The historical development of physics concepts: who did what and when.

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Why did Kepler thought that the Earth was hollow? [on hold]

I was researching a little about the theory of the hollow earth, since I am a mathematician I don't understand well about physics some famous scientific thought this namely Euler, Edmond Halley and ...
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2answers
133 views

On Newton's discovery of the universal law of gravitation

I'm reading Peter Collier's book on relativity and was on the chapter where he describes how Newton figured out the law for universal gravitation. This is the cannonball referred to in the following ...
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35 views

How was light used to detect targets in pre-radar times? [closed]

I read that light (optical systems) was used to detect targets in the air and sea before radar was used. I saw photos of light being focused in the skies etc. But I want to know more about this - How ...
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45 views

Why isn't mass conservation counted among the laws of thermodynamics? [closed]

Is this purely a historical artifact, a consequence of how the original formulators of the three laws were thinking and experimenting at the time? Or is there a compelling scientific/logical reason ...
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1answer
37 views

What are the tools used by Newton to measure motion?

I was wondering how did Sir Newton measured motion of objects (non celestial ones). What was his toolskit at the time?
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1answer
172 views

Why does math work for describing and solving physics problems? [closed]

The clarified version As far as I understand, Wigner considers a "miracle" the fact that it is even possible to find a mathematical equation that describes a natural phenomenon. It is not exactly ...
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946 views

How did physicists know that only negative charges move?

I have phrased similarly another question about how physicists knew that two charges exist, positive and negative. The purpose of the question is not necessarily to educate me historically. It's just ...
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2answers
97 views

Why did Einstein retain the hypothesis of length contraction?

Why did Einstein retain the hypothesis of length contraction, which Lorentz introduced to save his æther theory, yet Einstein had no need to accept length contraction because he rejected the æther?
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50 views

Was Einstein familiar with the Michelson-Gale experiment?

Was Einstein familiar with the Michelson-Gale experiment (related to Sagnac's experiment)? If so, did Einstein explain the results of the Michelson-Gale experiment with his relativity theory? If so, ...
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106 views

Was there physics science before invention of calculus?

Is there a part of physics that there is no calculus in it?
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How did physicists know that there are two kind of charges?

Problems The question I am about to make is either too stupid or hasn't bothered anyone because its obvious because I can't really find the answer anywhere. I am currently studying electricity and ...
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1answer
128 views

How did Heisenberg come up with matrix mechanics?

I have learnt that matrix mechanics came before Schroedinger's wave mechanics, however introductory quantum mechanics textbooks introduce you to wave mechanics first. The way in which the transition ...
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1answer
110 views

Why didn't Newton study electricity and magnetism?

This is a soft question about the history of physics. In Newton's time, electrical and magnetic phenomena (such as amber attracting things or the alignment of compass needles) were well known. Yet I ...
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2answers
48 views

Reference request: history of models and equations? [closed]

I am looking for an in-depth self-contained text for the layman which covers the historic development of major questions in physics and the models and equations considered to answer them, and their ...
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55 views

Potential Energy = mgh. What is the name of this principle and did Newton discover it?

Somebody I know keeps trying to convince me that Potential Energy $PE=mgh$ is one of Newton's Laws (as well as the closely related idea, Work Done = force x distance moved). I am fairly certain that ...
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1answer
37 views

What exactly were the “asymmetries which do not appear to be inherent in the phenomena” in Einstein's 1905 SR paper?

The first ¶ of Einstein's "On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies" says (my emphases): It is known that Maxwell's electrodynamics—as usually understood at the present time—when applied to moving ...
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1answer
33 views

Why are Bose-Einstein Condensates (BECs) named after Bose and Einstein?

Why are Bose-Einstein Condensates (BECs) named after Bose and Einstein? What did Einstein contribute to BECs? What were the relevant papers by Bose and Einstein?
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1answer
36 views

How did Fizeau control the cog's rotations per second?

In Fizeau's cog experiment to determine the speed of light, how would he have had a way to accurately determine the number of rotations per second of the cog, given the experiment was conducted in ...
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0answers
29 views

Galileo's pendulum and any references

In some texts about the simple pendulum we use to see references about some "experiments" Galileo Galilei did realize and whereby he found some important results, including that the period of the ...
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1answer
36 views

History of Turbulence suggestions

I am looking for extensive historical accounts of turbulence that ideally is strong in math and physics (at least giving references). Any suggestions? The only book I found is "A Voyage Through ...
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1answer
2k views

Why was the first discovered neutrino an anti-neutrino?

In the search for neutrinos, Cowan and Reines discovered the electron anti-neutrino and named it as such. Why is the particle they discovered the anti-variety? The reason we call electrons 'electrons'...
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1answer
115 views

Who determined the half-life of Uranium 235 and how?

By Wiki, the half-life of Uranium 235 is as long as 703,800,000 years. This is huge. Therefore, on an human time scale, the decay is very small. This should pose difficulty for determining the half-...
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137 views

Schrödinger's interpretation of his wave function before Born

The below shows some excerpt from Feynman's lecture notes. 21–4 The meaning of the wave function When Schrödinger first discovered his equation he discovered the conservation law of Eq. (21....
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1answer
38 views

Which experiments of harmonic generation at low frequencies preceded Franken's SHG?

