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Questions tagged [history]

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

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25 views

Kepler papers (2-body problem) [closed]

Where can I find papers by Kepler? I am looking for his solution to the two-body problem.
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18 views

a question about the history of maxwell equation [duplicate]

Did maxwell equations exist before maxwell ? i mean if ampere's law was defined mathematically before maxwell $$ \oint B.dl = \mu I $$ or just maxwell invented the equations
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0answers
63 views

What actually led Feynman to the Path Integral? [duplicate]

It is commonly known that Feynman's path integral was inspired by Dirac's observation that the kernel is proportional to $\exp{\dfrac{i}{\hbar} S}$. It was Feynman, however, who had the idea of ...
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2answers
36 views

When was Coulomb's constant made/established?

Charles-Augustin de Coulomb lived from 14 June 1736 – 23 August 1806. Coulomb's constant is $$k_{\text e}=\alpha\frac{\hbar c}{e^2},$$ a form of Planck's constant is included, but Max Planck lived ...
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1answer
52 views

Is there a historical name for an inductor that starts with the letter $L$? (RL circuits) [closed]

Why is a circuit with a resistor and inductor called an RL circuit and not an RI circuit? Was there a now-obsolete name for an inductor that started with the letter $L$?
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0answers
149 views

Equivalence principle before Einstein [migrated]

In a German interview some physicists were asked, what they would ask Einstein, if he were alive today. One of them wanted to know how Einstein came up with the idea of the equivalence principle, that ...
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2answers
81 views

How did Goudsmit and Uhlenbeck figure out the electron has spin $\frac{\hbar}{2}$?

Most stuff I read online says that to explain the Anomalous Zeeman Effect they had to assume the electron's gyromagnetic ratio is $\frac{-e}{m}$ instead of the classical $\frac{-e}{2m}$. But, since ...
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1answer
63 views

How did Newton use his theory without the value of $G$? [duplicate]

I know that Newton extensively used his theory of gravity to calculate many things, but how did he do so without actually knowing the value of the gravitational constant $G$? Did he estimate it ...
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0answers
42 views

What is magnetic field?

http://www.damtp.cam.ac.uk/user/tong/em/el2.pdf I'm reading the article above and have a question in "3.5.1 A History of Magnetostatics". I wonder what magnetic field is. So I started reading 3.5.1 ...
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1answer
78 views

What motivated Einstein's postulate on the speed of light? [closed]

I know that there are several experiments (conducted after Einstein's formulation of Special Relativity) that confirm to some extend Einstein's postulate that nothing can travel faster than light. But ...
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4answers
70 views

How did Coulomb measure charges?

I was studying some Electrodynamics when suddenly this question popped into my mind : The whole of Electrodynamics is based on the Coulomb's Law. There is no derivation of this law because it is an ...
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1answer
57 views

What paper experimentally ruled out the original Peccei-Quinn axion?

Could someone please refer me to the paper that ruled out Peccei-Quinn axions experimentally. Most literature mentions this happening but doesn't refer to the original paper where it was proven so.
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0answers
109 views

What is novel about the analysis showing that Mercury is “closer” to Earth than Venus?

Why is the recent analysis showing that Mercury and not Venus is on average the closest planet considered new? This should surely come as no surprise to anyone who has ever looked at a plot of the ...
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0answers
41 views

Faradays constant determination? [closed]

I am a bit confused on how faraday determined his constant. So I’ve been taught that he realized that if you sent a certain amount of charge (96485 C), then one mole (or some fraction of that based on ...
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0answers
74 views

Does the “O” in this google doodle for Olga Ladyzhenskaya have anything to do with her work, or is it completely fanciful? [closed]

Google Doodle celebrates mathematician Olga Ladyzhenskaya She was famous for fluid dynamics and partial differential equations, both of which are beyond my pay grade. And she worked on the Navier-...
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1answer
77 views

Quick questions about second quantization?

What were the historical problems that the second quantization solved? My current understanding is that in re-normalisation one splits the result into a finite and a divergent part and only keeps ...
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1answer
48 views

How do we know how much charge is in an object?

It's a little science history question but I really wonder how did peoples measured the amount of charge in an ball or something or like in coulombs case how did he measured the electrical force ...
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1answer
76 views

What would have happened if electron was considered positive?

We always keep on telling that current flows opposite to electron, since electron is negatively charged. And old people didn't knew, that it is electron which actually flows.. So, now if we correct ...
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1answer
67 views

Mass-energy equivalence - old notation

Einstein originally gave the formula as $$M = \mu + \frac{E_0}{c^2}.\tag{17}$$ In which $\mu$ was the mass of the system. Today, we more commonly get taught that the energy is in relation to the ...
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3answers
106 views

Maxwell's equations without special relativity

If Maxwell's equations were around long before special relativity, and yet they don't make sense without special relativity (like if you think of a moving charge next to an electrically neutral wire ...
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2answers
133 views

History of Principle of Least Action [closed]

I am interested in how Lagrange came up with Principle of Least Action. Is it derived from some experimental data or by mathematical deduction? And how? Either seems hard. I hope this might ...
5
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2answers
121 views

Ernst Mach vs. Einstein

In the Ernst Mach wikipedia page, Einstein seems to be influenced by Ernst Mach. But it says In 1930, [Einstein] stated that "it is justified to consider Mach as the precursor of the general theory ...
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2answers
7k views

Why didn't Lorentz conclude that no object can go faster than light?

Based on Lorentz factor $\gamma = \frac{1}{\sqrt {1-\frac{v^2}{c^2}}}$ it is easy to see $v < c$ since otherwise $\gamma$ would be either undefined or a complex number, which is non-physical. Also, ...
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1answer
61 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
63 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
61 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
53 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
49 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
39 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
52 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
71 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
100 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
121 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 ...
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1answer
84 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
85 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 ...
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3answers
217 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
48 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
61 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 ...
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1answer
61 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
80 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
110 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
25 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
142 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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3answers
130 views

Where did the idea that there *might* be magnetic monopoles come from? [duplicate]

I know that we declare that there exist no magnetic monopoles. I see it all the time in my E&M class. $$\vec{\nabla}\cdot\vec{B}=0$$ So there exists no point for $\vec{B}$ to originate from and no ...
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1answer
150 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
33 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
74 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
85 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
133 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
92 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 ...