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The Motion of the Spinning Electron


IN a letter published in NATURE of February 20, p. 264, Messrs. Uhlenbeck and Goudsmit have shown how great difficulties which atomic theory had met in the attempt to explain spectral structure and Zeeman effects, can be avoided by using the idea of the spinning electron. Although their theory is in complete qualitative agreement with observation, it involved an apparent quantitative discrepancy. The value of the precession of the spin axis in an external magnetic field required to account for Zeeman effects seemed to lead to doublet separations twice those which are observed. This discrepancy, however, disappears when the kinematical problem concerned is examined more closely from the point of view of the theory of relativity.

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THOMAS, L. The Motion of the Spinning Electron. Nature 117, 514 (1926).

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