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Questions tagged [physicists]

For questions about those who did Physics

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3 answers
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Why were 20th Century German scientists so impressive?

German (and Austrian) scientists of the late 19th - early 20th centuries seem to have been the backbone of most of modern physics - namely quantum theory/mechanics. The following are a few predominant ...
galois's user avatar
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19 votes
1 answer
4k views

What did Schroedinger try to say with the cat thought experiment?

In many books one finds different explanations. Specifically popular seems to be that he "argued against the Copenhagen interpretation". But what did he really intend to communicate? I for ...
manuel459's user avatar
  • 301
17 votes
7 answers
8k views

Has there been an equivalent in physics to Ramanujan in maths?

Ramanujan's story is a well known story of the Indian young man who turned out to be a mathematical genius without a scholarly education. He was "discovered" by the mathematician Hardy at ...
Deschele Schilder's user avatar
13 votes
12 answers
10k views

Which physicists died very young or in a tragic way?

Inspired by Which mathematicians died very young or in a tragic way? , I wonder which physicists had similar fates. A quick search lead me to Heinrich Hertz who died from a malignant bone condition at ...
Mauricio's user avatar
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13 votes
2 answers
2k views

Who was the first to hypothesise that gravity from one mass causes the spacetime around another mass to curve?

Was it Einstein? Or was there someone before him to hypothesise this?
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13 votes
3 answers
4k views

Did Richard Feynman ever meet Stephen Hawking or comment on Hawking radiation?

I was just curious what Richard Feynman thought of Stephen Hawking's Hawking Radiation. Feynman was one of the developers of quantum field theory and Hawking's work would have been cutting edge on the ...
Sedumjoy's user avatar
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13 votes
1 answer
4k views

How did Jun John Sakurai die?

How did theoretical physicist Jun John Sakurai die? The only result from extensive googling is that he died "suddenly" while working at CERN. Does anyone know anything more specific?
williamg's user avatar
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10 votes
2 answers
1k views

Heisenberg's Obituary to Pauli

In an interview of Heisenberg by Thomas Kuhn: When Pauli had died, I was asked to write this memorial volume. Weisskopf had asked me. Then, actually, originally I had written an article on Pauli's ...
Sha's user avatar
  • 201
10 votes
2 answers
546 views

Why did Max Planck forbid women from attending his lectures?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lise_Meitner: Encouraged by her father and backed by his financial support, she went to the Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität in Berlin where famous physicist Max Planck ...
Franck Dernoncourt's user avatar
10 votes
1 answer
1k views

Max Planck's reaction to Einstein's 1905 STR Paper

It is quite well-known that Planck was one of the first people to realize the significance and importance of Einstein's theory of relativity. But I have heard a few times that when Einstein sent his ...
ACat's user avatar
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9 votes
2 answers
9k views

Why did Einstein oppose quantum uncertainity?

Einstein always believed that everything is certain, and we can calculate everything. That's why he rejected quantum mechanics, due to its factor of uncertainty. But still quantum physics was right. ...
Creepy Creature's user avatar
9 votes
1 answer
1k views

What actually led Feynman to the path integral formulation of quantum mechanics?

It is commonly known that Feynman's path integral was inspired by Dirac's observation that the kernel is proportional to $\exp{iS/\hbar}$. It was Feynman, however, who had the idea of expressing the ...
seeker_after_truth's user avatar
9 votes
1 answer
753 views

Did Galileo bet money on the ship experiment?

Galileo's writings describe two experiments involving ships. These are summarized in the Wikipedia article Galileo's ship. (A lot of the text in the article is mine, and if there are things I'm ...
user avatar
9 votes
1 answer
251 views

Landau doubting conservation of energy---and what followed

When the original beta decay experiments seemed to suggest that energy was not a conserved quantity, Landau (among others) proposed that energy conservation was a statistical law rather then a ...
Sruli Herskovic's user avatar
8 votes
12 answers
4k views

Who were some physicists with musical background?

Inspired on this post: Who were some mathematicians who have a musical background? I want to now ask if there were any famous physicists who had a particular musical background. Looking in Google I ...
Mauricio's user avatar
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8 votes
2 answers
2k views

Did Feynman develop QED based on Stueckelberg's manuscript?

I found some rumors on the internet regarding Stückelbergs manuscript and it's role for the development of QED. In a comment on here somebody writes: Crease and Mann say in their book The Second ...
asmaier's user avatar
  • 241
8 votes
3 answers
22k views

Did Einstein really say: "If I were wrong, it would only take one."

The story is that Einstein was shown a German newspaper that claimed "One hundred German physicists claim Einsteins theory of relativity is wrong." Einsteins reply was supposedly, "If I were wrong, it ...
lvoyster's user avatar
8 votes
2 answers
2k views

Who is the father (if there is one) of string theory?

