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

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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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95 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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24 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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55 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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48 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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24 views

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

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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How did Galileo discover the law of inertia? [migrated]

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 ...
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3k views

Were 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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52 views

Secrets of Alexander Markovich Polyakov [closed]

I just became aware that this guy is a real genius. I tried looking on Wikipedia for some details about his life and to find out about the process and history behind some of his works especially ...
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478 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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26 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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77 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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337 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 ...
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45 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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51 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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Why is second the duration of exactly 9192631770 periods of radiations?

Why is a second equal to the duration of 9192631770 periods of radiation corresponding to the transition between two hyperfine levels of the ground state of the caesium-133 atom? Why is the number of ...
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55 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
45 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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73 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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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 ...
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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
104 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 ...
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1answer
59 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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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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How is father of physics appointed? [closed]

I've tried Google, but couldn't figured out exactly whether its Newton, Einstein or Galileo. What is the criteria for appointment of father for a particular subject?
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52 views

Earnshaw's Theorem and Plum Pudding

I'm trying to understand what Thompson's motivation for his Plum-pudding model was. He chose the nucleus to be a sphere of uniform charge because it was mathematically nice, and chose the charge to be ...
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How did people think of the universe before Hubble? [closed]

Did they think the universe had always existed? And was there even any serious scientific inquiry into the question, or was it pure speculation?
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114 views

Did Newton conduct any experiments to find something called momentum, or was he such a great genius that he was able to spot it intuitively?

I wanted to go to the depth of the discovery of classical mechanics, instead of just reading, accepting and learning things. Now my question is not a single question, but it can answer many of my ...
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86 views

Historical vs modern presentation of special relativity

I have noticed that historical or brief introductions of special relativity will discuss it in terms of inertial frames and postulates: Principle of Relativity - (from Einstein's 1905 paper) "the ...
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36 views

How was the “vibrating string” studied?

The vibrating string is used to derive a lot of theory regarding strings, such as the theory about harmonics. However, since the string movement and specifically the phenomenon of harmonics seems ...
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59 views

What are the reasons for accepting Coulomb's law? [duplicate]

I read the Coulomb's first memoir on Electricity and Magnetism (Louis L. Bucciarelli english translated version), and found it to contain only three trials (as complained by many) to reach the ...
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37 views

Experimental Bases for Schrodinger Equation and Matrix Mechanics

I am curious about the motivation for developing the Schrodinger equation (SE), and its subsequent acceptance. Are the primary experimental findings that led to the development of the SE: 1) the ...
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42 views

Reading about how Einstein ended up with GR [closed]

I would like to learn about the road that Einstein's train-of-thought traveled from special relativity to general :). I am also interested in dead ends and stuff. Can someone recommend articles, ...
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What is the origin of the naming convention for the various branches in vibration-rotational spectroscopy?

In vibration-rotational spectroscopy, the different spectral lines are grouped into branches for different changes in the total angular momentum, i.e. $$ \begin{array}{rrrrrr} & \mathrm{O} & ...
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History of Renormalization Group

I want to study from an historical point of view the renormalization group (starting from statistical mechanics). Are there any historical (but also technical) books about this? Thanks.
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245 views

Why is “dark matter” theory accepted? Why wasn't general relativity rejected?

Dark matter was made up to account for unexplained effects such as gravitational lensing, the speed of expansion of the universe, or the rate of rotation of certain galaxies. However, as Feynman ...
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220 views

Doppler effect of matter waves

We all know that the relativistic mass of a moving object in Special relativity increases for an observer who is measuring it for a moving object. We also know the the concept of particle-wave ...
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152 views

What is the origin of the Maxwell's wheel? [closed]

Tried to find it online, but nothing. Every refers to it and that it's named after the famous James Clerk Maxwell (of the maxwell electromagnetic laws and some other things) but it's like the ...
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123 views

Le Sage's Theory of Gravitation, is “drag” the only reason why this theory fails? [closed]

Le Sage's Theory of Gravitation was originally proposed allready 1690 by Nicolas Fatio, and has ever since been studied by remarkable scientists; Leonhard Eluer once remarked that it was "infinitely ...
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How do we know that the rate at which a body loses heat is proportional to the difference between its temperature and that of its environment?

Did someone do an experiment, or was that fact derived from other ideas we had about how the world works?
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111 views

Proof for quantized angular momentum [duplicate]

In Bohr's model, Bohr stated that the angular momentum of the electron is quantized and stated that $$L=\frac{nh}{2\pi}$$ So what is the proof for that equation or, in other words, how did he derive ...
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Have hypothetical particles with gravitational mass unequal to their inertial mass been proposed in the past, e.g. as candidates for dark matter?

This is a question about history. To my understanding the equivalence of intertial and gravitational mass for all known particles is a weird empirical coincidence that has been confirmed to high ...
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98 views

Who told us how to measure torque?

We all know that force and torque are physical quantities which we have defined according to our purpose of work. Now we are all aware that Newton's Second Law from his Laws of Motion states how to ...
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Detection of the He-nuclei in the historical Rutherford scattering experiment

Which method did Rutherford use to detect the Helium nuclei in his scattering experiment?
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133 views

George Green's derivation of Poisson's equation

I was reading George Green's An Essay on the Application of Mathematical Analysis to the Theories of Electricity and Magnetism, and I got confused on one step in his derivation of Poisson's Equation. ...
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105 views

Original papers on Hydrogen spectral lines

I am trying to find original experiments that had observed spectral lines from hydrogen or other gases. I am looking into experiments that motivated Niels Bohr to write his ideas on the hydrogen atom, ...
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38 views

How did experiments affect the development of quantum mechanics? [closed]

What were some of the major experiments that helped to develop Quantum Mechanics? I've read about the Stern-Gerlach experiment and double-slit experiment. But what role did experiments play? Did they ...
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57 views

Reference for Kirchhoff's Circuit Laws

Does anyone know the reference where Gustav Kirchhoff published his famous circuit laws?
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135 views

Which problem is Oppenheimer working on in this picture? [closed]

Does anybody recognize the equations on the blackboard? Above his hand, with the $\gamma_k$ term and its complex conjugate, it looks like a written out matrix representation of a Hamiltonian $U$, ...