This unique book is published as the first of a three-part set for Newtonian scholars, historians of science, philosophers of science and others interested in Newtonian physics.
All Titles:1.Newton and Modern Physics
The book presents a selection of his most important scientific papers. They are preceded with a series of introductory essays, contributed by scientists and historians, specialists of Stueckelberg’s achievements and time. These essays deal with the scientific context and the issues of the various topics that Stueckelberg tackled in his scientific career and serve as an enlightening complement to the reprinted papers. The volume also contains Stueckelberg’s concise biography and an exhaustive list of his publications. It ambitions to provide an authoritative source gathering in a single place all the material needed to assess the scientific achievements of one of the most important, albeit somehow overlooked, scientists of 20th century.
This unique book is published as the second of a three-part set for Newtonian scholars, historians of science, philosophers of science and others interested in Newtonian physics.
All Titles:1.Newton and Modern Physics
This reductive view of physics is popular among some physicists. Yet, there are other physicists who argue this is an oversimplified and that the relationship of elementary particle physics to these other domains is one of emergence. Several objections have been raised from physics against proposals for emergence (e.g., that genuinely emergent phenomena would violate the standard model of elementary particle physics, or that genuine emergence would disrupt the lawlike order physics has revealed). Many of these objections rightly call into question typical conceptions of emergence found in the philosophy literature.
This book explores whether physics points to a reductive or an emergent structure of the world and proposes a physics-motivated conception of emergence that leaves behind many of the problematic intuitions shaping the philosophical conceptions. Examining several detailed case studies reveal that the structure of physics and the practice of physics research are both more interesting than is captured in this reduction/emergence debate. The results point to stability conditions playing a crucial though underappreciated role in the physics of emergence. This contextual emergence has thought-provoking consequences for physics and beyond, and will be of interest to physics students, researchers, as well as those interested in physics.
As a young scholar William dazzled a Victorian society enthralled with the seductive authority and powerful beauty of scientific discovery. At a time when no one really understood heat, light, electricity, or magnetism, Thomson found key connections between them, laying the groundwork for two of the cornerstones of 19th century science -- the theories of electromagnetism and thermodynamics.
Charismatic, confident, and boyishly handsome, Thomson was not a scientist who labored quietly in a lab, plying his trade in monkish isolation. When scores of able tinkerers were flummoxed by their inability to adapt overland telegraphic cables to underwater, intercontinental use, Thomson took to the high seas with new equipment that was to change the face of modern communications. And as the worldâ€™s navies were transitioning from wooden to iron ships, they looked to Thomson to devise a compass that would hold true even when surrounded by steel.
Gaining fame and wealth through his inventive genius, Thomson was elevated to the peerage by Queen Victoria for his many achievements. He was the first scientist ever to be so honored. Indeed, his name survives in the designation of degrees Kelvin, the temperature scale that begins with absolute zero, the point at which atomic motion ceases and there is a complete absence of heat. Sir William Thomson, Lord Kelvin, was Great Britain's unrivaled scientific hero.
But as the century drew to a close and Queen Victoria's reign ended, this legendary scientific mind began to weaken. He grudgingly gave way to others with a keener, more modern vision. But the great physicist did not go quietly. With a ready pulpit at his disposal, he publicly proclaimed his doubts over the existence of atoms. He refused to believe that radioactivity involved the transmutation of elements. And believing that the origin of life was a matter beyond the expertise of science and better left to theologians, he vehemently opposed the doctrines of evolution, repeatedly railing against Charles Darwin. Sadly, this pioneer of modern science spent his waning years arguing that the Earth and the Sun could not be more than 100 million years old. And although his early mathematical prowess had transformed our understanding of the forces of nature, he would never truly accept the revolutionary changes he had helped bring about, and it was others who took his ideas to their logical conclusion.
In the end Thomson came to stand for all that was old and complacent in the world of 19th century science. Once a scientific force to be reckoned with, a leader to whom others eagerly looked for answers, his peers in the end left him behind -- and then meted out the ultimate punishment for not being able to keep step with them. For while they were content to bury him in Westminster Abbey alongside Isaac Newton, they used his death as an opportunity to write him out of the scientific record, effectively denying him his place in history. Kelvinâ€™s name soon faded from the headlines, his seminal ideas forgotten, his crucial contributions overshadowed.
