Bohr's Theory of the Atom: Content, Closure and Consistency

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Vickers, Peter John
conference paper description
How exactly does the much-discussed inconsistency in Bohr's theory of the atom manifest itself? A close look at the suggestions made so far in the literature suggests that the theory may not be inconsistent at all. The answer depends on (i) what exactly we take the content of 'Bohr's theory' to be, and (ii) what we take to follow from that content (how we 'close' the theory). In lieu of inconsistency, alternative characterisations of the relevant conceptual problems are possible. Looking briefly at the later Bohr theory, I conclude that the theory was only inconsistent after the introduction of the quantum adiabatic principle in 1917.