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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Best history of Maxwell and his equations

I've done my B.S. in Electrical Engineering as well as mathematics but I'd like to get a proper, or complete history of Maxwell and the history of his derivation of the equations and the newness of ...
Elliot's user avatar
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Who first defined velocity and acceleration?

I'm asking who was the first to use and define velocity and acceleration in the modern, now standard way, with velocity being the first derivative of position and acceleration being the second ...
Don Al's user avatar
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1 answer
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Did anyone ever propose a hypercomplex numbers system with more than one anisotropic axis?

The real number axis is asymmetric against zero: for instance, multiplication of two negative or two positive numbers will produce a positive number, a square root of a negative number is not real, ...
Anixx's user avatar
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Was Kants theory of space and time inspired by that of colour?

Kants theory of space, time and causality is that they are the very forms of experience and ground all the other phenomena that we can experience. He called them the forms of sensibility. Kant studied ...
Mozibur Ullah's user avatar
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Is there any evidence that Einstein knew of Cliffords speculation on the nature of gravity and electromagnetism?

Around 1870, William Clifford published a short note in The Proceedings of the Cambridge Philosophical Society describing all forces as an aspect of the curvature of space. This is the basis of ...
Mozibur Ullah's user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
288 views

A technical and historical introduction to quantum mechanics

I am curious to understand the history of QM. In particular, how did the physicists conclude that observables can be treated as operators, or the use of complex state spaces, or that Eigenvalues of ...
user2808118's user avatar
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258 views

How is it possible that Pierre and Marie Curie's daughter Ève was so healthy?

I know that problems caused by radiation are pretty much random and unexpected at low levels of exposition but this randomness begins to be more probable when the exposition grows and this makes me ...
Hvjurthuk's user avatar
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1 answer
214 views

Who named Black Hole?

A black hole is a compact region of spacetime where gravity is so strong that nothing, even light, can escape from its event horizon, and, interestingly, Einstein didn't accept this viewpoint. Now, I'...
Ancient Friend's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
960 views

History of rotational / rigid body mechanics

In teaching introductory mechanics classes, I like to give my students a much-abridged sketch of some history of mechanics, starting with Aristotle and ending with Galileo and Newton. Most of the ...
d_b's user avatar
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History of experimental verification of the identity of voltaic and static electricity and references

What where the crucial experiments which showed the identity of voltaic and static electricity? How did the experiments work in detail and what are the original references for it? In "A History ...
Julia's user avatar
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How did the concept of work being the dot product of force and displacement come into existence?

Well this is really a silly question. However I am curious to know about this topic. Concept of each of the quantities discussed in physics have come into existence based on some basic human thoughts. ...
MSKB's user avatar
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In which year the notion of star death started?

In which year, does the fact: every star will ultimately die came in to existence?
hanugm's user avatar
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1 answer
271 views

When was "Faraday's Law of Induction" first expressed in a quantified form?

An often used definition of "Faraday's Law of Induction" goes something like this (found in Wikipedia) The electromotive force around a closed path is equal to the negative of the time rate ...
Math Keeps Me Busy's user avatar
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132 views

Gravity's Rainbow: An accidental nominal similarity in science and literature?

There is an interesting extension of Einstein's Special Relativity, known as Doubly Special Relativity (presented after 2002) in which there is not only an observer-independent maximum velocity (i.e., ...
Ancient Friend's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
496 views

Famous gypsy/romani physicists?

Are there any famous/notorious Romani physicist? Thanks!
FriendlyLagrangian's user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
2k views

Who discovered the wave equation?

https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-1-4684-5772-8_2 says: Using Newton's recently formulated laws of motion, Brook Taylor (1685–1721) discovered the wave equation by means of physical ...
user45664's user avatar
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How was it discovered that the Magnetic force was orthogonal to the B-field and the velocity of the charged particle?

Forces like the gravitational and the electric force are in the direction of the force field. Why is it that the magnetic force is orthogonal to the velocity of the charge and the magnetic field? Was ...
Aaroh Gokhale's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
156 views

How did Newton originally formulate the Law of Cooling?

