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Questions tagged [physics]

For questions about the scientific discipline that concerns itself with analysing the laws of nature in full generality

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non-integer candela measurements and candela manipulation

What was the oldest way to quantify or measure candelas or control it as as an independent variable (luminous intensity)?
Coo's user avatar
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3 votes
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What is the oldest way to measure the voltage?

What is the oldest way to measure the voltage? I mean the experimental way or apparatus.
Coo's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
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I'm searching for the original paper from 1924 where Max Born first proposed the term "quantum mechanics."

I'm searching for historical documents pertaining to quantum mechanics because I aim to write a popular essay on the topic for a web magazine. Specifically, I'm seeking free access to Max Born's paper ...
enjin2000's user avatar
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53 views

When were the notions of "matter" (as opposed to mass) and its conservation introduced?

[Moved here from physics.stackexchange] With the development of relativity it became clear that mass and energy are the same, and therefore that they aren't separately conserved (or balanced). It ...
pglpm's user avatar
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How did "Gauss's law" get its name?

Did Carl Friedrich Gauss derive Gauss's law? How did the Maxwell equation we call "Gauss's law" become known as that? In class, we went over how you derive it from Coulomb's law, but I don't ...
Dominic Stewart-Guido's user avatar
7 votes
5 answers
374 views

Math concepts introduced by physicists and made rigorous later

I am looking for mathematical concepts (*) which have been introduced by physicists in a non rigorous way (e.g. without a formal definition, without rigorous proofs of the results, etc.) and used to ...
Weier's user avatar
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History of expectation of speed of light in optical denser medium

This question is triggered by information in the following article: Shahen Hacyan Refraction, the speed of light and minimal action: from Descartes to Maupertuis through many more First some general ...
Cleonis's user avatar
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4 votes
2 answers
2k views

Use of eigenvalues of operators in quantum mechanics

My very basic understanding of Quantum Mechanics and its history is that first, some physical quantities were thought to be continuous but experiments showed that they only took discrete values. My ...
Weier's user avatar
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5 votes
1 answer
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What did Quine say on paradox and physics?

I remember that Willard van Orman Quine wrote something to the effect that physics may be paradoxical, in similar ways as naive set theory is paradoxical. May someone help find the quote? Edit 1 - A ...
Frode Alfson Bjørdal's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
71 views

Origin of Einstein quote "Quantum mechanics: Real Black Magic Calculus"

The description of the 1993 English translation of The Quantum Dice, by Ponomarev and Kurchatov, as well as one of the quotes for chapter 2 of Quantum Computation and Quantum Information, by Nielsen ...
elutionary's user avatar
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49 views

Where is Fock on Klein-Gordon equation?

I was researching a bit about the history of the famous Klein-Gordon equation and I found out that Fock also independently discovered it in the same year as Klein and Gordon, 1926. However, ...
Jimeens's user avatar
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1 answer
104 views

Black body radiation before Hertz's observation?

From the timeline of Maxwell's prediction 1865 and Hertz's observation in 1887 that gave an understanding of the light wave as EM wave, How did the Black body radiation study understand the emitted ...
Kanokpon Arm's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
82 views

Why is the Feynman propagator named after Feynman?

In his book Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!, Feynman himself says that he did not know how to compute contour integrals. To give a direct quote, he says: One thing I never did learn was contour ...
CBBAM's user avatar
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0 answers
68 views

How exactly did Auguste Bravais come up with the regression line?

I am new to statistics and linear regression and I came across the face that auguste bravais discovered regression line but didn't realize it. Auguste Bravais (1811-1863), professor of astronomy and ...
Alexander Obidiegwu's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
122 views

Mathematization of natural sciences

When was a mathematical formula (instead of just words) used for the 1st time in natural sciences to describe a natural phenomenon?
Sedat Olcer's user avatar
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A brief history of "delocalization" of electrons

I have been studying the concepts of "resonance" and "mesomerism" recently and a common principle of these concepts is the "delocalization" (of electrons, molecular ...
Bhavya Jain's user avatar
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What are the origins of calculating the area of a v/t graph to determine displacement?

I'm curious as to the origins of thinking of displacement as the area under a v/t curve. I assume that Newton (and/or Leibniz) was already familiar with the concept and knew that calculating the area ...
Physicator's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
103 views

Who discovered that the electromagnetic tensor is the curvature of a connection?