Destined to become the definitive biography of one of the most important figures in modern science, Degrees Kelvin unravels the mystery of a life composed of equal parts triumph and tragedy, hubris and humility, yielding a surprising and compelling portrait of a complex and enigmatic man.
The book has been written for all that are genuinely interested in culture. It is well referenced and illustrated, and suitable for the general public, students and academics who are interested in bridging the sciences and humanities in today's era of specialization.Contents: Introduction: Outline of the PhysicsNewtonian Period: ReligionPopularization of Classical Newtonian PhysicsPhilosophy and PoliticsImaginative ArtsModern and Postmodern Period: Philosophy, Politics, and ReligionPopularization of Modern and Postmodern PhysicsModernism and Postmodernism
The Top Ten are:
1.Isaac Newton (1642-1727)
2.Niels Bohr (1885-1962)
3.Galileo Galilei (1564-1642)
4.Albert Einstein (1879-1955)
5.James Clerk Maxwell (1831-1879)
6.Michael Faraday (1791-1867)
7.Marie Curie (1867-1934)
8.Richard Feynman (1918-1988)
9.Ernest Rutherford (1871-1937)
10.Paul Dirac (1902-1984)
Each of these figures has made a huge contribution to physics. Some are household names, others more of a mystery, but in each case there is an opportunity to combine a better understanding of the way that each of them has advanced our knowledge of the universe with an exploration of their often unusual, always interesting lives.
Whether we are with Curie, patiently sorting through tons of pitchblende to isolate radium or feeling Bohr's frustration as once again Einstein attempts to undermine quantum theory, the combination of science and biography humanizes these great figures of history and makes the Physics itself more accessible.
In exploring the way the list has been built the authors also put physics in its place amongst the sciences and show how it combines an exploration of the deepest and most profound questions about life and the universe with practical applications that have transformed our lives. The book is structured chronologically, allowing readers to follow the development of scientific knowledge over more than 400 years, showing clearly how this key group of individuals has fundamentally altered our understanding of the world around us.
When a young boy tried to visualize what a beam of light would look like by riding alongside it at the same speed, he began thinking along lines that eventually changed our views of space and time.
When a student caught hay fever and went to recover on Heligoland, he started a major revolution in physics. These are but just some of the stories covered in this entertaining book that deals with the history of physics from the end of the 19th-century to about 1930.
Quips, Quotes and Quanta (2nd Edition) is unique in that it contains anecdotes on physicists creating new ideas. Often the thinking of the creators of what is now called “modern physics” is revealed through quotes. Thematic and biographical in nature, this book also includes many personal incidents.
This second edition has been revised to include new material: a prologue, epilogue, glossary and chronology, and photographs as well as additional quotes and anecdotes.
Humans have been trying to understand the physical universe since antiquity. Aristotle had one vision (the realm of the celestial spheres is perfect), and Einstein another (all motion is relativistic). More often than not, these different understandings begin with a simple drawing, a pre-mathematical picture of reality. Such drawings are a humble but effective tool of the physicist's craft, part of the tradition of thinking, teaching, and learning passed down through the centuries. This book uses drawings to help explain fifty-one key ideas of physics accessibly and engagingly. Don Lemons, a professor of physics and author of several physics books, pairs short, elegantly written essays with simple drawings that together convey important concepts from the history of physical science.
Lemons proceeds chronologically, beginning with Thales' discovery of triangulation, the Pythagorean monocord, and Archimedes' explanation of balance. He continues through Leonardo's description of “earthshine” (the ghostly glow between the horns of a crescent moon), Kepler's laws of planetary motion, and Newton's cradle (suspended steel balls demonstrating by their collisions that for every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction). Reaching the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, Lemons explains the photoelectric effect, the hydrogen atom, general relativity, the global greenhouse effect, Higgs boson, and more. The essays place the science of the drawings in historical context—describing, for example, Galileo's conflict with the Roman Catholic Church over his teaching that the sun is the center of the universe, the link between the discovery of electrical phenomena and the romanticism of William Wordsworth, and the shadow cast by the Great War over Einstein's discovery of relativity.
Readers of Drawing Physics with little background in mathematics or physics will say, “Now I see, and now I understand.”
