A History of the Ideas of Theoretical Physics: Essays on the by S. D'Agostino

By S. D'Agostino

This publication provides a viewpoint at the heritage of theoretical physics over the last hundreds of thousands years. It includes 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 prompted major con­ ceptual alterations within the nice circulate 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 1/2 the nine­ teenth century, it was once tough 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 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 if technology had continually been divided into idea and test, it was once purely in physics that theoretical paintings built right into a significant examine and instructing area of expertise in its personal correct. 2 it's precise that theoretical physics used to be mostly a production of tum­ of-the century German physics, the place it got complete institutional acceptance, however it can also be indisputable that striking physicists in different eu nations, particularly, Ampere, Fourier, and Maxwell,

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As is known, Maxwell used arguments of various kinds to prove the electromagnetic theory of light, of which the most important one is the demonstration that electromagnetic waves propagate in the ethereal medium with the velocity of light. This demonstration is presented in different forms along with the development of Maxwell's electromagnetic theory, since the first paper he devoted to this problem in 1862, until his 1873 masterwork: A Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism. In all of these works Maxwell is faced with the problem of checking a theoretical value of the velocity of the electromagnetic waves, calculated by his electromagnetic field theory, against the velocity of light, known to him because of theoptical measurements made by Fizeau (1849) and Foucault (1862), and also because ofthe measured aberration of light.

12 ®l c =4®2 c = 3 -V2106®3 30 CHAPTER 1 This table clearly show that Weber's c and ® are measures of numerically different quantities related by Weber's FL. As proved by Weber's theory above, these are also conceptually different quantities, because c is the measure of a constant velocity having a precisely definite physical meaning, while ® is a variable ratio of units. The constant c could be determined by a measurement of the dynamic effect of a moving charged body. It seems that Rudolf Kohlrausch, Weber's collaborator in the measurement of c initially supported an experiment of this type.

Maxwell Transforms Electrodynamics into Electromagnetism Maxwell's contributions to physics have been extensively scrutinised by historians in the last decade, but certain aspects of his work, however, are still partially unexplored. Many of Maxwell's historians have perhaps favoured those parts of Maxwell's work which are, more or less, related to our modern theory. 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.

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