Diagnosing Disagreements: The Authentication of the Positron 1931 – 1934

This paper bridges a historiographical gap in accounts of the prediction and discovery of the positron by combining three ingredients. First, the prediction and discovery of the positron are situated in the broader context of a period of ‘crystallisation’ of a research tradition. Second, the prediction and discovery of the positron are discussed in the context of the ‘authentication’ of the particle. Third, the attitude of the relevant scientists to both prediction and discovery are conceptualised in terms of the idea of ‘perspectives’. It will be argued that by examining the prediction and discovery of the positron in the context of authentication within a period of crystallisation, we can better understand disagreements regarding the positron between relevant scientists (Dirac, Bohr, and Pauli) in the period 1931-34.

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Crețu, A. (forthcoming) Diagnosing Disagreements: The Authentication of the Positron 1931 – 1934, Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics Part B

Image: 7th Solvay Conference, Bruxelles (October 1933) by Benjamin Couprie [Public domain] via wikimedia commons