Social Scientist. v 25, no. 290-291 (July-Aug 1997) p. 57.

Graphics file for this page

David Bohm and the Holomovement

D. Bohm and BJ. Hiley, The Undivided Universe—An Ontological interpretation of quantum theory, Routledge, London and New York, 1995, pp. xi +397

David Bohm who died in 1992 was one of the foremost scientific thinkers and one of the most distinguished physicists of his generation. As far back as in 1954 J.D. Bernal had recognised promise in Bohm and his colleagues who were trying to remodel physics. In his book Science in History Bernal stated: "We are just entering a new phase of criticism, of physical theory where the evident malaise of mathematical physicists at the inadequacy and inelegance of the quantum and relativistic theories is giving rise to efforts at radical reconstitution. The attack comes from all sides, both from the older giants, Einstein, Dirac, de Broglie, and Frenkel, as well as from the younger physicists, Blokhintzev, Janossy, Bohm, and Vigier."

What was the malaise and what were the attempts at reconstitution of physics that Bernal was referring to? We have in the past discussed this matter in the pages of this journal and given non-technical accounts of the attempts made by Bohm and his colleagues to create a quantum theory which steers clear of the difficulties of the conventional quantum theory. The present book under review by Bohm and his long time associate B.J. Hiley is a much awaited publication which gathers together material which was until now scattered in research papers. It represents what may be called the first authentic textbook for the new quantum theory.

The conventional theory which is taught in the universities is the quantum theory which was evolved during the late twenties of this century and later by Niels Bohr, Heisenberg and others under the influence of the 'generally positivist empiricist attitude that pervaded physics at that time.'

However, looking back into this period, especially to the Solvay Congress of physics in 1927, it may be remarked that two different approaches were presented at this congress. One was the approach of Bohr, Heisenberg and others who presented a theory which contained a calculus for predicting the results of experiments. This theory contained no underlying explanation for quantum effects, but merely referred to the formalism which gave the results. The alternative approach was of Louis de Broglie who tried to give a causal quantum theory in which quantum effects were sought to be explained

* Wilson College, Mumbai.

Social Scientist, Vol. 25, Nos. 7-8, July-August 1997

Back to Social Scientist | Back to the DSAL Page