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'I have also a paper afloat, with an electromagnetic theory of light, which, till I am convinced to the contrary, I hold to be great guns.' James Clerk Maxwell

  • 1865 James Clerk Maxwell paper describing his 20 Equations in 20 Unknowns.
    'A Dynamical Theory of the Electromagnetic Field'
    Phil. Transactions of the Royal Society, vol. 155, p459-512 (1865).
  • 'The most ordinary things are to philosophy a source of insoluble puzzles.' Ludwig Boltzmann

  • 1877 Ludwig Boltzmann paper puts the second law of thermodynamics in a statistical mechanical form.
    'On the Relation Between the Second Law of the Mechanical Theory of Heat and the Probability Calculus with Respect to the Theorems on Thermal Equilibrium'
    Sitzb. d. Kaiserlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften, mathematisch-naturwissen, vol. 76, p373-435 (1877).
  • 'Scientific discovery and scientific knowledge have been achieved only by those who have gone in pursuit of it without any practical purpose whatsoever in view.' Max Planck

  • 1901 Max Planck publishes his paper resolving Kirchhoff's black body radiation challenge.
    'On the Law of Distribution of Energy in the Normal Spectrum'
    Annalen der Physik, vol. 4, p553 ff (1901).
  • See 'Planck, the Quantum, and the Historians'
    by Clayton Gearhart (2002).

    'Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius - and a lot of courage - to move in the opposite direction.' Albert Einstein

  • 1905 Albert Einstein publishes his paper on the photoelectric effect
    'Concerning an Heuristic Point of View Toward the Emission and Transformation of Light'
    Annalen der Physik, vol. 17, p132-148 (1905).
  • 1905 Albert Einstein publishes his paper on Brownian Motion
    'On the Motion Required by the Molecular Kinetic Theory of Heat of Small Particles Suspended in a Stationary Liquid'
    Annalen der Physik, vol. 17, p549-560 (1905).
  • 1905 Albert Einstein publishes his paper on Special Relativity
    'On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies'
    Annalen der Physik, vol. 17, p891-921, (1905).
  • 1905 Albert Einstein publishes his paper on energy-mass equivalence
    'Does the Inertia of a Body Depend Upon Its Energy Content?'
    Annalen der Physik, vol. 17, p639-641 (1905).
  • 'Henceforth space by itself, and time by itself, are doomed to fade away into mere shadows, and only a kind of union of the two will preserve an independent reality.'
    Hermann Minkowski

  • 1908 Hermann Minkowski introduces 'Minkowski Space Time'
    'Space and Time'
    Address to the 80th Assembly of German Natural Scientists and Physicians, Cologne, 21 September (1908).
    See 'Minkowski, Mathematicians, and the Mathematical Theory of Relativity'
    by Scott Walter (1999).
  • 'A physicist's theories are worthless unless he can explain them to the barmaid at the local pub.'
    Ernest Rutherford of New Zealand

  • 1911 Ernest Rutherford publishes his model for atomic structure
    'The Scattering of a- and b- Particles by Matter and the Structure of the Atom'
    Philosophical Magazine, Series 6, Vol. 21, p669 (1911) .
  • 'Your theory is crazy, but it's not crazy enough to be true.' Niels Bohr

  • 1913 Niels Bohr publishes his paper
    'On the Constitution of Atoms and Molecules'
    Philosophical Magazine, Series 6, Vol. 26, p1-25 (1913).
  • 'Gravitation is not responsible for people falling in love.' Albert Einstein

  • 1916 Albert Einstein publishes his paper on General Relativity
    'The Foundation of the General Theory of Relativity'
    Annalen der Physik, vol. 49, (1916).
  • 1917 Albert Einstein publishes his paper on radiation theory.
    'On the Quantum Theory of Radiation'
    Physikalische Zeitschrift, vol. 18, p121, (1917).
  • See 'Rereading Einstein on Radiation'
    by Daniel Kleppner (2005).

