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Download A History of the Ideas of Theoretical Physics: Essays on the by Salvo D’Agostino (auth.) PDF

By Salvo D’Agostino (auth.)

This publication offers a viewpoint at the heritage of theoretical physics during the last thousands years. It includes essays at the historical past of pre-Maxwellian electrodynamics, of Maxwell's and Hertz's box theories, and of the current century's relativity and quantum physics. a typical thread around the essays is the quest for and the exploration of issues that motivated major con­ ceptual alterations within the nice flow of rules and experiments which heralded the emergence of theoretical physics (hereafter: TP). the joys. damental switch concerned the popularity of the scien­ tific validity of theoretical physics. within the moment half the 9­ teenth century, it was once challenging for plenty of physicists to appreciate the character and scope of theoretical physics and of its adept, the theoreti­ cal physicist. A physicist like Ludwig Boltzmann, one of many eminent individuals to the hot self-discipline, confessed in 1895 that, "even the formula of this idea [of a theoretical physicist] isn't really solely with no difficulty". 1 even though technological know-how had regularly been divided into thought and scan, it used to be in simple terms in physics that theoretical paintings built right into a significant study and educating strong point in its personal correct. 2 it really is real that theoretical physics used to be generally a construction of tum­ of-the century German physics, the place it obtained complete institutional acceptance, however it is additionally indisputable that remarkable physicists in different eu international locations, particularly, Ampere, Fourier, and Maxwell, additionally had a massive half in its creation.

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Fechner's special view of an electric current consisting in one wire of a double motion in opposite directions of positively (+e) and negatively (-e) charged particles (Weber: 'electric masses'). In the other wire, these particles (indicated as +e' and -e') moved in directions which were opposite to each other and also opposite to the direction of like-sign particles in the first wire. IS In 1843, Weber had become particularly concerned with Ampere's electrodynamics. When he returned to Gottingen in 1849 he had already contributed to electrodynamics important results which were published in 1846.

This research culminated in the dis- 20 CHAPTER I covery of a fundamental law of electrodynamic action, which he presented in his influencial 1846 paper" Electrodynamic Measures on a General Fundamental Law of the Electric Action". 16 Weber was convinced that Ampere's theory had a future if somebody took on the task of refining his measurements, completing the theory, and extending the observations. 17 For Weber, Ampere could not support his claim that his law was "derived only from experiments", because, in the connections between the movable conductor and the battery, friction perturbed the electrodynamic force that was to be measured.

Here the word per has been replaced by the sign for divided by. THEORIES OF UNITS AND DIMENSIONS 41 Now it is nonsense to say that a unit of velocity is a unit of length divided by a unit of time in the ordinary sense of the words. But we find it convenient to give a new meaning to the wQrds "divided by" and to the symbols which shortly expresses them ... this convenience is made manifest when we have to change from one unit to another.... In 1982 Rudolf Clausius presented6 two lines of criticism to Maxwell's dimensional theories.

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