Questions tagged [theoretical-physics]

For questions regarding theories in the discipline of Physics

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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
3 votes
1 answer
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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 ...
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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
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Who made the first (recorded) axiomatic model of nature?

Neil Degrasse Tyson has claimed that, via his Principia, Isaac Newton was the first person (on record) to make a "modern" theory of physics, in the sense that Newton made an axiomatic ...
Daddy Kropotkin's user avatar
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Who actually invented the Big Bang theory?

The Big Bang theory is famously attributed to Lemaître . In a moment of rare sentience, I decided to consult Georges Lemaître's works to find out what the original Big Bang theory looked like. After a ...
Hisham's user avatar
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Origins of a "Theory of Everything" in physics

In physics, is it possible to trace the history of the idea that the known forces (electromagnetic, weak, strong and gravity) should be unified in a "Theory of Everything"? Would it go back ...
Frank's user avatar
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What are the equations of Electric Gravity Lorentz derived, and what is the paper in which they are found?

I read on a blogpost that Lorentz built a mathematical model of gravity, but with an assumption that it arose from electrical origins. I tried googling for more information and could not find anything ...
Hisham's user avatar
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Why would Clausius define the change in entropy $∆S$ as $Q/T$?

Why Clausius defined entropy this way?
Michael's user avatar
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On early US patriotism to choose quark color charge labels

Sean Carroll has a video about gauge theory (2020) in his series about Greatest Ideas of the Universe, where he claims that early in the development of quantum chromodynamics, some physicists tried to ...
Mauricio's user avatar
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Reference Request: History of Chern-Simons Theory

Chern-Simons theory is a topological gauge field theory and play a prominent role in many brnaches of phyiscs and mathematics. On the physical side, it appears for example in three-dimensional ...
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Did Einstein believe the laws of physics would be replaced by mathematical identities?

I'm sure this wasn't his intention at the outset, but here's my understanding of the history of GR so you can see where I'm coming from: The Einstein-Grossmann "Entwurf" version of the ...
Adam Herbst's user avatar
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Unclosed Macroscopic equation from the statistical moments in kinetic theory of gases

I'm interested in kinetic theory of gases, notably its history. I know that, after the pioneering work of Boltzmann who derived the Boltzmann equation, it is possible by taking its statistical moment ...
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Why and when was the kinetic theory of gases generalized to fluids?

I've been reading about kinetic theory of gases, which only deals with gases. I know that the lattice Boltzmann method, which is commonly used to simulate fluid flows, finds its origin in the kinetic ...
Atmos's user avatar
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Origin of the terminology "Einstein frame" and "Jordan frame"

Consider a classical scalar-tensor theory (I'm following this paper) \begin{equation} S=\int d^4x\sqrt{-g}\left( \frac{1}{2\kappa^2}\mathcal{A}\left(\Phi\right)R -\frac{1}{2}\mathcal{...
physics_researcher's user avatar
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Physical theories and Mathematics [closed]

I study pure mathematics. In pure mathematics, we begin from some axioms and obtain theorems. I am also interested in studying physics. I have some questions about the relationship between physical ...
S Ali Mousavi's user avatar
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On implications of Schrodingers Cat regarding macroscopic quantum states and decoherence

How exactly did Schrodingers Cat lead to development regarding macroscopic quantum states and decoherence? One often hears that the thought experiment was the initiator to the question, whether ...
manuel459's user avatar
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Articles published without their authors being aware

In 1962, a paper called “Multiplication of Many-Digital Numbers by Automatic Computers”, by Anatoly Karatsuba and Yuri Ofman, was published at the Proceedings of the USSR Academy of Sciences. It was ...
José Carlos Santos's user avatar
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Have there been instances in physics where different scientists have interpreted the same data differently? [closed]

Have there been instances in physics where different scientists have interpreted the same data differently? If yes, can you please give me specific examples and explain why one interpretation was ...
Vedant Rana's user avatar
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Who was the first scientist to give a formula for the probability density function of the position of a photon in the double slit experiment?

The double-slit experiment shows the fundamentally probabilistic nature of quantum mechanical phenomena. On Wikipedia one can read: This type of experiment was first performed, using light, by Thomas ...
AdVen's user avatar
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1 answer
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Do Nobel prizes tend to go to theorists or experimenters?

Obviously not all cases are such that a theory is presented without experiment, and then the necessary experiment is done separately by another person... But when this IS the situation, to whom does ...
nchoir's user avatar
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de Broglie's conception of the electron

I've been working on de Broglie's thesis (English PDF, Original French PDF) for a course, and I've found something that's been bothering me. My training is in Physics, and so I'm not particularly ...
Philip's user avatar
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Who first proposed the idea of "resolution of the identity"?

Who first proposed the idea of "resolution of the identity" as used in the functional calculus of self-adjoint operators? Was it von Neumann? In Japanese, it translates as "resolution ...
enjin2000's user avatar
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Did aesthetics play a role in the construction of the Standard Model?

The Standard Model is a sophisticated mathematical framework to capture the behavior of elementary particles. It is a dream castle which is built on loose sand and every change in its construction or ...
Deschele Schilder's user avatar
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Who first used complex analysis to account for singularities in field theory?