    'My work always tried to unite the true with the beautiful, but when I had to choose one or the other, I usually chose the beautiful.' Hermann Weyl

  • 1918 Hermann Weyl proposes an early form of gauge symmetry in an attempt to unify electrodynamics and gravitation.
    'Gravitation and Electricity'
    Akademie der Wis- senschaften Berlin, 465-480 (1918).
    See 'Weyl's Theory of the Combined Gravitational-electromagnetic Field'
    by William Straub (2006).
  • 'For me, faith begins with the realization that a supreme intelligence brought the universe into being and created man. It is not difficult for me to have this faith, for an orderly, intelligent universe testifies to the greatest statements ever uttered. 'In the beginning, God' ' Arthur Compton

  • 1923 Arthur Compton publishes his paper on the scattering of photons
    'A Quantum Theory of the Scattering of X-Rays by Light Elements'
    Physical Review, vol. 21, p483-502 (1923).
  • '... I had a sudden inspiration. Einstein's wave-particle dualism for light was an absolutely general phenomenon extending to all physical nature.' Louis de Broglie

  • 1923 Louis de Broglie famous Comptes rendus note
    'Radiation - Waves and Quanta'
    Comptes rendus de l'Académie des Sciences, Vol. 177, pp507-510 (1923).
  • 'I had no idea that what I had done was really novel.' Satyendra Bose

  • 1924 Satyendra Bose initially rejected paper (then backed up by Einstein, and published)
    'Planck's Law and Light Quantum Hypothesis'
    Annalen der Physik, vol. 26, p178 (1924).
  • 'At the moment physics is again terribly confused. ...I wish I had been a movie comedian or something of the sort and had never heard of physics.' Wolfgang Pauli

  • 1925 Wolfgang Pauli discovery of the Pauli exclusion principle
    'On the Connexion between the Completion of Electron Groups in an Atom with the Complex Structure of Spectra'
    Zeitschrift für Physik, vol. 31, p765 (1925).
  • 'An expert is someone who knows some of the worst mistakes that can be made in his subject, and how to avoid them.' Werner Heisenberg

  • 1925 Werner Heisenberg publishes his breakthrough paper which ushered in the new era of quantum mechanics
    'Quantum-mechanical re-interpretation of kinematic and mechanical relations'
    Zeitschrift für Physik, vol. 33, 879-893 (1925).
    See 'Understanding Heisenberg’s ‘magical’ paper of July 1925: a new look at the calculational details'
    by Ian Aitchison, David MacManus and Thomas Snyder (2004).
  • 'We have sought for firm ground and found none. The deeper we penetrate, the more restless becomes the universe; all is rushing about and vibrating in a wild dance..' Max Born

  • 1925 Max Born invents the matrix formalism for Heisenberg quantum mechanics
    'On Quantum Mechanics'
    Zeitschrift für Physik, vol. 34, p858 (1925).
  • 1926 Max Born publishes part two - matrix formalism for systems with arbitrary many degrees of freedom
    'On Quantum Mechanics II'
    Zeitschrift für Physik, vol. 35, p557 (1926).
  • 'The scientist only imposes two things, namely truth and sincerity, imposes them upon himself and upon other scientists.' Erwin Schroedinger

  • 1926 Erwin Schroedinger publishes his paper on quantum theory
    'An undulatory theory of the mechanics of atoms and molecules'
    Physical Review, 28, 6, p1049-1070 (1926).
  • 'There is in my opinion a great similarity between the problems provided by the mysterious behavior of the atom and those provided by the present economic paradoxes confronting the world.' Paul Dirac

  • 1927 Paul Dirac publishes his paper on the quantization of em field and zero-point energy.
    'The Quantum Theory of the Emission and Absorption of Radiation'
    Proceedings of the Royal Society, A114, p243 (1927).
  • 1931 Paul Dirac predicts the existance of the anti-electron and the anti-proton.
    'Quantized Singularities in the Electromagnetic Field'
    Proceedings of the Royal Society, A133, p60 (1931).
  • 'Don't lie if you don't have to.' Leo Szilard

