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

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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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67 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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38 views

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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147 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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92 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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52 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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61 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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38 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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28 views

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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50 views

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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278 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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268 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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67 views

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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140 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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29 views

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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104 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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13 views

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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143 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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129 views

What are the original papers on the hydrogen spectral lines?

I am trying to find original sources for 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 ...
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39 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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65 views

Reference for Kirchhoff's Circuit Laws

Does anyone know the reference where Gustav Kirchhoff published his famous circuit laws?
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138 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 $U$, ...
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65 views

Why wasn't the theory that light's velocity depended on its source very popular?

Before special relativity, it was believed that light having a specific velocity meant it had to travel through something. My question is, why wasn't the idea that light depended on its source very ...
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217 views

The role of anharmonic oscillator(s) in Heisenberg's 1925 paper

I am talking about the most famous paper of Heisenberg, which I know from the translation of van der Waerden (Sources in Quantum mechanics, North Holland, 1967). After introducing matrix mechanics ...
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1answer
525 views

Did Einstein plagiarize Poincare? [closed]

http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/esp_einstein.htm This site makes such claims including: Jules Henri Poincaré (1854 - 1912) was a great scientist who made a significant contribution to special ...
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What was the motivation behind the work formula?

Surely there must be a reason we decided to use this as a metric for mechanical energy.How was it developed and what made it more acceptable than other work formula candidates (Like force over time, ...
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398 views

Was Leverrier-Adams prediction of Neptune a lucky coincidence?

According to historians both Adams and Leverrier used Bode's law to guess the distance to Neptune, which led to a vast overestimation of its orbital period (Adams - 227 years, Le Verrier - 218 years, ...
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130 views

Why Newton wanted lines to be generated by continued motion of points rather than by apposition of parts?

The following passage has been extracted from the Newton's (John Stewart's English translated version) "Sir Issac Newton's two Treatises: Of the Quadrature of Curves, and Analysis by equations of an ...
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487 views

Why was the Stark effect discovered much later than the Zeeman effect?

This is strange. The Zeeman effect involves the magnetic field. The Stark effect involves the electric field. In the course of classical electrodynamics, we get the impression that for many physical ...
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183 views

How did people discover the conservation of mechanical energy?

I want to write about the history of energy, and am focusing on mechanical energy at the moment. My question is: Can I attribute the conservation of mechanical energy to the power of maths, ...
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458 views

Do we have a deeper understanding of Fermat's Principle?

Fermat's principle says that light travels between two points along the path that requires least time as compared to other nearby paths. But why this is so? Why can't light follow other paths? How ...
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127 views

Why Aristotle made mistake about motions law? [closed]

Hi I was studying Aristotle motions law and comparing them with Newton. He states that heavier body fall faster than slow ones. I really can't understand how he could committed such a mistake...I mean ...
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132 views

Was quantum mechanics made to fit the Bell violations or they just happen to fit them?

Entangled bipartite states can violate the CHSH inequality upto $2\sqrt{2}$ with suitable measurements. Is it that in nature we don't witness violation of CHSH more than this and quantum mechanics ...
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74 views

Books on Faraday, Maxwell

Can you recommend a/some good book(s) on Faraday for the lay person? In particular, in relation to his 'Experimental Researches in Electricity'. Also, any books explaining how Maxwell explained ...
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552 views

Is John Nash's “Interesting Equation” really interesting?

As recently mentioned in the news, before his passing, John Nash worked on general relativity. According to the linked article John Nash's work is available online from his webpage. His work is ...
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How did Newton figure out the law of gravity? [duplicate]

How did Newton figure out the law of gravity? I know there are two other questions answering the same question but I did not understand anything from the answers Is there a third way of knowing how ...
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1answer
438 views

How did Schrödinger come up with his equation? [duplicate]

So all of the people who studied QM know the famous Schrödinger equation. I have read that it was not derived, but it is a postulate; something that is just real. Some people have tried to explain ...
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1k views

How did Newton find out gravity is proportional to the product of two masses? [duplicate]

I am going to ask a really stupid question here. It is a very well known fact that gravity is inversely proportional to the distance squared between two masses. I understand how he arrived at this ...
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108 views

Maxwell, speed of light and the electric permittivity and magnetic constants

When Maxwell found that the already-measured speed of light could also be derived from the already-measured electric and magnetic constants, what were the electric and magnetic constants measured to ...
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53 views

Franck-Hertz experiment what transition takes place?

For the Franck-Hertz experiment there is a voltage drop at $4.9\rm\,V$. What transition does this represent in the mercury? Looking at the energy levels it seems to be from the ground to the 2nd ...
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144 views

Resource on history of acoustics

Shortly: I am looking for a good resource (article, book, chapter in a book, introduction in an article...) about history of acoustics, I will be glad for any recommendations. By acoustics I mean the ...
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210 views

Mass and distance of the bodies of the solar system?

This might be a bit of a historical question in nature. Obviously given that we know the constant G, the mass of the sun, and the distance between a solar body and the sun we can calculate it's mass. ...
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116 views

What was the improvement that Maxwell did to the electromagnetic field equations and why?

What was the improvement that Maxwell did to the electromagnetic field equations and why? I understand that he combined the main equations so that you could get a wave equation for the vectors of $\...
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Alternatives to the neutrino in the beta spectrum?

It is well known that the neutrino appeared to explain the power distribution in the beta decay spectrum. (see PSE) What other explanations candidates were available? It is stated that the ...
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1answer
277 views

Blackbody cavity relationship between energy of oscillators and EM radiation

This question is based on Planck's view of blackbody radiation in a cavity. Here is a quote from here: ...where $\langle E \rangle$ is the average energy of the oscillators present on the walls of ...
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1answer
181 views

Planck's postulate for oscillators or for light?

I know that Planck originally postulated that the energy of an oscillator in a black body was quantised to $E=nh\nu$ but did he know at the time that this meant the energy of light was also quantised (...
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1answer
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Was Nikola Tesla right about his ether theory?

There are a lot of articles on the net that mention Nikola Tesla's ether (aether) theories, such as this quote: Only the existence of a field of force can account for the motions of the bodies ...
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1answer
486 views

Understanding Millikan's oil-drop experiment

This is quoted from A.P. French's Newtonian Mechanicsabout Millikan's oil-drop experiment: The droplets randomly produced in a mist of oil vapor are of various sizes. The ones that Millikan found ...
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5answers
232 views

Why is charge of the electron negative?

How did scientists figure out that the charge of the electron was indeed negative? I know how the cathode ray tube experiment works, but how did Thompson know that the plate that the cathode ray beam ...
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450 views

How did Planck derive his formula $E=hf$?

Some time ago I asked my quantum physics lecturer the question: How did Planck derive his formula, the Planck–Einstein relation $$E=hf$$ with constant of proportionality $h$, the Planck ...