I have read a variety of articles and books about string theory that relate the various initial discoveries that ultimately lead to a theory we know now as "string theory" (and its descendants such as ...
K7PEH's user avatar
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7 votes
2 answers
4k views

Why is magnetic flux density named after Nikola Tesla?

I have my respect for Mr Tesla, but it seems weird that "he" was chosen to be the units of magnetic flux density. I mean, he didn't contribute much to magnetic fields theory, nor did he work ...
Eminem's user avatar
  • 181
7 votes
2 answers
3k views

Was Richard Feynman a double major?

I know this might be a silly question, but I think it's worth asking. For his undergraduate degree at MIT, did he do a double major with math, or did he really just get that good at mathematics by ...
Arturo don Juan's user avatar
7 votes
1 answer
4k views

How did Planck calculate the Planck constant?

Having started to learn about quantum behavior, this formula came up: $$E = hf $$ Where $E$ is energy, $h$ is the Planck constant and $f$ is the frequency. My physics teacher suggested an ...
Darth Vader's user avatar
7 votes
2 answers
5k views

Did Feynman win the Putnam by a "large margin"?

From James Gleick's Genius: the life and science of Richard Feynman: One of Feynman’s fraternity brothers was surprised to see him return home while the examination was still going on. Feynman ...
theicfire's user avatar
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7 votes
1 answer
1k views

Why is it said that Marie Curie died due to her work but the same isn't said for Fermi?

I learnt in school that Marie Curie died from her work at 66 years. On the other hand, Enrico Fermi, who also handled a lot of radioactive substances died of stomach cancer at the age of just 53. It ...
Rohit Pandey's user avatar
6 votes
6 answers
6k views

Famous scientists in the Nazi party

Can anyone give a list of famous scientists in the Nazi Party? Is there a complete list?
S. Kohn's user avatar
  • 530
6 votes
1 answer
618 views

Einstein: 'SR is a theory of invariants, not relativity' -- source?

It is occasionally remarked that Einstein was unhappy that SR became referred to as a ‘theory of relativity’, when in his eyes it was, much more importantly, a theory of invariants (Invariantentheorie)...
Norman Gray's user avatar
5 votes
6 answers
823 views

Are there any well known mathematicians who were fascists?

I only recently learned that Pascual Jordan, a well known physicist, with significant contributions to the development of early quantum mechanics was a paid up member of the Nazi Party. He in fact ...
Mozibur Ullah's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
747 views

Who was first to observe or detect photons in the double slit experiment, and how did they do that?

In the early 1800s Thomas Young introduced (a thought-?) experiment also known as the two slit experiment. He discovered the strange way photons created a interference pattern on a screen. There is ...
Marijn 's user avatar
  • 383
5 votes
1 answer
316 views

On the naming of quantum chromodynamics

A theory of strong interaction is called quantum chromodynamics (QCD). Particles interacting strongly are supposed to have color charge, for example quarks appear in three "mutations" - red, green and ...
Martin Vesely's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
593 views

Who first proposed the "colour" charge?

Does anybody know a paper or sorts in which the term "colour" charge in QCD was introduced first? Or any other source in which this label was proposed?
uitty400's user avatar
5 votes
0 answers
210 views

On Bryce Seligman DeWitt's Name Change

Weinberg, in his memoir on Bryce Seligman DeWitt (available at https://www.nasonline.org/publications/biographical-memoirs/memoir-pdfs/dewitt-bryce.pdf) states that In 1950 two major but totally ...
Alp Uzman's user avatar
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4 votes
4 answers
632 views

Physicists who were criticised for their works but later celebrated by the people

Life of Galileo Galilei was not simple, predictable, or rational. Being as great as he was, Galileo, for example, did not accept Kepler's laws of planetary motion. At the same time, he believed with ...
a.s.'s user avatar
  • 151
4 votes
1 answer
681 views

Names of the electromagnetic units in SI

The unit of electric charge is the coulomb, named after Charles Augustin de Coulomb. This makes sense because Coulomb's law talks about the force between two charges. Likewise, it also makes sense to ...
Arunabh's user avatar
  • 177
4 votes
1 answer
558 views

What are some references that Lev Landau was atheist?

In Wikipedia and many other sources copying it, it is claimed that Lev Landau was an atheist (I have no problem to believe the claim), however the (two) sources are not satisfying at all, to me. I ...
untreated_paramediensis_karnik's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
264 views

Did Heisenberg defend that Germany should rule Europe?

The following has been attributed to the German physicist Werner Heisenberg: History legitimizes Germany to rule Europe and later the world. Only a nation that rules ruthlessly can maintain itself. ...
stafusa's user avatar
  • 305
4 votes
0 answers
1k views

Was Richard Feynman really awarded a patent for a nuclear Airplane and Rocket?

