The interpretation of the Einstein-Rupp experiments and their influence on the history of quantum mechanics

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van Dongen, Jeroen
preprint description
The Einstein-Rupp experiments were proposed in 1926 by Albert Einstein to study the wave versus particle nature of light. Einstein presented a theoretical analysis of these experiments to the Berlin Academy together with results of Emil Rupp, who claimed to have successfully carried them out. However, as the preceding paper has shown, Rupp's success was the result of scientific fraud. This paper will argue, after exploring their interpretation, that the experiments were a relevant part of the background to such celebrated contributions to quantum mechanics as Born’s statistical interpretation of the wave function and Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle. Yet, the Einstein-Rupp experiments have hardly received attention in the history of quantum mechanics literature. In part, this is a consequence of self-censorship in the physics community, enforced in the wake of the Rupp affair. Self-censorship among historians of physics may however also have played a role.