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Questions tagged [history]

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

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38 views

Why are partial derivatives necessary when deriving the equation for a vibrating string? [migrated]

AFAIK, partial derivatives made it to the forefront as a result of coming up with an equation for a vibrating string i.e., 1D wave equation. From purely a physical phenomena to math mapping POV: Why ...
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0answers
21 views

Heat Capacity versus Fourier's Law [migrated]

What came first, Fourier's Law, or the definition of heat capacity?
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1answer
38 views

References for Experimental Validation Of Lorentz Force

I am writing the paper that involves the history of Lorentz force and I would very much like to add some specific references that involve experimental validation of Lorentz force. The only one I was ...
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4answers
59 views

In what context is enthalpy a convenient concept?

Internal energy $U$ is clearly an important concept; the first law of thermodynamics states that for an isolated system internal energy is constant $(\Delta U=0)$ and that for a closed system the ...
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1answer
87 views

Why is the Fermi Golden rule called so?

I was studying time dependent perturbation theory and this rule came under the case of constant (weak) perturbations. I understood the rule and the derivation but what I cannot understand is that is ...
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1answer
21 views

X-ray frequency or crystal structure: which was known first?

In the classical Bragg setup, one can determine the distance between crystal layers if the wavelength of a characteristic line is known or the other way round, calculate the distance if the wavelength ...
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1answer
63 views

Lorentz' Derivation of Lorentz force

I have one simple question...can someone point me to the paper where H.A. Lorentz published Lorentz force? I was digging through the usual literature in electromagnetics (Jackson, Griffiths, Thide, ...
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1answer
101 views

Difficulty of numerically solving Einstein equations

The most recent episode of Sean Carroll's podcast is an interview with Kip Thorne, in which it is stated that until somewhat recently it was unclear that it would ever be possible to simulate the ...
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0answers
19 views

Who is credited with the discovery of rolling friction? [closed]

Which physicians discovered and/or contributed at large to what we know of rolling friction today, and what exactly did they contribute?
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13 views

Was Lorentz aware of Le Sage theory? [migrated]

I just wondered if Lorentz was aware of Le Sage theory. Seems like he uses similar math. Is there any direct quote from Lorentz regarding Le Sage gravity?
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1answer
66 views

Contradiction of electromagnetic theory and ether theory with principles of relativity [closed]

What was the contradiction between the electromagnetic theory and relativity that led Einstein to his two postulates? Also, Einstein thought that if ether existed there would exist an absolute frame ...
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1answer
64 views

What will happen to the International Prototype Kilogram? [closed]

The kilogram has been redefined in a way that does not refer to the International Prototype Kilogram. That kind of makes the International Prototype Kilogram useless. So what will happen to it? Can I ...
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1answer
120 views

Schrodinger Equation [duplicate]

I was wondering if anyone knows the origins of how Schrodinger arrived to his equation? And can it be derived from Newtonian mechanics? How did Schrodinger form the equation out of his MIND? I also I ...
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0answers
86 views

Is there an experimental technique for specifically producing Delta minus baryons and clearly detecting the products of their decay?

Formerly I thought that Delta minus baryon was discovered in cosmic rays. However I was mistaken. Wikipedia says that Delta states were "established experimentally at the University of Chicago ...
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1answer
31 views

Transit of Venus and the computation of the Atronomical Unit

I have searched for the computation of the AU. The two best websites I found about it were https://sunearthday.nasa.gov/2012/articles/ttt_75.php How did Halley calculate the distance to the Sun by ...
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0answers
55 views

Doubt regarding “Two New Sciences” by Galileo Galilei

I was reading "Two New Sciences" by Galileo Galilei and therein was a chapter named third day which deals with motion. When I started reading that chapter I eventually came across the theorem 1 ...
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0answers
28 views

Pauli exclusion principle history vs. Schrödinger equation history

Why Pauli's principle of exclusion is dated before Schrödinger's equation, when Pauli didn't know about quantum numbers before Schrödinger?
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0answers
42 views

When was the phrase “beta function” of renormalization first used?

