By Salvo D’Agostino (auth.)

ISBN-10: 1402002440

ISBN-13: 9781402002441

ISBN-10: 9401090343

ISBN-13: 9789401090346

This ebook provides a point of view at the background of theoretical physics over the last thousands 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 standard thread around the essays is the hunt for and the exploration of topics that motivated major con­ ceptual alterations within the nice circulation of rules and experiments which heralded the emergence of theoretical physics (hereafter: TP). the joys. damental swap concerned the popularity of the scien­ tific validity of theoretical physics. within the moment half the 9­ teenth century, it was once demanding 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 totally with out difficulty". 1 even though technological know-how had regularly been divided into idea and scan, it was once in simple terms in physics that theoretical paintings constructed right into a significant study and educating forte in its personal correct. 2 it really is real that theoretical physics was once in most cases a construction of tum­ of-the century German physics, the place it got complete institutional reputation, however it is additionally indisputable that striking physicists in different ecu nations, specifically, Ampere, Fourier, and Maxwell, additionally had a massive 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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6) performed by a) b) Fig. 6. Faraday experiments: a) Rotating magnet; b) Rotating current. Michael Faraday. On the left side, it showed that a magnet was rotating in the field of force of a current, and, on the right side, that a conducting wire was rotating in the field of a magnet. But no rotation of a magnet around another magnet was observed. 3 Ampere's Program: Only Mathematical Laws are Perennially Valid Because they are Independent from Physical Hypotheses Ampere stated why he prized his method so highly: he had deduced his law from the equilibrium conditions and geometric symmetries of his circuits.

The set of possible interactions among currents should be more extensive, and types of interactions must exist among currents - or among currents and magnets - which do not occur among magnets alone. According to Ampere, the experiment proved this second case, because a continuous rotation motion is feasible only with cur- MATHEMATICS IN AMPERE AND WEBER 15 rents and magnets, while, on the contrary, nobody has ever seen a couple of magnets rotating one around the other. 6 The supporting evidence was provided in an experiment (Fig.

The underlying rationale of this argument can be stated as follows: if, according to the theory of transversal magnetism, currents are magnets, the possible interactions among magnets must form a larger set than the interactions among currents; in fact, some types of interactions among free magnets would be impossible in currents. In short, if the theory of transversal magnetism were to be proved, the set of interaction among magnets should have been larger than the set of interactions between currents (Figure 5).

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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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