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The Swiss Physical Society (SPS) is the national professional association of Physicists coming from teaching, research, development and industry. The diversity of modern research in physics is reflected in ten specific sections.

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Symposium: Louis de Broglie: 100 years of wave-particle duality

After the success of last year's historical symposium on Blaise Pascal (and several former symposia we organised either in conjunction with an annual meeting or as stand-alone events) we embed this year again such a symposium in the program of our annual meeting.

Louis de Broglie

The years 1920 - 1930 are regarded as an important decade in modern physics, in which every year epoch-making discoveries in quantum physics occurred. This prompted Unesco to proclaim 2025 as the Year of Quantum Science and Technology. One of the highlights of this decade was Louis de Broglie's formulation of the duality of matter.

Louis de Broglie (1892 - 1987) is considered one of the most important physicists of the 20th century. In 1924, de Broglie completed his studies with the famous dissertation Recherches sur la théorie des Quanta, in which he suggested that wave-particle duality could be applied to all matter. This bold idea was honored by the Institut de France in 1926 and 1927. In 1929, the discovery of the wave nature of electrons was followed by the Henri Poincaré Medal of the Académie des Sciences and the Nobel Prize in Physics.

Four lectures addressing the history and the impact of de Broglie's work will be given.

  • Friedrich-Karl Thielemann, Universität Basel: Matter and Light: Louis de Broglie and our current understanding of physics
  • Tilman Esslinger, ETH Zürich: Waves of Quantum Matter
  • Philipp Treutlein, Universität Basel: Wave-particle duality in atom interferometers: precision measurements at the quantum limit
  • Henning Stahlberg, EPFL: Single electron imaging vs. coherent electron beam diffraction: Optimization of image contrast in cryo-electron microscopy

The abstracts of the four talks will be published here and in the next issue of the SPG Mitteilungen.

This symposium will take place on 9 September 2024 in the afternoon, and is free of charge, no registration needed.

The SPS considers this symposium also as "warm up" for our IYQ 2025 activities. In 2025, we plan a similar symposium at our joint annual meeting with the colleagues of the Austrian Physical Society. This conference will take place at the University of Vienna in September 2025. The historical symposium will then focus on the scientific work of Wolfgang Pauli and Erwin Schrödinger, performed in the years between 1920 and 1930. Both physicists were born in Austria, but had close relation to Switzerland as professors of Physics in Zürich.