My question is a historical one: when was the phrase "beta function", as it pertains to the renormalization-group equations, used in physics? I am talking about this beta function: $$\beta_g\equiv \...
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3answers
102 views

What was shocking in Einstein's partcile theory of light?

I know that when Einstein proposed the particle theory of light it was revolutionary and shocking for most of physicists and it took years to accept that view. Particle theory had been proposed in the ...
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1answer
32 views

Notion of flux and field lines

I am curious about the origin of electric flux and field lines. -Flux- I am aware of the fact that flux is a mathematical concept, but how did it find its way into physics? Was it just introduced ...
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0answers
48 views

Were passive and active gravitational mass actually ever considered to be different? If yes, why?

Mass produces gravity and is subject to it. It seems impossible to separate the two phenomena and the equivalence of the two forces was stated centuries ago. Wiki considers measuring two different ...
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0answers
32 views

Who first used the terminology of “on-shell” and “off-shell”?

By 1915 Klein and Hilbert dealt with the issue (and I do not claim they were the first). They distinguished between what follows for GR purely from the geometry of spacetime (notably, the first ...
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43 views

Query about a book written by renaissance-era mathematician and astronomer NICOLAUS COPERNICUS (1473–1543)

Is there any downloadable/online readable version of the English translation of the book De revolutionibus orbium coelestium ,the title of whose English translation is ''On the Revolutions of the ...
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0answers
42 views

What is the largest Schrödinger's cat-like experiment ever set up?

I guess largest in this context either means something like the most massive or containing the most states.
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29 views

Non-differential total exact element notation question [duplicate]

I have questions regarding the notation in thermodynamics books of "d bar" (instead of delta) for the non-differential total exact elements like for work $\delta W$. When did it appear? Where are ...
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2answers
97 views

How did Newton know that there is force between two mass? [duplicate]

Newton's Law of Gravitation states: $$F=\frac{GM_1M_2}{r^2}$$ How did he recognize that there is a force between two masses?
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1answer
91 views

How did scientists before Coulomb ensured this fundamental property of magnets? [closed]

Firstly, please note that I am talking about the period BEFORE electricity and magnetism were unified. So I am NOT seeking for answers based on Ampere atomic current model of magnets. I have read the ...
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0answers
77 views

How did we first discover oxygen exists as $\rm O_2$ and not just $\rm O$?

How did we first discover oxygen exists as $\rm O_2$ and not just $\rm O$ ? (similarly hydrogen as $\rm H_2$ and not $\rm H$) I vaguely remember knowing a story about how the chemical formula of ...
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4answers
2k views

Why did Michelson believe the aether was moving?

If a wave moves east towards California the wave-motion would be slower north-south. Is this the kind of way they were thinking about the aether as medium for light, of what was later, by Lorentz, ...
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1answer
202 views

Is it a coincidence that 1 liter water has a mass of 1 kg while 1 cubic meter has 1000 liters of water?

1 Cubic Meter has 1000 liters of liquid. Meter is a unit independent of Kilogram. Then why does 1 liter of water at max density (4°C) have a mass of 1 Kg?Is it a mere coincidence?
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1answer
42 views

Enrico Fermi and neutron interactions

Enrico Fermi and his team were studying neutron absorption and the subsequent gamma ray emissions, in the 1930’s era. They calculated, based on the size of the nucleus and the speed of the neutron, ...
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2answers
1k views

What's the significance of the nickel crystal in the Davisson and Germer experiment?

Davisson and Germer, in 1927, conducted an successful experiment to prove the existence of matter waves. What's the meaning of using the nickel crystal? I mean, why didn't they use any other materials?...
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2answers
90 views

Where did the concept of field come from?

