The brilliant leap made by Heisenberg's quantum mechanics was made possible by a number of precursors. The BKS (Bohr, Kramers, Slater) theory provided the model that had to be disproved. An American scientist named John Slater had proposed the idea of a virtual radiation field that carried no energy but that was continually emitted and absorbed by virtual oscillators in an atom. Bohr and his assistant, Kramers, took this idea to suggest that a quantum jump could be induced by a virtual field without any real energy transference. Such a theory required the abandonment of the sacred laws of energy and momentum conservation, and violated a basic idea of causality, as absorption and emission of energy were no longer necessarily correlated. Heisenberg himself was skeptical at first, but soon found the theory quite captivating and hoped to connect it with his own work. Back in Göttingen, Born was using a
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