David Bohm

David Joseph Bohm [ deɪvɪd dʒoʊzɪf boʊm ] ( born December 20, 1917 in Wilkes -Barre, Pennsylvania, † 27 October 1992 in London) was an American quantum physicist and philosopher.

Bohm has a number of significant contributions delivered to physics, especially in the field of many-body theory and the foundations of quantum mechanics. Bohm is the founder of Bohmian mechanics, an alternative interpretation of quantum mechanics.


Bohm attended Pennsylvania State College (now Penn State ) and studied from 1939 with Robert Oppenheimer at the California Institute of Technology and then at the University of California, Berkeley, where he - like other students of Oppenheimer - the end of the 1930s and in pacifist communist student organizations committed. That's why Bohm was initially not directly involved in the Manhattan Project, and he was therefore at the beginning of the McCarthy era significant problems. 1943 doctorate David Bohm in Berkeley and worked in theory but in electromagnetic enrichment of uranium at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge.

After the Second World War Bohm assistant professor at Princeton University. Here he also worked with Albert Einstein. As Bohm refused to give to the Committees of McCarthy's information if he or one of his colleagues - especially Robert Oppenheimer - sympathized with communism, he was in 1950 arrested and released in the wake of the University of Princeton (despite an acquittal, 1951). Although Bohm had the intercession of Einstein and others, he found no place in the United States. Bohm emigrated to Brazil, where he became a professor at the University of São Paulo. From 1955 he was in Haifa and from 1957 Research Fellow at the University of Bristol at the Technion. In 1961 he became a professor at Birkbeck College, University of London, where he remained until his retirement in 1987.

Physical work

Another focus concerns the foundations and interpretation of quantum mechanics. In 1951 appeared Bohm's textbook on quantum theory, in which he still supports the Copenhagen interpretation. In an interview in 1992 he said that he had begun in the late 1940s to question this interpretation. In the 1950s he developed as an alternative to the Bohmian mechanics, a non-linear deterministic theory with hidden variables and is already represented in an equivalent form of de Broglie assumption of a guide shaft (pilot wave). Since that time, he was also with the philosophical implications of quantum mechanics, in particular the paradox of non-locality.

With his Ph.D. student Yakir Aharonov he said in 1959 a quantum effect advance which underwent an experimental confirmation in the following year and was named after them Aharonov - Bohm effect. Only after its publication, they learned that Werner Ehrenberg and Raymond E. Siday had already predicted the effect in 1949.

Philosophical works

Closely associated with Bohm's work on the interpretation of quantum mechanics were his philosophical interests. Together with Martin Buber, Bohm developed the dialog method: you tried the scientific discourse (with the aim of thematic convergence ) a creative, based on understanding alternative to face (with the aim of thematic divergence).

In this context, his work Wholeness and the implicate order is to ask ( the implicate order ). Here an attempt is made to address the problems posed by quantum physics with definitions of a new world view. The characteristics are:

  • Holism,
  • Processual and
  • Non - divisibility.

Explicitly refers Bohm in his work on the ability to understand the quantum hypothesis as an indication of a new order. This implicate order Bohm compares with a hologram, in which in all items at the same time all Gesamtsapekte are like " folded ". Bohm calls it Holo Movement.

Bohm believed until his death no doubt that science is able to come to an end in the search for knowledge. He believed that science would develop in unexpected directions, and that mathematics was not the only way to grasp reality. He hoped that future scientists would find new sources of metaphors and analogies in modeling the natural, instead of so much reliance on mathematics. He expected that science and art would one day merge with each other; the separation of art and science is only a preliminary.

Bohm was a contemporary and admirer of Jiddu Krishnamurti and founded the Krishnamurti School in England Brockwood Park with. Numerous writings have emerged from this relationship and discussion between the physicist and the philosopher. Krishnamurti claimed that Bohm did not understand his work.

The Bohm Dialogue (also known as Bohmian Dialogue or " dialogue in the spirit of David Bohm's ") is a free-flowing group conversation that attempts to relate using Bohm's understanding of the way as thoughts on the universal reality that to examine crises of the society and beyond the totality of human nature and consciousness more effectively.


Einstein said of Bohm that he was the only one who could get beyond quantum mechanics. In a letter dated 12 May 1952, Max Born, Einstein can also judge quite otherwise: Have you seen that the Bohm (just like 25 years ago de Broglie ) believes that he can reinterpret the quantum theory of deterministic? The way seems too cheap to me. But you can of course better judge. '

Bohm's books won for some time in some circles a cult status; he himself became an idol for people who wanted to pass through the physics to mystical enlightenment. Representations to Bohm's position can be found for example in John Gribbin and John Horgan. A summary of the philosophical implications supplies Stefan Bauberger.

Hans -Dieter Mutschler called Bohm in terms of his thoughts on the " implicate order " as New Age physicist. These considerations, which calls Rüdiger Vaas " to the esoteric bordering speculation " were " badly designed " him. They found favor in the New Age Movement and esotericism.