Arnold Sommerfeld and Condensed Matter Physics

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Arnold Sommerfeld (1868-1951), one of the founders of modern theoretical physics and a pioneer of quantum theory, was no condensed matter physicist. He nevertheless played a crucial role for the history of the field. Besides his important contributions to the study of condensed matter systems, among which his seminal electron gas theory of metallic conduction probably stands out, he influenced the field through his very approach to science, through his way of "doing" physics. Sommerfeld's specific style permeated not only his research but also his teaching and his promoting of physics. This has had a lasting influence on the practices of physicists to this day, and not only, but importantly, on those of condensed matter physicists. This article aims to provide a concise account of Sommerfeld's influence on the study of condensed matter systems, with regard to both his research and his practice.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAnnual Review of Condensed Matter Physics
Pages (from-to)31-49
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - 31 Mar 2017

    Research areas

  • Arnold Sommerfeld, Electron gas, Electron theory of metals, History of condensed matter physics, History of physics, History of solid-state physics

ID: 226826443