobelevskikh doklada [Three Nobel lectures] (Leningrad, Moscow, 1934) // PZS, 1934, Vol. 6, pp. 612-615.
 

Editing

49. Dirac P., Osnovy kvantovoi mekhaniki, Moscow, Gostekhteorizdat, 1932; 1937.

50. Osnovnye problemy kosmicheskoi fiziki, Kharkov-Kiev, ONTI, 1934.

51. Brillouin L., Atom Bohra, Moscow, ONTI, 1934.

52. Becker R., Elektronnaya teoriya, Moscow, ONTI, 1936.

53. Born M., Tainstvennoe chislo 137 // UFN, 1936, Vol. 16, pp. 687-729.
 

Popular Science

54. Vsemirnoe tyagotenie i elektrichestvo (Novaya teoriya Einsteina) // Chelovek i priroda, 1929, No. 8, pp. 20-25.

55. Sostav i stroenie zemnogog shara. (Popular science library of the Nauka i Tekhnika journal, Issue 77), Leningrad, Krasnaya gazeta, 1929.

56. Yaponski schetny pribor Soroban // Chelovek i priroda, 1929, No. 15, pp. 5-7.

57. Efir i ego rol' v staroi i novoi fizike // Ibid., No. 16, pp. 3-9.

58. Electron i tselye chisla (novye raboty A.S. Eddingtona) // Chelovek i priroda, 1930, No. 2, pp. 8-16.

59. Proikhozhdenie Solnechnoi sistemy // Ibid., No. 23, p. 3-10.

60. O prirode polozhitel'nogo elektrichestva // Nauch. slovo, 1930, No. 5, pp. 91-99.

61. Henri Russel // Tvortsy nauki o zvezdakh, Leningrad, Krasnaya gazeta, 1930, pp. 39-49.

62. James Jeans // Ibid., pp. 75-88.

63. Stroenie atoma // Library of self-education for workers, Book 1, Leningrad, Krasnaya gazeta, 1930.

63a. Budova atoma, Kharkiv-Odessa, 1931 (in Ukrainian).

64. Novy krizis teorii kvant // Nauch. slovo, 1931, No. 1, pp. 38-55.

65. Element s atomnym nomerom 0 // Sorena, 1932, No. 7, pp. 165-167.

66. O prirode kosmicheskikh luchei // Ibid., pp. 142-144.

67. Uchenie o khimicheskoi valentnosti v sovremennoi fizike // Priroda, 1932, No. 10, pp. 875-878.

68. Convegno di Fisica Nucleare // Sorena, 1933, No. 1, pp. 176-177.

69. K voprosu o neitronakh // Priroda, 1933, No. 1, pp. 63-66.

70. Konferentsia po tverdym nemetallichskim telam // Ibid., pp. 73-74.

71. Elektronnye poluprovodniki // Priroda, 1933, No. 2, pp. 54-56.

72. O knige Rutherforda, Chadwika, Ellisa // Ibid., p. 77.

73. Polozhitelnye elektrony // Priroda, 1933, No. 5/6, pp. 21-22.

74. Anomalnoe poglochshenie i rasseyanie gamma-luchei // Ibid., pp. 110-111.

75. Vnutrennyaya konversiya gamma-luchei // Priroda, 1933, No. 8/9. pp. 87-89.

76. Problemy fiziki zvezd // Sorena, 1933, No. 7, pp. 12-23.

77. Vsesoyuznaya yadernaya konferentsiya // Sorena, 1933, No. 9, pp. 155-165.

78. Iskusstvennaya radioaktivnost' // Sorena, 1934, No. 5, pp. 3-9.

79. Sokhranyaetsya li energiya? // Sorena, 1935, No. 1, pp. 7-10.

80. Uspekhi nauki i tekhniki v 1934 g.: Fizika atomnogo yadra // Sorena, 1935, No. 2, pp. 78-81.

81. Stroenie vechshsestva, Leningrad-Moscow, ONTI, 1935 (a fragment of it is found in the Kvant journal 1978, No. 3, pp. 11-18).

82. Atomy, elektrony, yadra, Leningrad-Moscow, ONTI, 1935 (second edition: Atomy i elektrony, Moscow, Nauka, 1980 // Biblioteka Kvant, Issue 1).

82a. Ataka atomnogo yadra, Kiev, 1936 (in Ukrainian).

83. Samyi sil'ny kholod // Ezh, 1935, No. 8, pp. 18-20.

84. Novosti fiziki // Izvestia, May 12, 1936.
 

Books for children

85. Solnechnoe vechshestvo // Koster, Coll. 2, Leningrad, Detizdat, 1934; God XVIII. Almanach 8, Moscow, 1935, pp. 413-460/Introduced by S.Y. Marshak; Leningrad, Detizdat, 1936; Moscow, Detgiz, 1959/Introduced by L.D. Landau, afterword by A.I. Shal'nikov.

85a. Sonyachna rechovina, Kharkiv-Odessa, Ditvidav, 1937 (in Ukrainian).

85b. Der Sonnenstoff, Kiev, Ukrderschnazmenwydaw, 1937.

86. Luchi X // Koster, 1936, No. 1, Leningrad, Detizdat, 1937; Moscow, Malysh, 1965.

87. Izobretateli radiotelegrapfa // Koster, 1936, Nos. 4, 5; Kvant, 1987, No. 2 (the first chapters).

87a. Solnechnoe vechshestvo. Luchi X. Izobretateli radiotelegrapfa. Moscow, 1990.
 
 

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