Spin-orbit coupling in the hydrogen atom, the Thomas precession, and the exact solution of Dirac's equation

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Scopus citations


Bohr's model of the hydrogen atom can be extended to account for the observed spin-orbit interaction, either with the introduction of the Thomas precession,1 or with the stipulation that, during a spin-flip transition, the orbital radius remains intact. In other words, if there is a desire to extend Bohr's model to accommodate the spin of the electron, then experimental observations mandate the existence of the Thomas precession, which is a questionable hypothesis, or the existence of artificially robust orbits during spin-flip transitions. This is tantamount to admitting that Bohr's model, which is a poor man's way of understanding the hydrogen atom, is of limited value, and that one should really rely on Dirac's equation for the physical meaning of spin, for the mechanism that gives rise to the gyromagnetic coefficient g = 2, for Zeeman splitting, for relativistic corrections to Schrödinger's equation, for Darwin's term, and for the correct 12 factor in the spin-orbit coupling energy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSpintronics XII
EditorsHenri-Jean M. Drouhin, Jean-Eric Wegrowe, Manijeh Razeghi, Henri Jaffres
ISBN (Electronic)9781510628731
StatePublished - 2019
EventSpintronics XII 2019 - San Diego, United States
Duration: Aug 11 2019Aug 15 2019

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


ConferenceSpintronics XII 2019
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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