Questions tagged [physics]

For questions about the scientific discipline that concerns itself with analyzing the laws of nature in full generality. It is one of the largest branches of natural science. Before applying this tag to a question, please consider using the "theoretical-physics" or "experimental-physics" tags instead, as they are more descriptive.

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7
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0answers
140 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 ...
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125 views

Who first discussed the Lorentz force with respect to special relativity?

The fact that a Lorentz force in a reference frame 1 can become a Coulomb force in another reference frame 2 has always astonished me, especially because the velocities involved are really small. I ...
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453 views

How did Einstein know tensors would be needed in the EFEs?

I'd really never studied tensors until I started studying the Einstein Field Equations. Since then, I have realized they are fairly common tool in physics and pretty basic to understanding many areas. ...
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52 views

How did the terms stress and strain come to describe two different things?

In physics, stress essentially captures forces in a body, where as strain captures displacements. Two dimensionally very different concepts. If you look it up in a thesaurus, stress and strain are ...
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129 views

What happened to the undergrad students who attended the Feynman Lecture Series in 1961-63?

Note: This question was originally asked here, but I was wondering if I could get further clarification as this has truly intrigued me. In the academic years of 1962-2 and 1962-3, Richard Feynman ...
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98 views

Did Paul Dirac believe in multiple universes?

Prominent physicist Paul Dirac proposed a hypothesis that said that constants and laws of physics would evolve with time into different constants and laws of nature. This hypothesis was used by ...
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91 views

Who was the first to use the term field in physics?

Faraday, after drawing his lines of force in 19th century, is normally credited as the first to use the term field in physics. But... ... was not the term field used in the context of gravitational ...
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1k views

Why Doesn't Einstein Get More Credit for Being the Father of Quantum Mechanics?

I'm not simply referring to the notion that Einstein treated the discrete emission and transference of energy (and matter) as "real" physical phenomena, but rather his major continuous role in the ...
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91 views

Physics Curricula of 19th Century French Universities?

What were the physics curricula for 19th century French universities? I am looking for something akin to this distribution of courses at the École Polytechnique, but for other French universities, ...
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138 views

Identification of scientists in de Gennes book

Petit Point: A Candid Portrait on the Aberrations of Science is a charming book written by the French physicist Pierre-Gilles de Gennes containing short essays on some of the prominent scientists that ...
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1answer
88 views

Did old Crookes Radiometers ever have a pair of terminals?

This is a question about old physics lab equipment. This and this question led to the question in SciFi SE Crookes Radiometer at the end of a telescope in old movie scene, something about a comet? ...
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35 views

Looking for references to an experiment on the evaporation rate of water in sunlight

I remember reading a long time ago about some experiments measuring evaporation rate of water in large open containers (tubs) sitting on open ground. It was a simple experiment, each day the water ...
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163 views

Speed of light in aether

I've been recently reading about the famous Michelson-Morley experimental attempt to detect the Earth motion with respect to the aether. According to Wikipedia, Michelson initially made a mistake ...
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556 views

Why were the Nobel Prize in Physics not awarded in 1916, 1931, 1934, 1940, 1941, and 1942?

I only found the following at the Nobel Prize webpage: Why were the Nobel Prizes not awarded in those years? In the statutes of the Nobel Foundation it says: "If none of the works under ...
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140 views

What was Einstein's contribution to the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen (EPR) paper?

Do we have any insight or document into theoretical development of the EPR papers both in terms of math, ideas and anything related to actual physical problem. I know that Einstein didn't write the ...
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95 views

Who first noticed violation of aufbau principle of elements like Cr, Cu, Pd, Au, and how?

It is often referred to as 'anomalous electron configurations' or 'unusual order of filling of orbitals' of a few elements e.g. Cr, Cu, Nb, Mo, Ru, Rh, Pd, Au etc.
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304 views

What was the need for Lorentz transformation in pre-relativity period?

Why was it necessary for the velocity of light to be invariant between different inertial frames and hence what was the need for Lorentz transformation when it was believed that velocity of light was ...
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70 views

What is the first effect demonstrating the importance (or existence) of quantum coherence?

As far as I know, in the old quantum theory, a system can only reside in a stationary state. There was no Hilbert space, and no linear superposition. Or, a system cannot be simultaneously in two ...
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319 views

Who introduced the creation and annihilation operators for the harmonic oscillator?

Or who first solved the harmonic oscillator in the algebraic method?
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89 views

Are Brillouin's papers translated into English?

I mean the Brillouin in the WKB method. I want to read his original paper. But it is in French. Is it translated into English? It should be.
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171 views

In which paper did the typical textbook diagrams of the Millikan experiment appear the first time?

There are two typical visualizations for one of the results of the Millikan oil-drop experiment to illustrate that only integer multiples of some elementary charge occur in nature. The first one is ...
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94 views

Feynman's statement about the importance of basic science

I remember reading in the line that Feynman saying if the best technicians were tasked to build a radio they would make longer and thicker cables and transfer message but it took a physicist to ...
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57 views

Did Wheeler ever propose the existence of a multiverse containing parallel simultaneous universes?

It is known that the physicist John Archibald Wheeler proposed the existence of a multiverse in the form of a set of cycles of Big Bangs and Big Crunches (Cyclic/Oscillatory Multiverse Model). But I ...
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116 views

Who discovered Maxwell-Faraday equation, $\nabla\times E=-\frac{\partial B}{\partial t}$? Was it Maxwell or Neumann?

I have been trying to find out who discovered Maxwell-Faraday equation, $\nabla\times E=-\frac{\partial B}{\partial t}$. Was it Maxwell himself, or was it Franz Ernst Neumann who derived it? The ...
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93 views

Is it a historical coincidence that relative atomic weights by chemical methods and mass spectrometry are very close?

The concept of relative atomic weight originated from measuring the combining weight of hydrogen with a certain element. In the simplification process H was taken as unity (18th, 19th and 20th century)...
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118 views

Who first noted the connection between Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle and the Fourier Transform?

This is a question about the history of Quantum Mechanics. Who first noted the connection between Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle and the Fourier Transform?
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66 views

Why was F. W. Lanchester's first aeronautical paper rejected by the Physical Society?

Lanchester was arguably the first to somewhat accurately describe the physical mechanism for the generation of lift. In 1894, the Birmingham Natural History and Philosophical Society read his paper, ...
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309 views

The Pedagogy of Physics — Bob and Alice?

It seems that almost every where that physics is taught, in particular teaching relativity or quantum phenomena, that examples or demonstrations using persons Bob and Alice is a common tradition. ...
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204 views

Is it true that Johannes Kepler thought that the earth was hollow?

I was researching a little about the hollow earth theory, I know that many Scientist's back up this theory, namely Euler and Edmond Halley. I would like to know what was the theory that Johannes ...
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74 views

What is the difference between chemico-chemists and physico-chemists according to Van't Hoff?

“Whereas the chemico-chemists always find in industry a beautiful field of gold-laden soil, the physico-chemists stand somewhat farther off, especially those who seek only the greatest dilution, for ...
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49 views

Determining the temperature of a remote star by using the black body radiation formula

I am new to astrophysics. There is a question about the celebrated Harvard classification. Can people at 1900 determine the temperature of a remote star using the black body radiation formula? I ...
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74 views

Historical milestones in experimental “verification” that light is a electromagnetic phenomenum

This is a follow up question to How did Maxwell conclude that light is an electromagnetic wave? where the arguments of Maxwell were explained why he considered light as an electromagnetic wave. What ...
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221 views

What are Carl Friedrich Gauss's contributions to acoustics?

I read in many sites that Gauss worked in theoretical physics in the areas of mechanics, crystallography, acoustics, capillarity, electromagnetism and optics, but I couldn't find any place in his ...
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195 views

Reading material suggestion for history of Newton's laws of motion

I intend to review the different concepts related to laws of motion floating around the publication of Principia and hopefully would like to comment on these (It's an essay project). I've gathered ...
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30 views

What is the history behind defining temperature as measure of hotness?

I know that when two bodies of different temperature are kept in contact "heat" flows from hotter body to colder. But how did anyone know that it is the "hotness" that flows, one could have said that ...
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34 views

Did Werner Heisenberg ever agree or propose the existence of some kind of multiverse?

I was watching a video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=muJYTeQlvC4) where the director of a videogame company speaks about one of its most successful games. This game is set in a floating city which ...
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85 views

What did people mean by the term Force in earlier times?

Initially I used to believe that before Newton gave his Laws of Motion, people thought that Force was something that caused motion. It was Newton who first said that Force is something that causes ...
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1answer
104 views

Did physicist David Bohm ever propose the existence of a multiverse?

Did physicist David Bohm ever propose the existence of any kind of multiverse?
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49 views

How did Gibbs discover Gibbs entropy?

I have read and I think that I agree with the idea that if we have to choose probability distribution for an unknown system then it is a good idea to choose a distribution that has the least bias. I ...
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41 views

Does anyone know articles or books about what the notion of difficulty in science, especially physics?

In physics, many problems were known at their time to be very challenging, for example the notion of heat, or how to understand the ideal gaz law, or the phase transition criticial behaviors, etc. And ...
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56 views

In the old days, how did chemists trap and measure gases?

The old days being roughly 1600 - 1850, the time when chemistry and the nature of the elements was being investigated empirically. For example, hydrogen gas was discovered by Robert Boyle in 1671 ...
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88 views

Reference for Math-Physics history book

I am looking for a book on the history of mathematics that would also serve as a book on the history of physics. In the sense that the history of math is developed along with the developments in ...
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70 views

Journals of the early 20th century

Which journals were the most commonly used journals for the publication of research papers in physics in the late 19th century and the early 20th century, specifically from 1875 to 1925?
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37 views

Who first discovered that the specific heat of gas decreases with temperature?

It is mentioned in many textbooks on statistical mechanics. But generally there is no reference.
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92 views

First appearance of the timelike cylinder spacetime

Spacetimes with causality violations go back a bit of a way (at least as far back as Herman Weyl's "Space, Time and Matter" in 1922, followed by the Gödel spacetime in 1949), but one of the simplest ...
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92 views

Taking less than a minute to solve a problem within 10% which was stated in less than 10 seconds?

I believe there is a story about a 20th century sciencist (either Neumann or Feynmann I think) who, at some dinner or some sort of gathering, made the following claim to his fellow colleagues: He ...
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135 views

Who invented the term “Coulomb logarithm”?

Who is the author of the term "Coulomb logarithm"? In fact, Coulomb logarithm was computed by Langmuir in his paper of 1928 where the term "plasma" was introduced into physics, but the term "Coulomb ...
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0answers
558 views

Who first discovered and produced an alternating current?

What physicist first discovered or produced an alternating current and recognized it as such?
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90 views

What are some greatest blunders from the great minds from science?

Einstein said that incorporating the cosmological constant to his equations of general relativity was the greatest blunder of his life. But as it turns out, cosmological constant does indeed have ...
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136 views

Mutual induction in electromagnetic wave theory

Frequently when electromagnetic waves are taught, it is said that the change in electric field causes a change in the magnetic field, which then causes a change in the electric field, and so on and so ...