I am searching for Newton's original formulation of the Law of Cooling. In his article (p.140-143), Newton said: "For the heat which the hot iron communicates in a given time to cold bodies ...
David A.'s user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
668 views

What is the history of the use of the word daughter for a decay product in nuclear physics?

I was browsing the book Isotopes: Principles and Applications by Faure and Mensing and I would like to know what is the history of the use of the word daughter for a decay product. It seems to me that ...
Alessandro Jacopson's user avatar
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0 answers
197 views

Was Landau interested in the interpretations of quantum mechanics?

I am interested in Lev Landau. I was trying to find what was his approach to the interpretation of quantum mechanics, I am unable to find any particular source were this is discussed. Was he an ...
Mauricio's user avatar
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Did Newton discuss and/or use the principle of moments?

This question comes from a point of view of a student in current times. The general curriculum for a physics student presents that a static analysis of a simple system requires that the forces in each ...
Snifkes's user avatar
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3 answers
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Could 17th century astronomers in the Netherlands predict solar eclipses a few months in advance?

In the 17th century Netherlands, could the astronomers, or sailors trained in stellar navigation, predict either total or partial (at least 40% obscured) solar eclipses over the the town of Aardenburg ...
Bob516's user avatar
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What are the definitive experiments/phenomena which motivate quantum mechanics?

The double slit experiment is usually given as the foremost example of a physical experiment that requires quantum mechanics to satisfactorily explain. However, every account i've seen of it (such as ...
pprof's user avatar
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2 votes
2 answers
306 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
3 votes
0 answers
106 views

How much radiation did the Curies get while synthetising Radium?

While Marie Skłodowska's husband, Pierre Curie, died in a traffic accident, she died of cancer. Various sources claim that the radiation she got during their experiments might have contributed ...
peterh's user avatar
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Validity of Maxwell's equations in the aether's reference frame

If Maxwell's equations were experimentally found on Earth such as Faradays law, coulombs law , and worked in the Earth's frame of reference, then why did people believe them to be valid in the aether'...
Kashmiri's user avatar
  • 183
6 votes
2 answers
506 views

Was the sun assumed to be at rest aether frame?

Back in the past, was the sun assumed to be at rest in the luminous aether frame?
Kashmiri's user avatar
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0 answers
76 views

Maxwell equations and aether

Were Maxwells equations (in their usual common form) assumed to be valid only in ether frame,in the past? If someone would ask them "In what frame are you writing these equations " ,what ...
Kashmiri's user avatar
  • 183
4 votes
1 answer
154 views

Who coined the 'particle zoo' expression?

I've been looking for the origin of the 'particle zoo' expression but so far failed to track down who first used it or at least who popularized it.
denis's user avatar
  • 143
2 votes
0 answers
37 views

Who invented the quadrupole lens for charged particles?

I am wondering who actually invented the (magnetic) quadrupole lens or who used it for the first time. I have found some papers from the 50s and 60s about more complicated systems based on Quadrupoles,...
Felix Kern's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
32 views

Dirac's non-neglibile disturbances argument and epistemic quantum mechanics

Here is Dirac's argument about one reason to motivate quantum mechanics: "It is usually assumed that, by being careful, we may cut down the disturbance accompanying our observation to any desired ...
J Kusin's user avatar
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9 votes
1 answer
197 views

Did Sophie Germain find a flaw in Euler's equations for elastic vibrations?

I am a playwright working on a play about Sophie Germain. When Sophie was competing for the prix extraordinaire to find effective formulas to describe the vibrations of elastic surfaces, she believed ...
Brenda Kenworthy's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
863 views

Why historically the hour was divided into 60 minutes and when it had started? [duplicate]

Why and when was the hour divided into exactly 60 minutes (and not for example 70 or 80)?
Ubiquitous Student's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
118 views

How did the first astronomers define what a planet is?

What is the origin of the term "planet" and how did astronomers first define the term?
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8 votes
3 answers
497 views

When did physicists begin using the symbol $G$ for Newton's gravitational constant?

The Cavendish experiment was equivalent to measuring $G,$ Newton's gravitational constant. However, because physicists at the time did not write equations in the same way we do now, Cavendish didn't ...
Mark Eichenlaub's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
307 views

What was Newton's statement of the universal law of gravitation?

