New PDF release: A History of the Ideas of Theoretical Physics: Essays on the

By Salvo D’Agostino (auth.)

ISBN-10: 1402002440

ISBN-13: 9781402002441

ISBN-10: 9401090343

ISBN-13: 9789401090346

This booklet offers a point of view at the heritage of theoretical physics during the last hundreds of thousands years. It includes essays at the heritage of pre-Maxwellian electrodynamics, of Maxwell's and Hertz's box theories, and of the current century's relativity and quantum physics. a standard thread around the essays is the quest for and the exploration of topics that prompted major con­ ceptual adjustments within the nice stream 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 used to be challenging for lots 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 members to the hot self-discipline, confessed in 1895 that, "even the formula of this idea [of a theoretical physicist] isn't completely with no difficulty". 1 even though technology had constantly been divided into concept and scan, it was once in simple terms in physics that theoretical paintings built right into a significant study and instructing forte in its personal correct. 2 it really is precise that theoretical physics used to be in general a construction of tum­ of-the century German physics, the place it acquired complete institutional attractiveness, however it is additionally indisputable that impressive physicists in different eu international locations, specifically, Ampere, Fourier, and Maxwell, additionally had a massive half in its creation.

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Additional resources for A History of the Ideas of Theoretical Physics: Essays on the Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Physics

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The consideration of some outmoded or controversial parts of his theories, such as the ones dealt with in this paper, will contribute, I hope, to a better understanding of the historical situation of Maxwell's electromagnetism. An example of the controversial aspects in Maxwell's theories is, in my opinion, Maxwell's electromagnetic theory of light and, in particular, the metrological and dimensional theories which represent a large part of its supporting evidence. These theories areused by Maxwell in order to prove the equality between Weber's conversion factor and the velocity of light, one of the main pieces of evidence in favor of his optical theory.

In sum, Ampere based his reduction of magnets to currents,3 the celebrated electric theory of magnetism, on the same symmetry argument about symmetry employed to derive his electrodynamic law. Suffice it here to quote a passage from the 1822 memoir "Sur la determination de la formule qui represente l' action mutuelle de deux portions infiniment petites de conducteurs voltaiques". Starting from the theorem of tangential actions discussed above, Ampere extended his arguments from circuits to magnets, affirming that: 11 en devait etre de meme d'un assemblage que1conque de circuits fermes, et, par consequent, d'un aimant, lorsqu'on Ie considere comme tel, conformement au mon opinion sur Ia cause des phenomenes magnetiques, et c'est, en effet, ce qui resulte de plusieurs experiences dues a divers physiciens.

30 The FL was thereby presented in a neater fonn: 31 (1) The plus sign referred to forces between pairs of particles, e and e' of like signs, the minus sign to pairs of different signs. Weber's next step was to find a relation between the constant a in his FL and his definition of units of current intensity in various systems of units. He defined as the measure of current intensity the amount of like signs particles carried per second in one single flux in a single wire (let us recall that in Fechner and Weber's assumptions a current consisted in a double flux of charged masses in a wire); consequently, as one unit of current intensity he defined the current which carried unit charge per second in a single flux of electrical 'masses'.

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A History of the Ideas of Theoretical Physics: Essays on the Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Physics by Salvo D’Agostino (auth.)


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