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Title: Nostradamus and the Quantum Mechanical Theory
Author: David J Larkin
  Audacious Claims and Historical Omission
Keywords: Quantum Mechanics, Quantum Mechanical Theory
Created: April, 2013

•The general-public discourse extolling the descriptive and predictive virtues of Quantum Mechanical Theory (QMT) often reverberates with the audacious proclamation that QMT was the exclusive harbinger and vehicle for the development of advanced technologies, such as, the transistor and the laser. Given the milieu of (entrenched and emerging) ideas and dispositions prevalent during the period preceding development, the provenance of such technologies is problematic, but what is audacious is the assertion of exclusivity, namely that, if not for QMT then technologies such as the transistor and the laser would have never been developed. Trivially, the inherent absurdity of this assertion can be exposed via analogy: if Columbus had not discovered the Americas then no-one would have discovered the Americas.

Philosophers of science have repeatedly demonstrated that more than one theoretical construction can always be placed upon a given collection of data. [1]

Composite Particle Theory (CPT) is one such theoretical construction that yields descriptive and explanatory representations expressed with simplicity, and coherence, whilst sustaining utility and extensibility. CPT, like QMT, also facilitates the theoretical explanation of the above mentioned advanced technologies. [2]

Furthermore, mathematical models (as theoretical constructs) cannot, exclusively, provide evidentiary support (or input) to claims of verification or correctness for any theoretical-disposition. [3] Nor is one model's predictive capacity exclusive. Notwithstanding any such utility, the historical record is a cautionary portent to the danger of reliance upon prediction and predictive capacity; indeed, in general a cautionary portent to the injudicious and evangelical reliance upon theoretical disposition and the associated models per se.

Nevertheless, when one considers the (unrevised) historical record the audacious claims are rendered farcical. In 1925, commensurate with the emergence of QMT, Julius E Lilienfeld had already applied for a patent for a field-effect transistor. Although it would be some decades before the development of the requisite semiconductor materials that would facilitate the practical implementation of the underlying theory, notwithstanding, the idea had been contemplated and published.

More compelling, however, is the anecdote cited in Charles Townes' publication detailing the development of the laser. [4] Townes writes that many distinguished physicists, including the QMT luminary Niels Bohr, argued that the maser would not work because the concept violated Heisenberg's uncertainty principle. It would seem that Townes' success in developing the laser was in spite of QMT not because of it.

NOTES (click the list-number for any additional link)
1. Kuhn, T.S., 1996, The structure of scientific revolutions, 3rd ed., University of Chicago Press: Chicago.
2. It is important to note that despite major dissimilarities both CPT and QMT are quantum theories.
3. See also, the extended article MATHEMATICA SACROSANCTUS.
4. Townes, C.H., 1999, How the laser happened: adventures of a scientist, New York: OUP
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