By Salvo D’Agostino (auth.)

ISBN-10: 1402002440

ISBN-13: 9781402002441

ISBN-10: 9401090343

ISBN-13: 9789401090346

This publication provides a viewpoint at the heritage of theoretical physics over the last countless numbers years. It contains 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 hunt for and the exploration of subject matters that motivated major con­ ceptual alterations within the nice stream of principles and experiments which heralded the emergence of theoretical physics (hereafter: TP). the thrill. damental switch concerned the popularity of the scien­ tific validity of theoretical physics. within the moment half the 9­ teenth century, it was once tough 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 recent self-discipline, confessed in 1895 that, "even the formula of this idea [of a theoretical physicist] isn't solely with out difficulty". 1 even supposing technological know-how had consistently been divided into conception and test, it used to be basically in physics that theoretical paintings built right into a significant examine and educating forte in its personal correct. 2 it really is actual that theoretical physics was once regularly a construction of tum­ of-the century German physics, the place it got complete institutional acceptance, however it can also be indisputable that notable physicists in different eu international locations, specifically, Ampere, Fourier, and Maxwell, additionally had a tremendous half in its creation.

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Extra info for A History of the Ideas of Theoretical Physics: Essays on the Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Physics

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Due to this, Maxwell introduced into his theory Weber's factor as a consequence of dimensional equations. In his theory, 1 Weber defined various systems of units for measuring the electric and magnetic quantities, which he called "absolute systems", and introduced the concept of a characteristic velocity of motion for electric particles. In 1856 he measured it as a "conversion factor" between different units of the same quantity, thanks to the aid of his colleague, the experimentalist Rudolf Kohlrausch.

Taking our stand on this formidable problem, no less than that of the factual foundation of an empirical science, clearly those statements that Weber and Duhem considered hypotheses, were for Ampere mechanical principles, constitutive foundational axioms; on these foundations he constructed his theory. The notion that forces were central was for him an axiom constitutive of the force concept: Je n'ai fait aucune recherche sur la cause meme qu'on peut assigner a ces forces, bien convaincu que toute recherche de ce genre doit etre precedee de la connaissance purement experimentale des lois, et de la determination, uniquement deduite de ces lois, de la valeur des forces elementaires dont la direction est necessairement celie de La droite menee par Les points materiels entre les quels elles s' exercent [my italics].

However Weber was convinced that such a velocity existed and the search after it was his main task in the following years. Since no constant velocity is included in Ampere's law, its relationship with Weber's FL presents some interest. Weber asserted that his FL represented "a generalisation of that previously erected by Ampere, which in effect represented the special case of four electrical particles simultaneously involved, when current elements are assumed constant and fixed". 34 As is evident from these remarks, Weber did not deduce his FL from Ampere's law but he extrapolated it from Ampere's, limiting the indeterminacy of such procedure by testing his FL for particular cases, where it was amenable to "certain" experimental facts.

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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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