I can not identify clearly who was the first one to realize that the electromagnetic tensor is the curvature 2-form of a U(1)-connection. Looking at Weyl's work, it seems that he came pretty close to ...
Léo Vacher's user avatar
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What was John Cantius' contribution to the theory of impetus?

According to Wikipedia, the theory of impetus, which was a precursor to the modern concepts of inertia and momentum, was developed in the West by Jean Buridan, and further developed by John Cantius (...
aquohn's user avatar
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2 votes
0 answers
135 views

Origin of the concepts of Stress and Strain

Background & My research So, I recently studied about the concepts of Stress and Strain in my high school physics classes and wanted to know about the history behind the origin and emergence of ...
Bhavya Jain's user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
219 views

What is the history of the classification of states of matter?

In my school curriculum, and in many standard presentations such as Wikipedia, it is claimed that there are four fundamental states of matter: solids, liquids, gases, and plasmas. How was this list ...
Rococo's user avatar
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1 vote
4 answers
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Is there a concise but detailed history of electricity?

I have recently become fascinated by the history of electricity. I have researched and come up with the following observations: Static electricity was discovered in early times, by phenomena such as ...
Fraser's user avatar
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2 votes
0 answers
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History of logarithmic potential

I have some historical questions in connections for the notes to a book I am writing. Who the first person to discover that the Coulomb potential in two dimension is $\log(|x|^{-1})$, equivalently ...
Barry Simon's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
110 views

In Geiger-Marsden experiments how was charge of alpha particle and charge of gold atom found?

Here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geiger%E2%80%93Marsden_experiments Some calculations were done to show how JJ Thomson's model predicts alpha particles will be mostly undeflected by the gold foil. ...
Saif's user avatar
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0 answers
50 views

Need a reference for Euler's velocity initial condition for the wave equation

In DOI: 10.4236/ahs.2020.94019 235 Advances in Historical Studies, p.234 D’Alembert and the Wave Equation: Its Disputes and Controversies, or https://www.scirp.org/pdf/ahs_2020112716312281.pdf p.6 of ...
user45664's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
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In JJ Thomson's cathode ray experiment I need values for the electric field and magnetic field when net force on the cathode beam = 0

I asked here as well https://chemistry.stackexchange.com/questions/177889/in-jj-thomsons-cathode-ray-experiment-why-is-effects-of-gravity-on-electron-not https://physics.stackexchange.com/questions/...
Saif's user avatar
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3 votes
2 answers
134 views

Who postulated the first Lagrangian for electrodynamics?

I am trying to find who first translated Maxwell's equations and Lorentz's force into the Lagrangian formalism. It seems a very straightforward thing to do if you know enough of electromagnetism and ...
Mauricio's user avatar
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12 votes
1 answer
2k views

Did Newton know about non-inertial frames?

When answering a Physics.SE question, I made a claim that Newton realized that $F=ma$ worked in some frames, which are called "inertial frames." Nowadays, we know that there are non-...
Cort Ammon's user avatar
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1 answer
106 views

Book on the evolution of Quantum Theory

Can anyone recommend some good book(s) on the Evolution of Quantum Theory, focusing on history, not necessarily on explaining the technical/math part? The books I have read so far, "Quantum: ...
Qiulang's user avatar
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1 vote
0 answers
59 views

What was the last "hole" in the electromagnetic spectrum where amplified, tunable, narrow-band power couldn't be produced artificially?

We had radio amplifiers that could transmit powerful signals and those were pushed to microwaves. We had lasers that were originally natural transitions in solids and gasses but now tunable lasers go ...
uhoh's user avatar
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Did J. W. Gibbs “invent” Hilbert spaces before Hilbert formulated the notion of such spaces?

I was surprised to see a reply to a comment on his answer to a Quora question by a research mathematician claiming that Hilbert spaces were actually due to J. W. Gibbs rather than to D. Hilbert. The ...
Matt Insall's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
133 views

Onsager on phase transitions

Surely You're Joking Mr. Feynman has Feynman ascribing to Onsager the following quote (during the International Conference of Theoretical Physics in Kyoto, in 1953): "We should tell Feynman ...
Kvothe's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
908 views

Why was the Greek letter psi (Ψ) chosen to represent the wave function?

When I was reading, the question just popped into my head after noticing that the Greek letter ψ looks kind of like a wave itself. Stylized, they look even more wavy: $$\Huge \Psi\;\Huge\psi$$ This ...
Curious Layman's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
153 views

Do gravitational waves hold the record of longest delay between prediction and confirmation under the same theory?

