Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Louis de Broglie - 120th birthday anniversary

Exactly 120 years ago, on August 15th, 1892, Louis de Broglie was born in Dieppe, a little town on the coast of Normandy. De Broglie is one of my favorite physicists because he has tried to conciliate quantum theory with intuition. He entered the physics stage after the first World War, where he had served as radiographer on the Eiffel tower. That stimulated his interest in electromagnetic radiation questions. At that time, it became clear that electromagnetic radiation could be explained as well by wave mechanics (constructive and destructive interference as evidenced by Thomas Young in 1803), as by a collection of particles (photoelectric effect explained by Albert Einstein in 1905). Louis de Broglie made an important following step: if light had dual wave-particle behavior, matter also should have that duality.

De Broglie tried to interpret this duality as phase matching between a particle embedded in a wave, the pilot wave. There should be phase matching between both: "les photons incidents possèdent une fréquence d’oscillation interne égale à celle de l’onde (my translation: the incident photons have an internal oscillation frequency equal to that of the wave)". He saw photons, as well as electrons, as little clock-watches embedded in their wave. I am sure this intuition will lead to new physics in the future, because this aspect of duality has hardly been investigated, see Couder's bouncing droplets in pilot wave. Personally I am working with this pilot wave idea in order to explain some properties of quantum dots.

As Louis de Broglie lived his last years in a little town, Louveciennes, that is close to where I live, I had a walk there today. Maybe I could find some place related to him. Unfortunately, I didn't find the exact location of his residence  (please drop a comment if you know). But surely the scenery of the pictures below near to the royal residence of the Manoir du Coeur Volant must have been very familiar to him.
Manoir du Coeur Volant

Abreuvoir of Marly-le-Roi

Royal Domain of Marly-le-Roi

Commemoration plaque of the Manoir du Coeur-Volant

No comments:

Post a Comment