What happens to the single system remains it is true entirely unclarified by

What happens to the single system remains it is true

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of finite alterations experienced by part of the single systems. What happens to the single system remains, it is true, entirely unclarified by this mode of consideration; this enigmatic hap- pening is entirely eliminated from the representation by the statistical manner of Consideration. But now I ask: Is there really any physicist who believes that we shall never get any inside view of these important alterations in the single systems, in their structure and their causal connections, and this regardless of the fact that these single happenings have been brought so close to us, thanks to the marvelous inventions of the Wilson chamber and the Geiger counter? To believe this is logically possible without contradiction; but, it is so very contrary to my scientific instinct that I cannot forego the search for a more complete conception. To these considerations we should add those of another kind which also voice their plea against the idea that the methods introduced by quantum mechanics are likely to give a useful basis for the whole of physics. In the Schr6dinger equation, absolute time, and also the potential energy, play a decisive rSle, while these two concepts have been recognized by the theory of relativity as inadmissable in principle. If one wishes to escape from this difficulty he must found the theory upon field and field laws instead of upon forces of interaction. This leads us to transpose the statistical methods of quantum mechanics to fields, that is to systems of infinitely many degrees of freedom. Although the attempts so far made are restricted to linear equations, which, as we know from the results of the general theory of relativity, are insuf- ficient, the complications met up to now by the very ingenious attempts are already terrifying. They certainly will rise
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378 AT~BERT EIXSTEIN. [J. F. I. sky high if one wishes to obey the requirements of the general theory of relativity, the justification of which in principle nobody doubts. To be sure, it has been pointed out that the introduction of a space-time continuum may be considered as contrary to nature in view of the molecular structure of everything which happens on a small scale. It is maintained that perhaps the success of the Heisenberg method points to a purely alge- braical method of description of nature, that is to the elimina- tion of continuous functions from physics. Then, however, we must also give up, by principle, the space-time continuum. It is not unimaginable that human ingenuity will some day find methods which will make it possible to proceed along such a path. At the present time, however, such a program looks like an attempt to breathe in empty space. There is no doubt that quantum mechanics has seized hold of a beautiful element of truth, and that it will be a test stone for any future theoretical basis, in that it must be deducible as a limiting case from that basis, just as electrostatics is deducible from the Maxwell equations of the electromagnetic field or as thermodynamics is deducible from classical me- chanics. However, I do not believe that quantum mechanics
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