In The Principles of Nonlinear Optics by Shen, he says that the generation of harmonics at low frequencies were long-known before Franken did SHG in the optical range. Franken's idea was simple. ...
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2answers
205 views

Why did Albert Einstein receive a nobel prize? [closed]

We all know that he received the prize due to his explanation of photoelectric effect. But the photoelectric effect, it’s a mere 3-4 page topic and uses a simple equation that typically anyone can ...
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2answers
97 views

Is electromotive force really a force? [duplicate]

As far the definition goes emf of electromotive force is basically potential difference. It even has dimensions of potential. Then why is it called a force?
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20 views

Classification of experimentally-determined physics laws? [duplicate]

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?
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1answer
83 views

What is really sought when we purpose Einstein's postulates in Special Relativity?

Special Relativity can be motivated by looking at Maxwell's Electrodynamics and noticing that there is some kind of inconsistency between it and Newtonian Mechanics. Indeed, as Einstein pointed out on ...
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146 views

What is the inconsistency between Maxwell's electrodynamics and newtonian mechanics?

As far as I understand, when a modification of a theory is made it is because some observation required this modifcation. Quantum Mechanics is a nice example of that: observations of microscopic ...
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38 views

Thermal de Broglie wavelength - definition

The thermal de Broglie wavelenght is often defined by the formula $\lambda=\frac{h}{\sqrt{2\pi mkT}}$ but equally frequently is it defined as de Broglie wavelength for a free ideal gas of massive ...
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1answer
66 views

How does Compton scattering demonstrate particle over wave behavior?

Why is Compton scattering thought to demonstrate light's behavior as a particle over that as a wave. I'm interested in the thoughts at the time of Compton, but also how it contradicts current theory ...
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64 views

How did Max Born come up with his rule? [duplicate]

In his rule, he stated that the probability is norm-squared of wave function, $|\psi|^2$. And as far as I knew, no one else at that time had "right" interpretation of the wave function. Even ...
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1answer
28 views

Where can i get an online version of original works of Aristotlean physics (for free)? [closed]

I am trying to search for original works of Aristotle in physics. Pls refer an online version and kindle version is very much appreciated.
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2answers
3k views

Were the Michelson-Morley results a surprise?

How unexpected were the Michelson-Morley experiment results? Did physicists have theoretical reasons to predict that the speed of light would result to be invariant?
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3answers
510 views

How did we realize that light travels at a finite speed?

We all know that light travels at a finite speed of nearly $3\times10^8\mathrm{m\,s^{-1}}$. But how did we come to think that light has a finite speed? Why did the scientists try to calculate the ...
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30 views

How did scientists calculate the number of atoms in one mole of a substance? [duplicate]

Please explain me about the basic methods about how can we calculate that 1 mole of a substance contains 6.022140857 × 10 23 molecules? Tell how the modern scientists calculated it and how Avogadro ...
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2answers
92 views

How is Planck's radiation law related to $E=h\nu$

How did Planck conclude $E=h\nu$ from his radiation law?
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1answer
378 views

What was Newton's own explanation of Newton's rings?

What was Newton's own explanation of Newton's rings? Newton advocated a corpuscular theory of light, but his rings would most conveniently be explained by a wave theory. How did he explain his own ...
2
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1answer
56 views

How was the concept of work-energy developed? [duplicate]

I doubt that the concept of work-energy was actually discovered this way. However in the algebra based physics book I am reading, work done by a constant net force is defined as $W = fcos \theta s$ ...
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1answer
68 views

Which was the first Coulomb's constant value? [closed]

Which was the first Coulomb's constant value? I didn't found any info in the Internet. I need the first value of K to compare it with my experiment. Could you please help me?
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3answers
9k views

Why is a second equal to the duration of exactly 9,192,631,770 periods of radiations?

Why is a second equal to the duration of 9,192,631,770 periods of radiation corresponding to the transition between two hyperfine levels of the ground state of the caesium-133 atom? Why is the number ...
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1answer
69 views

(Constant) Value Of Gravitational Pull $g$ Of Earth [closed]

I want to know How the value of $g$ was found and what experiments did Newton conduct to land upon the value that we use, which is 9.8 m/s^2. I tried to search for it but I couldn't find much ...
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1answer
48 views

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

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 ...
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1answer
91 views

Which came first - definition of wave or wave equation? [closed]

In an interview, I was asked to define what a wave is. I replied that it was a sort of disturbance which propagated. Then he asked how I could identify what a wave would be like. I said that the ...
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0answers
20 views

Historical costs of nuclear magnetic resonance experiments

I was wondering how the cost of magnetic resonance experiments have changed over time. Not too long ago they didn't exist, now there are whole centres that do nothing else. Does this mean they're ...
10
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5answers
1k views

Do the LIGO observations constitute proof of a black hole merger, and what happened to the black holes?

Information says that the gravitational waves, recently detected by LIGO, correspond (according to Einstein theory equations) to the effect of two black holes merging (with the masses of both black ...
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2answers
190 views

Velocity selector and charge to mass ratio of an electron

I recently read that J.J. Thompson used a velocity selector to find the charge to mass ratio of an electron. Having learnt the principle behind the velocity selector, I see no relation between these ...
0
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1answer
84 views

When were quarks discovered?

I know this sounds stupid. Especially to those of you who are actual physicists. I am a 7th grade above-level student who knows a little bit more that the basics of physics. I have recently discovered ...
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2answers
195 views

Bohr on wholeness?

I vaguely remember that it was Bohr who insisted that in a quantum experiment the whole experimental situation (but excluding the classical preparation and detection devices) must be considered as a ...
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1answer
67 views