What made scientists start to think about what was previously 'forces-exerted-by' (Newtonian view) to fields (e.g. electric fields and magnetic fields)?
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52 views

Why is equipartition law called a theorem too, in some books? [closed]

In some books, the equipartition law is called a theorem. But a law is an observation, and cannot be proved. On the other hand, a theorem is something established using earlier assertions. So what ...
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1answer
63 views

A sound argument for existence of Americas, along al-Biruni's lines?

In 11-th century, Al-Biruni computed circumference of Earth with high accuracy, and mapped all then-known terrain. He then argued that the unknown part of the globe cannot be all ocean, predicting ...
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22 views

What experiment confirmed the presence of the electric force between two charged particles?

What experiment confirmed the presence of the electric force between two charged particles physically placed at some distance from each other? In that experiment, were the two particles were ...
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2answers
80 views

When were each of our “ultimate fate of the universe” theories widely accepted?

I'm trying to piece together a sort of timeline for the prevailing "ultimate fate of the universe" theories, specifically from the dawn of the twentieth century through today. I know the Big Bang ...
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1answer
42 views

Quantization and wave-particle dualism of light

I'm studying atomic spectras and got puzzled about light-quantization. I'll expose my effort to understand it so far. Blackbody radiation Around the year $1900$ Planck explained blackbody radiation ...
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1answer
28 views

Historic method to produce cophasal illumination before lasers?

In a bunch of old papers, written before lasers, the authors often refer to illumination with the same characteristics as a laser: single spatial mode and temporally lockstep. For example in: On the ...
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1answer
239 views

How to prove Kepler's 3rd law? [duplicate]

How to prove Kepler's 3rd law? How did Kepler proved it? Is it possible to prove the third law without applying Newton's universal law of gravitation?
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1answer
75 views

Where does the proportionality symbol originate from? [closed]

Does anyone know where the proportionality symbol $ \propto $ originates from (historically)? As someone who is eager to learn about the history of physics & mathematics, this question popped ...
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0answers
56 views

Feynman lectures: historical updates?

I'm reading the Feynman Lectures and wonder if there is an overview over the historical Statements such as 12–6 Nuclear forces [...] no one has ever calculated the force between two nuclei Is ...
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1answer
56 views

Apparition of scale invariance

When did "scale invariance" started to be seen as an important concept in the theory of phase transition? Phase transition and critical points started to be investigated in earnest in the middle of ...
1
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1answer
241 views

How did Planck arrive at the idea that energy is quantized? [duplicate]

Max Planck, arguably the leading theoretical Physicist of his day, apparently used of experimental data to formulate his equation for black body radiation, which was a major step in the birth of ...
2
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1answer
52 views

Original Derivations of Euler Equations or Navier-Stokes Equations

I've seen the derivations for both viscous and inviscid momentum balance in fluid flow in courses, but I'm curious as to where the original derivation for the equations now referred to Euler equations ...
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1answer
76 views

Why did physicists in the 1950s and 1960s suspect the weak and EM interactions were at some level the same interaction?

Around the 1950s and 1960s there was a lot of work in particle physics motivated by two issues - finding a workable quantum field model for the weak interaction, and finding a model that unified the ...
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4answers
247 views

How was the Ancient Greek theory of vision disproved?

Ancient Greeks and ancient Indians believed that the way in which vision works is that a beam goes out of the eye and hits an object. Whereas now we know that light reflects off the objects and then ...
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0answers
42 views

Who first noticed that the radiation pressure formula $p=U/c$ agreed with $E=pc$ from special relativity?

Does anyone know behind stories? As it seems that $p=\frac Uc$ was known before the advent of special theory of relativity, (Halliday, Resnick, Walker says that Maxwell derived this.) when $E=pc$ was ...
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1answer
47 views

Proposal of the Virasoro modes and algebra

Hi I am wondering what the first published paper on Virasoro modes was? And what about Virasoro algebra?
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3answers
5k views

How did we 'discover' dark matter? [closed]

I'm an astrophysics student and I've been researching this topic and there is one point that keeps eluding me. How did the scientific community realize that there had to be dark matter in the ...