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Questions tagged [history]

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

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48 views

When did we first observe annihilation of antimatter?

Firstly, when did we actually observe this process? (I assume we have but I may be wrong about that as well.) Secondly, did we expect it to happen, or not?
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1answer
53 views

John Dalton's temperature scale? [closed]

Could some one give me a brief explanation of what Dalton's temperature scale is? I have tried to refer to understand this scale but there are not that much information out there in the internet. ...
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3answers
56 views

Source of “Physics is solved” quote [closed]

I have a vague memory of some prominent scientist in the time just before quantum mechanics got going bragging that physics was solved except for a few edge cases and some slightly more precise ...
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0answers
32 views

How on Earth did Ampere come up with Ampere's circuital law? [migrated]

When I asked for proof of Ampere's circuital law I learned that this law itself is taken as an axiom. Okay I just need to know how did he come up with such a law? how to confirm that result ...
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0answers
49 views

How did Henry Kater measure distances down one part in $10^5$?

Wikipedia says that in 1817, Henry Kater was able to measure distances accurately enough to get at least five significant figures in a measurement of $g,$ suggesting that he could measure a distances ...
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1answer
46 views

How was the electron in Rutherford's model producing a continuous spectrum and not a line spectrum?

How was the electron in Rutherford's model producing a continuous spectrum and not a line spectrum? What is the logical thinking behind that it will produce a continuous spectrum?
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0answers
35 views

When and how was the need for symmetry in the stress-energy tensor first realized

This question is somewhat historic. Let $\Theta_{\mu\nu}$ denote the canonical stress-energy tensor of some matter field $\psi$ in special relativity. It is often stated that the reason why we want ...
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2answers
43 views

How was the value of vacuum permittivity originally found?

The vacuum permittivity appears originally in Maxwell's equations, used to describe electric fields. The permeability of vacuum was defined using Ampere's force law (itself derived from Biot-Savart ...
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0answers
66 views

What new physics was discovered or needed as a result of the Manhattan Project? [closed]

I recently got into a discussion with colleagues regarding quantum mechanics and the Manhattan Project. My colleague (not a physicist) conjectured that it was mostly an engineering feat with little ...
3
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1answer
94 views

Did Eratosthenes make his measurements on the same day?

Erasthosenes measured the circumference of the earth on the summer solstice by observing the sun at Alexandria and Syene. Was this done on the same day in one year or on the same day in two ...
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2answers
120 views

Was there ever a tautology that was first discovered as a physical law? [closed]

Has there ever been a discovery of a law that was first identified as a physical law (law of nature), and was later found out to be a mathematical result (tautology) of physical laws that were already ...
2
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1answer
77 views

'Harmony of the Spheres' or 'Harmony of the World' - is it debunked? [closed]

I sincerely apologise for this vague question but I'm writing an essay for my music class on musical harmony and it's historical origins. I came across the Pythagorean notion of Harmony of the Spheres ...
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1answer
67 views

Einstein Elevator thought experiment

Were there any background theories for Einstein's elevator thought experiment which developed the equivalence principle. Can Newton's equivalence principle (the equality of inertial and gravitational ...
2
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3answers
210 views

What is the publication through which Zinn-Justin published what has come to be known as the “Zinn-Justin equation”?

does anybody know which publication contains the introduction of what has come to known as the Zinn-Justin equation?
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1answer
41 views

Profile of a platinum-iridium meter bar

The former meter standard, platinum-iridium meter bar, had a specific cross section somewhat resembling mixed variant of letters "X" and "H" with serifs (Image source): What was the reasoning behind ...
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1answer
60 views

What was Newton's view of theory of matter? [closed]

Did Newton believe in infinitely small particle theory of matter? Because he talks about axis of rotation, which is locus of the centers of the circles of the rotating body and my teacher said ...
3
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1answer
56 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 ...
3
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4answers
65 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 ...
2
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1answer
100 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
24 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
88 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, ...
8
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1answer
118 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
27 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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1answer
72 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
70 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
125 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
89 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 ...
3
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1answer
35 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
30 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
47 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 \...
2
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3answers
104 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
34 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
58 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
46 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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0answers
30 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
99 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
94 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 ...
3
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0answers
79 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
827 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?
3
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1answer
44 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
2k 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
93 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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0answers
53 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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0answers
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
102 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
44 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
29 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
296 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?