By Salvo D’Agostino (auth.)
This e-book provides a standpoint at the historical past of theoretical physics during the last enormous quantities years. It contains 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 hunt for and the exploration of subject matters that prompted major con ceptual adjustments within the nice stream of principles 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 1/2 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 participants to the recent self-discipline, confessed in 1895 that, "even the formula of this idea [of a theoretical physicist] isn't really completely with no difficulty". 1 even though technological know-how had continually been divided into thought and test, it used to be in basic terms in physics that theoretical paintings built right into a significant examine and instructing forte in its personal correct. 2 it truly is precise that theoretical physics was once ordinarily a construction of tum of-the century German physics, the place it acquired complete institutional acceptance, however it is usually indisputable that extraordinary physicists in different eu international locations, specifically, Ampere, Fourier, and Maxwell, additionally had a major half in its creation.
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Extra resources for A History of the Ideas of Theoretical Physics: Essays on the Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Physics
Maxwell considered Fourier as his source in his 1863 Report and in his Treatise,3 where he introduced the modern notation for dimensions, using capital letters in square brackets. 4 William Thomson is in good company with Maxwell in identifying dimensions of a quantity in a given system with the quantity itself ( This I call Maxwell's transitional principle). In Thomson's hyperbolic mood: I suppose almost everyone present would think it simple idiocy if I went to say that the weight of that piece of chalk is the fourth power of seven or eight yards for hour; yet it would be perfectly good sense.
48 However, Weber and Koholrausch thought that, even if large charges were moved, the velocity necessary to obtain measurable effects would have been very large49 . Therefore, they adopted a more practical method. This method consistedSO in the measurement (through the tangent galvanometer used ballistically) of the magnetic force produced by the discharge of a known electric charge. , the needle's initial angular velocity) depended in this case on the speed of the charge's transfer. The duration of the needle's deflection varied reciprocally with this speed and so the time-integrated effects measured by the complete deflection would, therefore, be independent of the discharge speed.
In 1982 Rudolf Clausius presented6 two lines of criticism to Maxwell's dimensional theories. The first line concerned a particular remark on the attribution of dimensions to the product [pC] in Maxwell's Treatise (Part IV, Chapter X). This attribution is considered by Clausius to be a flaw in Maxwell's derivation, which produced extended consequences in the attribution of wrong dimensions to the magnetic quantities.? He proposed a different line of approach in order to obtain the derivation of dimensional relations.