University Chemistry ›› 2021, Vol. 36 ›› Issue (6): 2008054.doi: 10.3866/PKU.DXHX202008054

• Chemistry History • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Léon Rosenfeld: A Pioneer in the Quantum Mechanical Interpretation of the Optical Activity Theory

Hui Zhang()   

  • Received:2020-08-24 Accepted:2020-09-07 Published:2020-09-10
  • Contact: Hui Zhang


One best way to get insight into the fascinating history of twentieth century chiroptical spectroscopy and its inextricable entanglement with history of quantum physics is to look at the vivid life stories of particular scholars. This article describes the little-known experience of the Belgian theoretical physicist Léon Rosenfeld (1904-1974) in creating a quantum interpretation of the optical activity theory. In the history of science literature Rosenfeld' page was totally a blank sheet, but as a pioneer in the exploration of the quantum origin of optical activity, he has an irreplaceable position in the development history of chiroptical spectroscopy.

Key words: Optical activity theory, Quantum mechanics, History of science