Basic Concepts of Modern Physics

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Basic Concepts of Modern Physics: Quanta, Particles, Relativity

“Only in the course of this investigation may we hope to uncover the true function of thinking in physics. In any case, in even the simplest parts of physical science many conceptual distinctions lie hidden, whether we speak of phenomena or effects. Who would deny that the rainbow is a single thing rather than merely the play of refraction and dispersion summed over countless drops?” —Georg Unger

Basic Concepts of Modern Physics is an essential introduction for all those who are interested in gaining a better understanding of modern physics. In this unique text, Georg Unger provides clear descriptions of the conceptual bases of twentieth-century physics, including quantum mechanics, particles, and relativity theory, as well as other aspects relating to key physical concepts to phenomena.

Recognizing that quantum mechanical phenomena occur at a boundary between the experienced world and a concurrent world of “subnature” that is not perceptible to the senses, Dr. Unger provides a radical, non-reductionist concept of modern physics that is open to spiritual understanding.

“We should go into a short contemplation of certain habits of thinking and ask: What expresses itself in this adherence to the nineteenth-century idea of matter? To say it radically—and thereby naturally be open to misunderstanding—it is a weakness of thinking characteristic of our times.” —Georg Unger

This book is a translation from German of Grundbegriffe der modernen Physik Quanten, Teilchen, Relativität: Vom Bilden physikalischer Begriffe – Teil III (Verlag Freies Geistesleben, 1967). An earlier English edition was published as Forming Concepts in Physics (Parker Courtney Press, 1995).

C O N T E N T S:


1. A New View of Nature?
2. The Method of Gaining Knowledge
3. The Transition to Twentieth-Century Physics
4. The New Phenomena
5. Foundational Concepts of Quantum Theory according to Blokhintsev
6. The Concept of Probability
7. The Theory of Relativity and Its Conceptual Constructions
8. Concrete Concept Formations
9. The Phenomenology and Mathematics of the New Physics
10. Physical Worldview and Spiritual Science

Cited Works
Index of Names

About the Author

Georg Unger, PhD (1909–1999), was born in Stuttgart and was a student at the
first Waldorf school when it opened in Stuttgart in 1919. He finished his doctorate in Zurich with extensive studies in mathematics, physics, and philosophy. In 1955, he became a visiting fellow at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts, for studies in cybernetics with Norbert Wiener. As a visiting guest at the Institute for Advanced Studies at Princeton Univesity, he met J. Robert Oppenheimer and, later, John von Neumann in Washington, for scientific philosophical discussions. Dr. Unger later became the head of the Department of Mathematics and Astronomy at the Goetheanum in Dornach. His publications range from the epistemological foundations of mathematics and physics to symptomatic discussions of developments in the field of science.

Additional information

Weight 18 oz
Dimensions 6 × 0.5 × 9 in



Hanna Edelglass




December 2023






Portal Books

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