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Download A History of the Theories of Aether and Electricity - The by Edmund T. Whittaker PDF

By Edmund T. Whittaker

Very good therapy of Electrodynamics and Relativity concept from a decent historic viewpoint. Whittaker's perspectives are suppressed simply because he used to be courageous sufficient to inform the reality concerning the authentic contributions of Einstein to the Relativity concept (properly attributed to Poincaré and Lorentz).

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Extra resources for A History of the Theories of Aether and Electricity - The Modern Theories

Sample text

The fall of the pendulum explained fall on planes, yet fall on planes explained fall along a circle. Once again Huygens was confronted by an unresolved question with a partial solution and basic tools provided by Galileo and Mersenne; once again he would shape the problem into a structured theory far surpassing that of his predecessors. THE GALILEAN TREATISE During the period in which he composed De Vi Centrifuga, between the first and second drafts, Huygens wrote a treatise on fall, incorporating Galileo's work on inclined planes and attempting to expand it to curves?

60 Huygens concludes the preliminary draft of De Vi Centrifuga with a discussion that could only be a response to Galileo's distinc- tive example. He proves that if a nail is placed at D (Fig. " As with so much of his work, Huygens had brought quantitative precision to Galileo's physical insights. These approaches to the problem of centrifugal force form a progression of solutions. The first attempts to deal with the problem were the verbal, qualitative approaches of Descartes and Galileo. Although Galileo provided a semiquantitative solution, it was Mersenne who attempted a numerical solution.

His mathematical proof is valid, as far as it goes, but it does not justify his loose verbal conclusion that the proportion increases ad infinitum as the point of release is approached. The same kind of error undermines the next stage of his argument. Galileo's interlocutor, Sagredo, asks whether the degrees of speed due to gravity on the body are not also becoming smaller as the secant approaches the contact point. To answer this question, Galileo introduces a diagram (Fig. "45 How similar and yet how different is Huygens's approach.

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