  • 1929 Leo Szilard publishes his classic paper on Maxwell's Demon and first identifies the unit, or 'bit', of information.
    'On the decrease of entropy in a thermodynamic system by the intervention of intelligent beings'
    Zeitschrift für Physik, vol. 53, p840-856 (1929).
    See 'Maxwell’s Demon, Szilard’s Engine and Quantum Measurements'
    by Wojciech Zurek (2003).
  • 1934 Leo Szilard files a patent application describing the concept of using neutron induced chain reactions to create explosions and the concept of 'critical mass'.
    'Neutronic Reactor'
    United States Patent #2708656 (Issued 1955).
  • 'The words Science and scientific are frequently abused by those who find it profitable to borrow reputation instead of earning it.' Boris Podolsky

  • 1935 Albert Einstein, Boris Podolsky, Nathan Rosen developed the famous 'EPR Paradox' thought experiment.
    'Can quantum-mechanical description of physical reality be considered complete?'
    Physical Review, 47, p777-780 (1935).
  • 'Reality is complicated. There is no justification for all of the hasty conclusions.' Hideki Yukawa

  • 1935 Hideki Yukawa proposes a new field theory of nuclear forces and predicts the existence of the meson.
    'On the Interaction of Elementary Particles'
    Proc. Phys. Math. Soc. Japan, 17, p48 (1935).
  • 'Quantum physics thus reveals a basic oneness of the universe.' Erwin Schroedinger

  • 1935 Erwin Schroedinger publishes his 'cat paradox' paper
    'The Present Situation in Quantum Mechanics'
    Naturwissenschaften 23, p807-812, p823-828, p844-849 (1935).
  • 'There is in my opinion a great similarity between the problems provided by the mysterious behavior of the atom and those provided by the present economic paradoxes confronting the world.' Paul Dirac

  • 1927 Paul Dirac publishes his paper on the quantization of em field and zero-point energy.
    'The Quantum Theory of the Emission and Absorption of Radiation'
    Proceedings of the Royal Society, A114, p243 (1927).
  • 1931 Paul Dirac predicts the existance of the anti-electron and the anti-proton.
    'Quantized Singularities in the Electromagnetic Field'
    Proceedings of the Royal Society, A133, p60 (1931).
  • 'It doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn't matter how smart you are. If it doesn't agree with experiment, it's wrong.' Richard Feynman

  • 1948 Richard Feynman invents the path integral formalism for quantum mechanics.
    'Space-time Approach to Nonrelativistic Quantum Mechanics'
    Rev. Modern Physics, 20, p367-387 (1948).
  • 'There is a great satisfaction in building good tools for other people to use.' Freeman Dyson

  • 1949 Freeman Dyson publishes his famous paper on renormalisation of the S-matrix.
    'The S-Matrix in Quantum Electrodynamics'
    Physical Review, 75, p1736 (1949).
  • '...the symmetry between the left and the right, is as old as human civilization...debated at length by philosophers of the past.' Chen-Ning Yang

  • 1954 Chen-Ning Yang and Robert Mills develop non-Abelian gauge invariance, now a fundamental part of the Standard Model of particle physics.
    'Conservation of Isotopic Spin and Isotopic Gauge Invariance'
    Physical Review, 96, p191-195 (1954).
  • 'I think one can try to reduce the amount of confusion, and also to reduce the amount of nonsense that's talked about quantum mechanics.' Murray Gell-Mann

  • 1961 Murray Gell-Mann publishes his 'Eightfold Way'. A theory which brings order to the chaos that had been created by the discovery of some hundred particles in the atom's nucleus.
    'The eightfold way: a theory of strong interaction symmetry'
    California Institute of Technology Laboratory Report CTSL-20 (1961).
  • 'Is it not good to know what follows from what, even if it is not necessary for all practical purposes.' John Bell

  • 1964 John Bell shows that local realism (as assumed in the EPR Paradox) leads to a requirement for certain types of phenomena that are not present in quantum mechanics.
    'On the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen Paradox'
    Physics, 1, p195-200, (1964).
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