In 1925, Frenkel wrote a paper titled Zur Elektrodynamik punktförmiger Elektronen, which used complex analysis to treat an electron as a point, and its corresponding potential function as an isolated ...
Larry Harson's user avatar
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Origin of the recurrence relation for Clebsch-Gordan coefficients

The Clebsch-Gordan coefficients $C_{\pm }(J,M)$ arise in quantum mechanics in the problem of addition of angular momentum. They also arise in mathematics in the more theoretical (but related) problem ...
roymend's user avatar
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Representation theory in physics

The idea of using Lie groups in physics can be easily understood intuitively, but what are the origins of the use of representation theory of Lie groups and Lie algebras in physics? We mathematicians ...
huurd's user avatar
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Did Lorentz remain an ether advocate till his death?

I remember that I read somewhere that Lorentz remained an ether advocate till his death despite the empirical successes of Einstein's relativity in rejecting any kind of ether. However, I cannot ...
Mohammad Javanshiry's user avatar
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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
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When was the mathematical relation between Snell's law and Fermat time law first recognized?

In the wikipedia article about Snell's law of indexes of refraction there is a demonstration that shows the interconnection with Fermat's law of least time. The strategy of that demonstration: The ...
Cleonis'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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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
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Has someone ever proposed a "many worlds/histories" model where all possible boundary conditions are considered? [closed]

The Hawking-Hartle no boundary condition is a well known model that tries to explain how did the universe begin. The authors considered a "many worlds/histories" model considering a sum over ...
vengaq's user avatar
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29 votes
3 answers
8k views

Why did no one else, except Einstein, work on developing General Relativity between 1905-1915?

Einstein dedicated his time between 1905-1915 to develop general relativity (GR). It seems strange to me that no other physicists attempted to tackle this problem in this ten-year period. After all, ...
Omar Nagib's user avatar
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1 answer
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Did Hugh David Politzer work independently for his contribution to asymptotic freedom?

The Nobel Prize was awarded to David Gross, Frank Wilczek and Hugh David Politzer. I believe David Gross worked with Frank Wilczek and was his thesis advisor. On the other hand, I couldn't find much ...
Sedumjoy's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
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What is the name of the "largest complete history" of physics?

Somewhere in the world is housed what is thought to be the largest complete history of physics. I recall it being of some ridiculous length, something like hundreds or thousands of volumes. I cannot, ...
10GeV's user avatar
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1 answer
187 views

Original derivation of the Dyson equation

In what paper did Dyson derive the Dyson equation, as shown on Wikipedia?
Christina Daniel's user avatar
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1 answer
109 views

What did the Italian Nobel laureate Riccardo Giacconi think about the Multiverse hypothesis?

Riccardo Giacconi (1931-2018) was an Italian astrophysicist who was awarded with the Nobel prize in physics back in 2002 for his important contributions to astrophysics. Since he was an astrophysicist,...
vengaq's user avatar
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1 answer
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What are the stories of physicists's prediction of problems that future generation will be busy with/topics that revolutionize future of physics?

There are stories that famous physicists made predictions of a list of problems; problems that the future generation of physicists will be busy with or revolutionize the future of physics in the ...
Solidification's user avatar
5 votes
0 answers
218 views

Who introduced the comma notation for partial derivatives?

In general relativity, it is common to use the comma notation for partial derivatives $$\frac{\partial g_{\mu\nu}}{\partial x_\rho} = g_{\mu\nu_,\rho}$$ Where did this notation first appear? Was it ...
Manas Dogra's user avatar
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How has the degree of mathematisation in physics university education in the U.S. changed in the 20th century?

I'm mostly interested in the degree of mathematisation with which physics was taught. Intuitively, I believe to recall that Europe has had a long tradition of mathematical physics, while physics ...
Joe Wolf's user avatar
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1 answer
418 views

How to get to Planck’s radiation law as Planck did it (warts and all)?

I would like to know how Planck went from an expression for the number of ways energy can be distributed in oscillators (denoted $W$) via the Boltzmann equation ($ S = k \ln W$) to the Planck ...
a_former_scientist's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
739 views

Did Heisenberg ever accept Schrödinger's formulation of quantum mechanics, or at least did he relax his negative views about it?

Both Heisenberg and Schrödinger found each other's way of formulating Quantum Mechanics quite repellent. My question is: Did any of the two change their views towards each other (specially Heisenberg)...
vengaq's user avatar
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6 votes
1 answer
377 views

Was Von Neumann and Birkhoff's original formulation of Quantum Logic related with projective geometry?

I was looking at how did von Neumann and Birkhoff formulate their Quantum Logic formalism back in 1936. To solve some questions, I contacted via email a philosopher who studied this topic. I thought ...
vengaq's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
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Alternatives to «Lost in math: how beauty leads physics astray» by Sabine Hossenfelder?

Recently, I came across this book «Lost in math» that aroused my interest. Having read about half of it, I have to admit that I am not a big fan of Mrs. Hossenfelder's informal popular style of ...
S. N.'s user avatar
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2 votes
2 answers
193 views

Did the recipients of the Nobel Prize in physics for the electroweak theory work independently of each other?

Did these scientists know about each other's work and consult from each other or did they discover the electroweak theory each independent of the other? Below is a quote from nobelprize.org. ...
Sedumjoy's user avatar
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6 votes
1 answer
624 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
23 votes
3 answers
6k views

What was the relationship between Einstein and Minkowski?

I read many Einstein's Biographies, but Minkowski was never mentioned, though his discovery of the union of space and time created the basis for GR. Minkowski was Einstein's teacher of mathematics ...
Realist753's user avatar
4 votes
0 answers
158 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 ...
Maribel's user avatar
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0 answers
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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 ...
Maribel's user avatar
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1 vote
2 answers
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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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