Skip to main content

Questions tagged [physics]

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

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
7 votes
2 answers
3k views

Did Galileo perform an experiment at the Leaning Tower of Pisa?

Galileo's pupil Viviani said that Galileo dropped unequal weights from the Leaning Tower of Pisa and observed them to take equal times to hit the ground. Galileo's own writings do not describe such an ...
user avatar
7 votes
2 answers
241 views

Is there an etymological dictionary of terms in physics?

There are of course many physics dictionaries and glossaries and some words can be found in general etymological dictionaries and even English dictionaries; but is there a Physics Etymological ...
stafusa's user avatar
  • 305
7 votes
1 answer
398 views

When and how did the notion/idea of physical constant emerge?

Physical constants (e.g. c, h, G, alpha and so on) play a central role in our scientific theories and they have yet drawn much of controversial flavor into questions concerning the foundational status ...
SAFI's user avatar
  • 343
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
1 answer
494 views

When was the geometric structure of a water molecule discovered?

How and when was water the structure of a water molecule (specifically the angles) discovered? Was it discovered by using a specific type of spectroscopy? I know you can derive these angles ...
Dan Barzilay's user avatar
7 votes
1 answer
735 views

Did Ibn Al-Haytham believe that the Moon reflects sunlight or that it is self-luminous?

There are at least two articles about Ibn Al-Haytham in Encyclopedia First and Second Both these articles have one major difference that is according to the First article: The Light of the Stars (III ...
Abhishek Yadav's user avatar
7 votes
1 answer
528 views

Who was this man (who is not Bruno Pontecorvo)?

The English-language Wikipedia article about physicist Bruno Pontecorvo is illustrated with this photo: Now, this man seems distinctly different from most portraits of Pontecorvo around: The ...
DaG's user avatar
  • 223
7 votes
2 answers
395 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'. ...
Marijn 's user avatar
  • 383
7 votes
2 answers
5k views

What are the major flaws of the “caloric” theory of heat?

I was reading about the history of thermodynamics and came across Lavoisier's idea of heat. He proposed that heat was a fluid. I am curious to know what are the major drawbacks of this theory. I know ...
Student's user avatar
  • 181
7 votes
1 answer
568 views

Nobel Prize work derived from Manhattan Project research?

There are quite a few Nobel Prize winners (e.g. Physics) who worked on the Manhattan project in the development of the atomic bomb. But, did any Nobel Prize result from direct research performed on ...
K7PEH's user avatar
  • 1,139
7 votes
1 answer
214 views

Who created the energy conditions?

The earliest text I've been able to find that explain the GR energy conditions is "The large scale structure of space-time" (1973) by Hawking and Ellis. However in Barcelo and Visser's paper "...
Rammus's user avatar
  • 123
7 votes
2 answers
1k 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.
TheStrangeQuark's user avatar
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
7 votes
1 answer
206 views

Did classical physicists feel ill-at-ease about point charges?

The point charge concept is clearly a very useful mathematical fiction, but it is also problematic from the point of view of "physical intuition". Even a layperson would feel that an explanation is ...
David Holden's user avatar
7 votes
1 answer
214 views

When was conical refraction predicted and observed?

I was reading James Ladyman's Understanding Philosophy of Science, and came across the following consequence of Fresnel's theory of light: The phenomenon is known as conical refraction and has now ...
Colin McFaul's user avatar
7 votes
1 answer
305 views

Was Einstein the first person to think of the equivalence of a ball drop in an accelerated elevator and a ball drop on Earth?

Consider the following figure taken from Wikipedia. Was Einstein the first person to think of the equivalence of a ball drop in an elevator with acceleration of $g$ and a ball drop on Earth? To be ...
Display Name's user avatar
7 votes
0 answers
148 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 ...
Gerard's user avatar
  • 171
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
  • 379
6 votes
4 answers
2k views

What is the etymology of the term space-time?

I'm looking for the earliest references to the word space-time (in the modern sense), in any language. The first references would likely be in German, as Raum-Zeit or Raumzeit. Of course, H. Minkowski ...
John's user avatar
  • 231
6 votes
2 answers
2k views

Who first proposed the theory of tidal locking?

I'm interested in the history of the concept of tidal locking but haven't been able to find any articles presenting a timeline of its development. I'm hoping to have a look at the first published ...
numbynumb's user avatar
6 votes
6 answers
6k views

Where did the false "equal transit-time" explanation of lift originate from?

It's supposedly a "widely circulated" false claim that wings generate lift because of their asymmetric shape, forcing air above to travel faster so that they meet up on the trailing edge at the same ...
eugenhu's user avatar
  • 191
6 votes
1 answer
3k views

Who first solved the classical harmonic oscillator?

There is a question Who solved the quantum harmonic oscillator?, but not one for the classical oscillator. Wikipedia's article Harmonic Oscillator does not have historical information either. So who ...
Chetan Waghela's user avatar
6 votes
3 answers
332 views

Great physicists with no mentors

I often check biographies of physicists and at one point or another in the beginning of their careers they have the opportunity to be mentored by other and often also great scientists. But, I know for ...
user3653831's user avatar
6 votes
4 answers
1k views

Galileo's Discussion of Uniform Motion

Can someone help me here? the language is archaic. This is (translation of) Galileo If two particles carried at a uniform rate, the ratio of their speeds will be the product of the ratio of the ...
john mangual's user avatar
6 votes
2 answers
6k 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 ...
Slereah's user avatar
  • 895
6 votes
2 answers
252 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 ...
PRITIPRIYA DASBEHERA's user avatar
6 votes
2 answers
7k views

How did people react to the realization that Aristotle's ideas had gone without question for way too long?

