Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

The Electron as a Vector Wave


THE spinning electron of Uhlenbeck and l Goudsmit has brilliantly filled up a serious gap in atomic physics, but, while we cannot withhold our admiration from its successes, it is only fair to consider certain defects from which it suffers. When what is required is to double the number of states of the electron, it is at the least generous to introduce three extra degrees of freedom and then make an arbitrary (though not unnatural) assumption which cuts down the triple infinity to two. The electron is in fact given a complete outfit of Eulerian angles, even if it may not be necessary so to express the matter explicitly. Now we regard the electron as the most primitive thing in Nature, and it would therefore be much more satisfactory if the duality could be obtained without such great elaboration. The present communication is an attempt to do this; it is, I think, promising, though falling short of complete success, but as future stages would involve a very large amount of work, it seemed better to expose the theory to criticism at once, in case some serious objection can be made against the whole principle of it.


Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

DARWIN, C. The Electron as a Vector Wave. Nature 119, 282–284 (1927).

Download citation

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

Further reading


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing