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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5
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2answers
258 views

What did it historically mean in physics for something to “exist”?

What is the history of influential definitions of objective existence --- This Is Real, It Exists --- in physics? Where did they appear in the literature and in what context were they put forward? ...
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1answer
99 views

Which paper/book did d'Alembert publish his essay on the theory of winds in?

This source claims that "d'Alembert won the prize of the Prussian Academy of Sciences with his essay on winds", and this source claims that "A prize essay on the theory of winds in 1746 led to ...
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1answer
320 views

Why isn't “thermodynamics” replaced with “thermostatics”?

In thermodynamics, one primarily studies systems that are in so-called "thermal equilibrium", a state in which certain prescribed "thermodynamic" quantities such as temperature, heat, chemical ...
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0answers
125 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 ...
5
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1answer
288 views

Who was first to integrate Newton's equations of motion to derive the conservation laws for mechanical energy and momentum?

I'm wondering who is the first person in the history who came up with an idea to integrate Newton's $F=ma$ to obtain the law of mechanical energy conservation? And When did it happen? Also I have the ...
2
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1answer
176 views

Abraham's electromagnetism book and its story

Max Abraham is well known for his electromagnetic mass theory, and his book Theorie der Elektrizität is said to be read widely around 1900. I am trying to find this book, but the editions look like a ...
18
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1answer
2k views

How was Einstein led to make a contact with Differential Geometry for his theory of General Relativity?

General Relativity was developed with Differential Geometry as the tool. How was Einstein led to make a contact with Differential Geometry for his theory of General Relativity? Who suggested him to ...
6
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1answer
342 views

History of complex analysis

Does anyone know of a good book on the history of imaginary numbers and complex analysis and its role in physics?
7
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2answers
193 views

Who was the first scientist to suggest that objects can keep moving without applied force?

In the old days Aristotels argued that object needs a force to keep going in 'space'. Some philosophers, Philoponus and Buridanus (?), later argued that there was a need for some kind of 'impetus'. ...
7
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1answer
568 views

What is the history of electric current and resistance?

Thomas Kuhn writes in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions Part of what the acceptance of Ohm’s Law demanded was a redefinition of both ‘current’ and ‘resistance’; if those terms had continued ...
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0answers
470 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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1answer
154 views

If Einstein was a genious why didn't he discover the BOhr's atom model and Schroedinger equation [closed]

i mean Bohr's model and Schroedinger equation are based on simple mathematics so why couldn't Einstein or another mathematician to discover them ?
8
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1answer
574 views

Where did Rayleigh derive the ultraviolet catastrophe?

Where can I find this paper: J.W. Strutt, Verh. d. deutsch. phys. Ges. 2, 65 (1900). It is presumably where Rayleigh derived the black-body radiation formula (the incorrect one that has ultraviolet ...
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1answer
467 views

Hidden agenda of the Galileo trial?

Redondi argued that Galileo's trial on heliocentrism was merely a show trial concealing the real objection against Galileo among the catholic establishment, which was his atomism thought to be at ...
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2answers
471 views

What is the last physics paper or book written in Latin?

What is the last physics paper or book written in Latin? I know Carl Neumann, for example, wrote papers in Latin in the 19th century. Are there any more recently than that?
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0answers
200 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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0answers
157 views

At what point did Einstein realise that gravity was curvature of spacetime?

Did he realise this as soon as he thought of light curving due to gravity or was this something that took him a while to realise?
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1answer
57 views

When was brehmsstrahlung discovered?

I remember that not long ago wikipedia had somewhere info regarding the discovery of that phenomenon, but apparently all reference hasbeen removed. Searching the web I found a serbian site claiming ...
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1answer
228 views

Where in Gauss's works does he derive “Gauss's Law”?

Where in Gauss's works does he derive "Gauss's Law"? Or is "Gauss's Law" named after Gauss for a different reason?
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2answers
520 views

Was Newton aware his theory of gravity had flaws?

Was Newton aware of the fact that his theory of gravity did not account for the motion of Mercury?
4
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0answers
65 views

Atomic models in the 1910's and early 1920's [duplicate]

The Rutherford model that invalidated the plum pudding model occured in 1909, while the first model for quantum mechanics was around 1924, leaving a period of 15 years without an adequate model for ...
4
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1answer
138 views

Was there any atomic model(s) that came between Bohr's and the actual beginning of Quantum Mechanics in early 20s?

Well, the question arose in the physics chat when slereah mentioned about it. So, was there any prominent model that came to light after Bohr and before the actual beginning of Quantum Mechanics in ...
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0answers
46 views

Was Anaximander the first who described that the clouds and rain were formed by evaporation of the oceans?

If so how did he managed to see this as molecules weren't known in his days?
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0answers
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 ...
8
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1answer
192 views

What are some of the most complete genealogies of scientific and mathematical subject areas?

I am interested in the way scientific and mathematical subject areas developed (and are still developing). One of the great visual tools that can help us gain insight in how these areas developed is ...
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0answers
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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1answer
156 views

Is the name of German company Siemens related to the unit of conductance?