Recently read the book "Gravity" by George Gamow, in which he says: For centuries Aristotelian philosophy and scholasticism dominated human thought. Scientific questions were answered by dialectic ...
davelook's user avatar
6 votes
2 answers
520 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
  • 183
6 votes
1 answer
656 views

How did 19th century physicists do their undergraduate/graduate studies?

I have read that In 1847, he became aware of physicist James Prescott Joule’s argument for the mutual convertibility of heat and mechanical work and for their mechanical equivalence. We study ...
Knight wants Loong back's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
2k views

How does the science community decide which scientist to credit for a particular discovery?

In the science community there are lots of cases where two or more scientists work on the same ideas or theories. How is it decided which scientist to give credit for a particular discovery? What are ...
22flower's user avatar
  • 183
6 votes
2 answers
786 views

Where did Ptolemy compare the Earth to the distance of fixed stars?

I read the following in C. S. Lewis, Miracles (page 77-8) The immensity of the universe is not a recent discovery. More than seventeen hundred years ago Ptolemy taught that in relation to the ...
Frank Hubeny's user avatar
6 votes
2 answers
1k 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?
Geremia's user avatar
  • 5,371
6 votes
2 answers
440 views

On the development of Newtonian Mechanics

Having borrowed from the library an English translation of Newton's Principia (Motte's), I read the begining sections, Part 1 and the Systems of the world, and noticed that Newton did physics ...
Cicero's user avatar
  • 561
6 votes
2 answers
1k views

How did Newton prove his third law of motion?

I guess it is an experimental law, so what was the experiment?
Amit Keinan's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
1k views

Natura non facit saltus (nature does not make jumps), who said that?

The sentence is Latin for nature doesn't make jumps. It refers to the fact that, in most physical processes, quantities vary continuously. The principle was used by Leibniz, Kant and Darwin among ...
lcv's user avatar
  • 163
6 votes
1 answer
268 views

When did the use of Sine and Cosine as functions become mainstream?

In the work of early physicists like Newton, everything is explained in terms of cumbersome (in today's standards) geometry. They don't talk about "cosines" of certain angle, but about proportions ...
Chegon's user avatar
  • 203
6 votes
1 answer
2k views

Who really discovered/invented the Hooke's law?

According to Wikipedia, The law is named after 17th-century British physicist Robert Hooke. He first stated the law in 1676 as a Latin anagram. He published the solution of his anagram in 1678 as: ...
Diego S. Rodrigues's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
221 views

Where does the habit of calling the elements of a projective Hilbert space "rays" originate from?

When describing the projective Hilbert space as the state space in quantum mechanics, physicists habitually refer to its elements as "rays in Hilbert space", while the mathematical literature seems to ...
ACuriousMind's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
444 views

Who discovered the normal mode decomposition of coupled oscillators?

Coupled oscillators can be broken down into a superposition of normal mode oscillations. Who was the first person to solve for this system in this way?
Matta's user avatar
  • 235
6 votes
1 answer
695 views

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

Or who first solved the harmonic oscillator in the algebraic method?
John's user avatar
  • 909
6 votes
2 answers
533 views

How many papers on general relativity did Marcel Grossmann author or co-author?

Marcel Grossmann is perhaps best known for helping Einstein learn the Riemannian geometry necessary to formulate general relativity. He was instrumental in its early development. Wikipedia states: ...
HDE 226868's user avatar
  • 8,503
6 votes
1 answer
2k views

Who invented the concepts of potential and kinetic energy? [duplicate]

Who invented potential and kinetic energy ? Was it Newton ? Or someone else ? I have the impression Newton used those ideas but they already existed.
mick's user avatar
  • 187
6 votes
1 answer
630 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
6 votes
1 answer
713 views

Why do we write $E=mc^2$ and not $E=c^2 m$?

My question goes from Phys.SE where people advised me to ask my question here. I always learn in maths and physics when something is a constant in an equation we have to put it before which varies. ...
ParaH2's user avatar
  • 185
6 votes
1 answer
97 views

What was the historical importance of the discovery of high-$T_c$ superconductors?

I remember very well from my (only) class in solid state physics how enthusiastically the professor recounted the discovery of high-$T_c$ superconductors. In one particularly vivid anecdote, he ...
Danu's user avatar
  • 3,892
6 votes
1 answer
2k 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 ...
Giannis Papadimitriou's user avatar
6 votes
3 answers
2k views

Books on the History of Physics

I've just finished reading Quantum: Einstein, Bohr, and the Great Debate About the Nature of Reality by Manjit Kumar, which deals with the history of QM from Plank's quantisation for black body ...
Gonenc's user avatar
  • 785
6 votes
0 answers
69 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
6 votes
0 answers
136 views

What technology was used to determine the shape of the blackbody spectrum at the 19th century?

The shape of the blackbody radiation spectrum was known in the 19th century from experimental measurements, and before the theoretical discovery of Planck's law. At those times, how did people manage ...
Solidification's user avatar
6 votes
0 answers
120 views

What is the origin in the discrepancy between engineers' and physicists' notation of waves?

my question is very simple. Physicists use this notation in order to write a (for example) plane wave: $$ \xi(z) = \xi^+ \mathrm{e}^{+\mathrm{i}kz} + \xi^- \mathrm{e}^{-\mathrm{i}kz}, $$ where $\xi^+$ ...
gunix12's user avatar
  • 61

1 2 3
4
5
17