Newton explained the inverse square law in Principia. On looking through an English translation, though, I'm having difficulty pulling out a single quote that is Newton's clearest statement of the ...
Mark Eichenlaub's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
47 views

Has Daniel Bernoulli's 1764 paper on organ pipe acoustics been translated into English?

The full title: RECHERCHES PHYSIQUES MÉCANIQUES ET ANALYTIQUES SUR LE SON ET SUR LE TONS DES TUYAUX D’ORGUES DIFFÉREMMENT CONSTRUITS Link to a pdf: https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/011812546 Some ...
10ppb's user avatar
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3 votes
0 answers
108 views

What was Boltzmann's contribution to the theory of "statistical ensemble"?

In the book "Ludwig Boltzmann, the man who trusted atoms"by C.Cercignani, I read about the thesis according to which it was Boltzmann, not Gibbs who first introduced the concept of "...
user avatar
11 votes
2 answers
366 views

Who predicted the existence of the muon neutrino?

The Wikipedia article on the muon neutrino says: The muon neutrino is a lepton, an elementary subatomic particle which has the symbol $\nu_\mu$ and no net electric charge. Together with the muon it ...
John Baez's user avatar
  • 321
1 vote
1 answer
288 views

Origins of the canonical commutation relation

I have recently been reading Gunter Ludwig's book wave mechanics to get a better understanding of quantum mechanics and in reading through the book I came across the relation $$m\sum_s \{|q_{rs}|^2\...
Flumpo's user avatar
  • 121
5 votes
1 answer
441 views

What is the history of adding the Clock Hypothesis to Special Relativity?

As far as I understand, Einstein’s original formulation of Special Relativity did not include the Clock Hypothesis, though it was implicitly assumed. The modern formulation of SR adds a formal ...
nwr's user avatar
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2 votes
3 answers
414 views

What was the historical motivation for introducing the concept 'gravitational potential'?

As a high school physics teacher, I like to motivate all concepts and terminology with how they were first developed historically. Recently I did some research on the motivation behind introducing the ...
user3637275's user avatar
3 votes
0 answers
75 views

How did we arrive at the rule of addition of vectors?

I wanted to ask about how they arrived to the rule of addition of vectors. How did they know that if we add the X's and Y's of two vectors they would get a third vector which has exactly the same ...
Manar's user avatar
  • 131
2 votes
1 answer
342 views

Who is the father of fiber optics?

Here Wiki says Narinder Singh Kapany is "father of fiber optics". Here source says Charles Kuen Kao is "father of fiber optics". Who is the father of fiber optics: Charles Kuen Kao ...
Mevlyn Rose's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
145 views

Why is wave guide theory developed so long after Maxwell's work was published?

When some fundamental new theory is published, derived work will be done "instantly", example from quantum mechanics: 1926 Schrödinger equation 1927 The first application of quantum ...
jw_'s user avatar
  • 275
4 votes
2 answers
141 views

Was Planck's Constant a huge leap conceptually? [duplicate]

It must have been observed, for example, that there was no element lighter than hydrogen or that there were not different-charged electrons (I believe the electron was discovered prior to Planck's ...
releseabe's user avatar
  • 1,123
3 votes
0 answers
79 views

Experimenters regretting throwing away data?

Modern experiments, especially in fields like particle physics, often collect far more data than they can process and save. Similarly, I can imagine that historical experimenters were limited by how ...
Heisenbugs's user avatar
13 votes
7 answers
4k views

What are the earliest inventions to store and release energy (e.g. fly wheels)?

I am interested in very early inventions that allowed energy to be stored and released after a delay even it's just a short time. With "invention" I mean a novelty that is the result of ...
Jan's user avatar
  • 247
3 votes
1 answer
97 views

Books about the development/history of gravitational theory

I am looking for a book about the history of gravitational theory. It should obviously include discussions of Newton, Einstein, and their theories, and hopefully it would include the work of other ...
Mathew Mehrian's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
159 views

How did Faraday determine the Faraday's constant?

Here is the reference. I'm wondering how he experimentally proceeded to derive the fact the if we pass 96485 Coulombs through a solution, then 1 gram equivalent of substance is electrolyzed.
ric.san's user avatar
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