Quantum Theory at the Crossroads: Reconsidering the 1927 Solvay Conference

Guido Bacciagaluppi, Antony Valentini

Research output: Book/ReportBookAcademic


The 1927 Solvay conference was perhaps the most important meeting in the history of quantum theory. Contrary to popular belief, the interpretation of quantum theory was not settled at this conference, and no consensus was reached. Instead, a range of sharply conflicting views were presented and extensively discussed, including de Broglie?s pilot-wave theory, Born and Heisenberg?s quantum mechanics, and Schrödinger?s wave mechanics. Today, there is no longer an established or dominant interpretation of quantum theory, so it is important to re-evaluate the historical sources and keep the interpretation debate open. This book contains a complete translation of the original proceedings, with background essays on the three main interpretations of quantum theory presented at the conference, and an extensive analysis of the lectures and discussions in the light of current research in the foundations of quantum theory. The proceedings contain much unexpected material, including extensive discussions of de Broglie?s pilot-wave theory (which de Broglie presented for a many-body system), and a theory of ?quantum mechanics? apparently lacking in wave function collapse or fundamental time evolution. This book will be of interest to graduate students and researchers in physics and in the history and philosophy of quantum theory.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationCambridge, United Kingdom
PublisherCambridge University Press
ISBN (Print)978-0-521-81421-8, 0521814219
Publication statusPublished - 22 Oct 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • history
  • quantum theory
  • philosophy
  • B Philosophy (General)


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