2.66 Quantum Physics

Category: Philosophy of Science

Keywords: quantum, spin, measurement, bell, measurements, particle, wave, mechanics, momentum, particles, measuring, electron, hidden, apparatus, algebra

Number of Articles: 473
Percentage of Total: 1.5%
Rank: 14th

Weighted Number of Articles: 339.2
Percentage of Total: 1.1%
Rank: 38th

Mean Publication Year: 1986.5
Weighted Mean Publication Year: 1986
Median Publication Year: 1992
Modal Publication Year: 2003

Topic with Most Overlap: Space and Time (0.034)
Topic this Overlaps Most With: Thermodynamics (0.0458)
Topic with Least Overlap: Emotions (8e-05)
Topic this Overlaps Least With: Liberal Democracy (0.00016)

A scatterplot showing which proportion of articles each year are in the quantum physicstopic. The x-axis shows the year, the y-axis measures the proportion of articles each year in this topic. There is one dot per year. The highest value is in 1996 when 3.5% of articles were in this topic. The lowest value is in 1902 when 0.0% of articles were in this topic. The full table that provides the data for this graph is available in Table A.66 in Appendix A.

Figure 2.153: Quantum physics.

A set of twelve scatterplots showing the proportion of articles in each journal in each year that are in the Quantum Physicstopic. There is one scatterplot for each of the twelve journals that are the focus of this book. In each scatterplot, the x-axis is the year, and the y-axis is the proportion of articles in that year in that journal in this topic. Here are the average values for each of the twelve scatterplots - these tell you on average how much of the journal is dedicated to this topic. Mind - 0.2%. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society - 0.2%. Ethics - 0.0%. Philosophical Review - 0.1%. Analysis - 0.3%. Philosophy and Public Affairs - 0.0%. Journal of Philosophy - 0.4%. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research - 0.1%. Philosophy of Science - 4.4%. Noûs - 0.7%. The Philosophical Quarterly - 0.3%. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science - 5.7%. The topic reaches its zenith in year 1962 when it makes up, on average across the journals, 2.8% of the articles. And it hits a minimum in year 1902 when it makes up, on average across the journals, 0.0% of the articles.

Figure 2.154: Quantum physics articles in each journal.

Table 2.161: Characteristic articles of the quantum physics topic.
Table 2.162: Highly cited articles in the quantum physics topic.


A couple of things about this topic surprised me, though I think this says more about my ignorance than about the field.

One was that the peak of this topic comes considerably earlier than I expected. I had thought of this as a very modern topic, but we see means for it coming in the 1990s and even 1980s. These topics are sort of chronologically ordered, there are still twenty-four topics to go. Now to be fair, in other models the quantum physics topic did come much later in the sequence. But I don’t think I need a fancy model to see that (a) there are topics on quantum physics going right back to the founding of Philosophy of Science, and (b) there is a little less quantum physics in the philosophy of science journals now than in the 1980s and 1990s.

The other striking thing about this topic is how Michigan centered it is. Every time I ran one of these models, one of the things I checked for was what percentage of the characteristic articles in the quantum physics topic had a Michigan author. And often the percentage was well over 50 percent. This model run wasn’t quite that high, but there are four papers with Michigan authors on the first ten.