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
Volume33
Pagination161-192
ISBN Number0890-9997
KeywordsHistory &amp, PHILOSOPHY OF SCIENCE, PHYSICS
Abstract

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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