We have heard about the name of the famous German company Siemens.My friend said that this is because they were the first to introduce conductance bridges and hence named after the unit of conductance ...
2
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1answer
277 views

What is meant by higher order infinitesimals in the works of Galileo and Cavalieri

According to Boyer, Salviati introduces the idea of a higher order infinitesimal on the “third day” in Galileo’s Two Chief Systems of 1632. They are introduced in order to counter Simplicio’s ...
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0answers
75 views

How was physics taught in the past (e.g., in the 19th century)?

Were there physics teaching aids used in the past? Or did professors just basically follow the textbook the students read? In other words: How was physics was taught in the past (e.g., in the 19th ...
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1answer
67 views

Classification of experimentally-determined physics laws?

Has anyone classified (or attempted to classify) all the experimentally-determined laws of physics, such as with a simple diagram or even in a full-length book? Doing an "experimental physics" ...
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0answers
39 views

Ludwig Boltzmann: life and work

Could you suggest a good biographic book about the life and work of the physicist Ludwig Boltzmann?
14
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3answers
642 views

How did Galileo know that objects rolling down a ramp was an accurate model for free fall?

Galileo used balls rolling down ramps to study the relationship between time and distance traveled. However, without any knowledge of physics, it doesn't seem immediately obvious that the time-...
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1answer
549 views

Why is harmonic oscillator creation operator called “a-dagger”, $a^\dagger$?

As is well known, Dirac introduced the creation and annihilation operators for the quantum harmonic oscillator ($\hat{a}^\dagger$ and $\hat{a}$ respectively), which are now part of every first course ...
2
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2answers
274 views

How did Lorentz transformations get their modern definition?

Historically, Special Relativity was motivated by apparent inconsistencies between Maxwell's Electrodynamics and Newtonian Mechanics. In Einstein's well known paper "On the electrodynamics of moving ...
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1answer
132 views

How were particle physics calculations done before Feynman diagrams?

I've seen and read that calculations before Feynman diagrams involved solving differential equations, but I can't find sample calculations like these. I've read that they would take months and pages ...
3
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1answer
214 views

Making your mark by age 30?

There is this old adage that says something like: if you have not made your mark in Physics by the age of 30 then you are not going to. Of course, I presume that other areas of study could be ...
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2answers
199 views

Was the Principia ever used as a textbook of physics for the people wanting to learn?

For example in the early days, when it was the only way to learn Newtonian mechanics? Was it good as a textbook?
6
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2answers
478 views

What was the first journal to have Feynman Diagrams?

I'm writing a paper on the history of Feynman diagrams and am having trouble finding the first paper published by Feynman which features a calculation done with Feynman Diagrams.
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3answers
3k views

How the law of inertia got discovered?

In the Feynman lectures, it is mentioned that [Vol 1; Gravitation]: Galileo discovered a very remarkable fact about motion, which was essential for understanding these laws. That is the principle ...
19
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2answers
625 views

How did scientists plot complicated graphs in the 19th century?

I am wondering how did Maxwell in the 19th century draw such figures as the one shown? What tools or procedures did he need? Is it all compass and ruler drawing?
9
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2answers
646 views

What would have been the popular textbook to learn mechanics in the 19 th century?

If you were a student of physics of let's say between 14-20 years old, what textbook would you be using to learn physics from ?
6
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1answer
1k views

Did Maxwell invent the Maxwell's wheel?

Tried to find it online, but nothing. Everyone refers to it and that it's named after the famous James Clerk Maxwell (of the Maxwell electromagnetic laws and some other things), but there is no direct ...
8
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5answers
302 views

Which book gives a thorough understanding on the scientific environment of antiquity?

I have started reading Rene Dugas' History of Mechanics book. I want to understand physics from the spectacle of seeing its intellectual evolution instead of directly jumping into its general theories/...
4
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1answer
3k views

An English copy of One Hundred Authors Against Einstein?

I've been trying to find the famous article, "One hundred authors against Einstein" (100 Autoren gegen Einstein), of various objections to special relativity, which is quite often referenced, but ...
4
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2answers
275 views

What made Einstein believe (or know) that time was affected by speed and gravity?

How did he come up with this idea before there was any experimental data to prove this?
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1answer
253 views

light rays and wave fronts [duplicate]

Who made first the connection between light rays and wave fronts? The fact is stated in many places, e.g., wikipedia, but I couldn't find a history.
0
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1answer
144 views

Who introduced the Green function method into quantum mechanics?

Its power is amazing. For a Hamiltonian, you define the Green function as $$G = \frac{1}{\lambda E-H} .$$ Who first come up with this definition? What was the motivation?
3
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2answers
1k views

Which came first, Coulomb's law or Gauss's law?

which one has been discovered earlier? Coulomb's law or Gauss's law? I've read that Gauss's law is more fundamental and of course we can derive Gauss's law using Coulomb's law and vice versa. But my ...
10
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3answers
1k views

Why did Einstein develop General Relativity?

I know that ultimately GR was validated by experiment. I'd like to know however, if there was any experimental discrepancy at the time that pointed to a conclusive flaw in Newtonian gravity, and which ...
2
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0answers
73 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 ...