David Bohm and collective movement

TitleDavid Bohm and collective movement
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2002
AuthorsKojevnikov, A
JournalHistorical Studies in the Physical and Biological Sciences
ISBN Number0890-9997

Collectivist philosophy inspired David Bohm's research program in physics in the late 1940s and early 1950s, which laid foundations for the modern theory of plasma and for a new stage in the development of the quantum theory of metals. Bohm saw electrons in plasma and in metals as capable of combining collective action with individual freedom, a combination that he pursued in his personal and political life. Mathematical models of such complex states of freedom, developed by Bohm and other socialist-minded physicists (Yakov Frenkel, Lev Landau, Igor Tamm), transformed the physics of condensed matter and led to the introduction of a new fundamental physical concept, collective excitations or quasiparticles. Together, these contributions illustrate the impact of socialist thought on the development of physics during the last century.

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