THE PASSAGE FROM CLASSICAL TO QUANTUM PHYSICS • Short Course by Giorgio Pastore – Starting on Monday, 22nd April 2024

The so-called crisis of classical physics is often presented in textbooks and courses that are not specifically focused on the history of physics in an oversimplified form. This fact makes it challenging to understand which conceptual knots had to be overcome and how in the passage from classical to quantum physics. For example, the famous “ultraviolet catastrophe” of the blackbody theory, often stressed in textbooks, played no role in Planck’s revolutionary approach. The introduction of matrix mechanics by Heisenberg and Jordan in 1925 was also more a revolutionary evolution of the old quantum theory than a consequence of the Uncertainty Principle. Such a conceptual transition and the role of the Uncertainty Principle are also rarely described in a historically correct way.

This cycle of three seminars aims to present in a historically correct form the conceptual steps related to

  1. the elaboration of the Old Quantum Theory, stressing the main underlying ideas;
  2. the open problems and the conceptual approach that opened the way to the matrix representation of Quantum Mechanics;
  3. the alternative approach of the wave mechanics by Schrödinger up to the synthesis between Heisenberg and Schrödinger’s approaches and the birth of the modern formulation of Quantum Theory.



Monday, 22nd April 2024

Monday, 6th May 2024

Monday, 13th May 2024

Time:  6:30 – 8:30  PM

Place: Sala Pietra, ex Ospedale Militare, via Fabio Severo 40

Language: Italian/English

Info: Programme

Collegio Fonda Students:


Giorgio Pastore is associate professor at the Department of Physics of the University of Trieste.