Summary and Info
Gaston Bachelard - L’expérience de l’espace dans la physique contemporaine (The Experience of Space in Contemporary Physics). The book was published by Librairie Félix Alcan in 1937. It is a short book at only 109 pages and it is comprised of five chapters. It seems to be mostly expository in nature and there are some mathematical formulas contained inside. The main topic of the book is abstract space in quantum mechanics. The first chapter, “Realism and Localization,” tries to make clear the distinction between what Bachelard calls “the realism of things,” “the realism of scope,” and the realism of space. This chapter contains references to the work of Édouard Le Roy, Étienne Souriau, William James, Henri Bergson, and Werner Heisenberg, along with passages on singularity, objectivity, geometry, topology, realism, and probability. Chapter two, “Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle and Localization in Microphysics,” includes sections on potentials, statistics, indetermination, first principles, correlation, and once again references Souriau and Heisenberg. It’s the first chapter that includes some basic mathematical formulas which from here on are scattered throughout. Bachelard also references M.F.A. Lindemann’s The Physical Significance of the Quantum Theory (1932) and there are passages on Bose–Einstein and Fermi–Dirac statistics, along with passages on the work of Niels Bohr, Nikolai Lobachevsky, Max Planck, and Wolfgang Pauli. The third chapter, “Heisenberg Principle and Assignable Forms of Corpuscles,” focuses on micro-objects in microphysics. Here, Bachelard includes references to Aristotle, Bohr, Heisenberg, James Clerk Maxwell, Edmund Stoner, and Dmitri Mendeléeff. Bachelard’s references his own own Le pluralisme cohérent de la chimie moderne (1932) (The Coherent Pluralism of Modern Chemistry). The fourth chapter, “Mathematical Operators,” contains references to Descartes, Erwin Schrödinger, and M. Louis de Brorlie’s Théorie de la Quantification dans la Nouvelle Mécanique (1932) (Theory of Quantification in New Mechanics). This chapter contains the most complex mathematics. The fifth and final chapter, “Role of Abstract Spaces in Contemporary Physics,” contains work on Kant, Lobachevsky, geometric information, and Paul Renaud’s Structure de la pensée et définitions expérimentales (1934) (Structure of Thought and Experimental Definitions). Bachelard also references work from an international conference and the subsequent proceedings titled Logique et expérience (1936) (Logic and Experience), which included work by Kasimir Ajdukiewicz, A. Cornélius Benjamin, Paul Renaud, Gérard Petiau, Jean-Louis Destouches, Jacques Metadier, Eduard Habermann, Léon Chwistek, R. B. Braithwaite, and E. Tranekjaer Rasmussen. Included are passages on Destouches’ Le Rôle des espaces abstraits en physique nouvelle (1935) (The Role of Abstract Spaces in New Physics). Bernhard Riemann’s work is also discussed, along with Roger Joseph Boscovich. It seems Bachelard uses Destouches’ Le Rôle quite often throughout his book.
More About the Author
Gaston Bachelard (French: [baʃlaʁ]; 27 June 1884 – 16 October 1962) was a French philosopher. He made contributions in the fields of poetics and the philosophy of science.
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