By Salvo D’Agostino (auth.)
This ebook offers a standpoint at the background of theoretical physics during the last 1000s years. It contains essays at the background 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 stimulated major con ceptual adjustments within the nice circulation of rules and experiments which heralded the emergence of theoretical physics (hereafter: TP). the thrill. damental swap concerned the popularity of the scien tific validity of theoretical physics. within the moment half the 9 teenth century, it was once difficult 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 recent self-discipline, confessed in 1895 that, "even the formula of this idea [of a theoretical physicist] isn't really totally with out difficulty". 1 even though technological know-how had regularly been divided into thought and scan, it was once merely in physics that theoretical paintings constructed right into a significant learn and instructing uniqueness in its personal correct. 2 it really is actual that theoretical physics used to be customarily a construction of tum of-the century German physics, the place it obtained complete institutional attractiveness, however it can also be indisputable that awesome physicists in different eu nations, specifically, Ampere, Fourier, and Maxwell, additionally had a big 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
Augustin Fresnel and Augustin Luois Chauchy, among others, succeeded in showing how some complicated effects of christalline optics could be explained by apt elastic hypothesis and mathematical analysis. George Green and Gabriel Stockes in England had pursued the methods of mathematicalphysics to work out elastic theories of an optical ether. Maxwell himself contributed 11 to elasticity in one of his first scientific papers. This background is relevant for an assessment of Maxwell's initial approach to Weber's factor, explaining why he accepted that, in his first identification of this factor with the velocity of light, the elastic theory could still have a role.
43 This definition of c determined solely by the condition that the force disappears makes it fully independent, by definition, from any conventional ratio of units. In Section IV of his 1852 paper, Weber underlined the connection between the derivation of his FL and the foundation of com- MATHEMATICS IN AMPERE AND WEBER 29 plete systems of absolute units for electric and magnetic quantities. He emphasized the point that in line of principles the determination of a complete system of units for electrodynamics "without any relation with the magnetic measurements" was thus achieved.
Weber remarked that in his FL, c2 represented the ratio between the electrostatic (charge-charge force) and the electrodynamic (currentcurrent force) force in mechanical units. Therefore, his theory: "explains why the electrodynamic interaction in electrical units ... 54 The following often quoted 1856 remark is of interest in connection with Weber's views on a possible identification between his c and the velocity of light: In all the laws in which the constant c occurred, it appeared in the denominator of the ratio between it and the velocity with which the bodies move with respect to one another.
A History of the Ideas of Theoretical Physics: Essays on the Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Physics by Salvo D’Agostino (auth.)