This question is similar to What was the longest delay between prediction and confirmation of a theory? but I want to frame it in a different way. I am looking for long delays between prediction and ...
Mauricio's user avatar
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-1 votes
1 answer
147 views

Technical papers or monographs without a single mathematical equation

Recently, I stumbled upon a historically important monograph on a technical subject, which explained complex physical phenomena without a single mathematical equation. I forgot the name of the author, ...
Klig's user avatar
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9 votes
1 answer
1k views

Where did the popular idea of spacetime come from?

[This question is about popular conceptions and therefore goes into strange directions, don't get too shocked] The notion of spacetime can be traced back to roughly the 18th century where some people ...
Slereah's user avatar
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0 votes
1 answer
112 views

Reconstruction of Newton's axioms

Hilbert reconstructed Euclid's axioms. Is there an equivalent restructuring of Newton's axioms, or are they considered consistent?
Mikael Jensen's user avatar
6 votes
0 answers
64 views

When were arrows first used to visualise vectors?

I guess the use of arrows to visualise vectors came before the general notion of vectors, so a more precise question is: when where arrows first used to visualise physical (or mathematical) quantities ...
Michael Bächtold's user avatar
7 votes
1 answer
1k views

How does Legendre transformation in classical mechanics relate to Adrien-Marie Legendre?

I tried to look for the history of Legendre transformation, which transformed Lagrangian mechanics to Hamiltonian mechanics, usually formulated as $$ \begin{cases} p_i = \frac{\partial L}{\partial v_i}...
Mr. Egg's user avatar
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6 votes
3 answers
8k views

Why didn't Einstein propose any metric solution to his equations?

I've read about general relativity (GR) recently and something stroke me: Einstein came up with his equations in 1915, linking the metric of spacetime to the distribution of energy (more exactly, to ...
Weier's user avatar
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4 votes
0 answers
36 views

Who found the formula for sequential Stern-Gerlach experiments and when?

Today we know that if you make sequential Stern-Gerlach experiments, where the magnetic fields are at an angle $\alpha$, then the formula for the ratio how the beam splits is $$p_{1}=\cos^2 \bigg(\...
HighlyEntropicMind's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
141 views

How was light polarization interpreted when first discovered?

Malus first discovered light polarization just before 1810, but Maxwell's equation stuff came around 1860s. How was polarization interpreted before the EM theory?
Cosmos's user avatar
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2 votes
0 answers
73 views

What were the initial physical applications of vector calculus such as curl, div, circulation, and flux?

In what context where vector calculus concepts, such as: Circulation Flux Curl Divergence first developed? I had assumed they were developed first in fluid dynamics, since the flow of water is ...
SRobertJames's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
128 views

When was Galileo's De Motu (Antiquiora) Made Available to the Public?

This question is in regard to Galileo's early writings on motion titled De Motu (On Motion) or De Motu Antiquiora (Older Writings On Motion). It is understood that Galileo never published this ...
Andrew R.'s user avatar
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2 votes
0 answers
386 views

Did Wheeler and Feynman said that vacuum zero point energy could boil the oceans?

Following on this Were Feynman diagrams motivated by the cosmological constant problem? and this Who was the first to estimate the vacuum energy discrepancy by 120 orders of magnitude? I found a ...
Mauricio's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
145 views

Were Feynman diagrams motivated by the cosmological constant problem?

Sean Carroll, while speaking about the history of quantum field theory, has said a couple of times (without being completely sure of its factuality) that Richard Feynman was motivated by his trying to ...
Mauricio's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
112 views

What is the origin of the "red, green, yellow" quark color convention?

In physics, quarks come in one of three color states, usually chosen to be called, "red", "green", and "blue". However, because these are just labels, there are other ...
jack101yello's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
174 views

What values of Avogadro's Number did Jean Perrin come up with?

I am currently plundering the contents of the $1969$ reprint of the 2nd edition of Data and Formulae for Engineering Students published by Pergamon International (authors J.C. Anderson, D.M. Hum, B.G. ...
Prime Mover's user avatar
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0 votes
1 answer
115 views

How the concept of Momentum was discovered?

As we already know that the concept of Momentum was discovered before Newton discovered his laws of motion, but my question is $\rightarrow$ How they discovered the relationship p=mv without knowing ...
Mathologist's user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
30 views

Early sources for surface and bound charges in polarization

I am looking for early sources (references) to the analysis in electrostatics where the polarization vector is rewritten in terms of bound charges and a surface polarization charge. In terms of what I ...
LDM's user avatar
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