I've been re-reading "Surely you're Joking Mr. Feynman", and at one point he talks about how at Los Alamos they were asked to write down any idea, no matter how obvious involving nuclear technology, ...
Steve Sether's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
361 views

Did Einstein ever refer to the coordinate speed/velocity of light?

In modern parlance we talk about two different speeds of light in general relativity. We distinguish between the local speed of light, which is always $c$, and the coordinate speed of light, which can ...
John Rennie's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
161 views

Who was the first woman to complete the physics and mathematics program in Zürich?

According to descriptions of Mileva Marić, Einstein's first wife, she was the second woman to complete the mathematics and physics program at the Zürich Polytechnikum. However, nobody points out who ...
Mauricio's user avatar
  • 3,927
3 votes
1 answer
253 views

On early US patriotism to choose quark color charge labels

Sean Carroll has a video about gauge theory (2020) in his series about Greatest Ideas of the Universe, where he claims that early in the development of quantum chromodynamics, some physicists tried to ...
Mauricio's user avatar
  • 3,927
3 votes
6 answers
297 views

What are some physicists that wrote literary works?

As usual when I see an article about asking about mathematicians, I cannot help to ask what about physics? Inspired by Literary works authored by mathematicians what are some physicist that also were ...
Mauricio's user avatar
  • 3,927
3 votes
1 answer
127 views

Was Martin Packard of Varian Associates related to David Packard of Hewlett-Packard?

I came across an entry for the Proceedings of the American Physical Society which was published in Phys. Rev. volume 93 page 939 (1954) under the heading "Minutes of the Stanford Meeting December ...
Bryan Hanson's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
340 views

Did Ludwig Boltzmann read Albert Einstein's publication published on Brownian motion one year before Boltzmann passed away?

Apparently there was some negative reception of Boltzmann's idea of an "atom". I assume the mathematics used by Einstein in his publication did not use any of Boltzmann's statistical mathematics ...
Sedumjoy's user avatar
  • 1,223
3 votes
1 answer
232 views

Demystifying Nikola Tesla: Scientifically sound, historically accurate biography

As any physicist knows, a lot of amateur science afficionados out there bring up Nikola Tesla in rather fantastical ways. There are indeed a few reasons for his near mythical status in popular culture,...
Ben's user avatar
  • 133
3 votes
1 answer
694 views

Portrait of Stephen Butterworth

Does anybody know of a portrait of British physicist Stephen Butterworth (1885-1958)?
Ulrich Daepp's user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
108 views

Biographical articles on Newton and Galileo by physicist or historian

I am going to give a lecture to school children on the lives of Newton, Galileo and Einstein. I have enough literature on Einstein but not enough on the lives of Galileo and Newton. So I am looking ...
Kushal Bhuyan's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
220 views

Did any "classical era" physicist foresee that a theory such as Quantum Mechanics is logically inescapable?

I am interested in knowing if in the era preceding the observations that lead to the advent of Quantum Mechanics, anyone foresaw logically that a theory such as Quantum Mechanics is in a sense, "...
Amit's user avatar
  • 353
3 votes
1 answer
357 views

Where did Fermi get the U235 for the first nuclear pile?

I am puzzled as to where or who produced the U235 for the first nuclear pile. I read that graphite was used as a neutron moderator but only .7 % of natural uranium is U235. He must have gotten it ...
Sedumjoy's user avatar
  • 1,223
2 votes
1 answer
780 views

How did J.J. Thomson learn that what he discovered was different than an atom or a molecule?

Wikipedia says he discovered that the electron was different than an atom or molecule. His line of reasoning is not shown. I additionally searched stack exchange and unless I missed it..... I am lost ...
Sedumjoy's user avatar
  • 1,223
2 votes
2 answers
310 views

What are Steven Weinberg's contribution to physics other than electroweak unification?

What are Steven Weinberg's contributions to physics other than the Nobel-winning work on electroweak unification? Why is he so famous and respected among particle physicists compared to other Nobel ...
Solidification's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
224 views

In which article did the physicist Sheldon Glashow introduce his electroweak theory?

In which article did Glashow introduce (1961?) a unified description of the electromagnetic and weak interactions, i.e., the electroweak interaction that earned him the Nobel prize in physics?
Ansonī Bōdo's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
116 views

What is the Leroy Grumman Medal won by the theoretical physicist Kenneth G. Wilson?

I happened to find that one of the most important inventors of the renormalization group, Kenneth G. Wilson, won the Leroy Randle Grumman Award Medal in 1986, 4 years after his Nobel prize. Details in ...
xiaohuamao's user avatar