If we had a wishing-rug or some sort of spare-time car that could transport us at will to any place and time, we might visit the scientists of every age, see them at work, listen to their discussions, and even take a hand in the proceedings. The wishing-rug is not available but the literature of science will serve the purpose for anyone who will do the necessary searching, reading, and thinking. Unfortunately, some of that literature is decidedly inaccessible. To meet the difficulty this book has been written in the hope of bringing some of the most important passages of the literature of science within the reach of everyone.
Every past of the vast edifice of science is necessarily the work of some human being, and most of us become more interested in the building, and are able to understand and appreciate it better when we know who were the architects and builders and when, how, and why they did their work. The story of science is a noble epic of the struggle of man from ignorance toward knowledge and wisdom and toward the mastery of nature and of himself.
One purpose of science is to systematize experience, and a knowledge of the story of science has helped many in that process of organization. This book, therefore, offers the reader a cordial invitation to embark on a tour of visits with great scientists to learn from them the parts they played in the advancement of science and of the human race. Here is a treasure-house of fascinating information for all who are interested in the world around us, and the history of man's understanding of it.
In the spring of 1911, Albert Einstein moved with his wife and two sons to Prague, the capital of Bohemia, where he accepted a post as a professor of theoretical physics. Though he intended to make Prague his home, he lived there for just sixteen months, an interlude that his biographies typically dismiss as a brief and inconsequential episode. Einstein in Bohemia is a spellbinding portrait of the city that touched Einstein's life in unexpected ways—and of the gifted young scientist who left his mark on the science, literature, and politics of Prague.
Michael Gordin's narrative is a masterfully crafted account of a person encountering a particular place at a specific moment in time. Despite being heir to almost a millennium of history, Einstein's Prague was a relatively marginal city within the sprawling Austro-Hungarian Empire. Yet Prague, its history, and its multifaceted culture changed the trajectories of Einstein's personal and scientific life. It was here that his marriage unraveled, where he first began thinking seriously about his Jewish identity, and where he embarked on the project of general relativity. Prague was also where he formed lasting friendships with novelist Max Brod, Zionist intellectual Hugo Bergmann, physicist Philipp Frank, and other important figures.
Einstein in Bohemia sheds light on this transformative period of Einstein's life and career, and brings vividly to life a beguiling city in the last years of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
A compelling blend of physics, biography, and the history of science, Einstein and the Quantum shares the untold story of how Einstein--not Max Planck or Niels Bohr--was the driving force behind early quantum theory. It paints a vivid portrait of the iconic physicist as he grappled with the apparently contradictory nature of the atomic world, in which its invisible constituents defy the categories of classical physics, behaving simultaneously as both particle and wave. And it demonstrates how Einstein's later work on the emission and absorption of light, and on atomic gases, led directly to Erwin Schrödinger's breakthrough to the modern form of quantum mechanics. The book sheds light on why Einstein ultimately renounced his own brilliant work on quantum theory, due to his deep belief in science as something objective and eternal.
Coverage offers a deep investigation into the technical aspects behind the theory and extends in time the notion of quantum revolution. It also presents a full-fledged discussion of the combinatorial part of Planck’s theory and places emphasis on the epistemological role of mathematical practices. By painstakingly reconstructing both the electromagnetic and the combinatorial part of Planck’s black-body theory, the author shows how some apparently merely technical resources, such as the Fourier series, effectively contributed to shape the final form of Planck’s theory.
For decades, historians have debated the conditions of possibility of Max Planck’s discovery as a paradigmatic example of scientific revolution. In particular, the use of combinatorics, which eventually paved the way for the introduction of the quantum hypothesis, has remained a puzzle for experts. This book presents a fresh perspective on this important debate that will appeal to historians and philosophers of science.
The book includes, for example, Ørsted's account of his revolutionary experiments in electromagnetism. In 1820, he discovered that a compass needle deflects from magnetic north when an electric current is switched on or off in a nearby wire. This showed that electricity and magnetism were related phenomena, a finding that laid the foundation for the theory of electromagnetism and for research that later created such technologies as radio, television, and fiber optics. The unit of magnetic field strength was named the Ørsted in his honor.
Selections here also show the extraordinary breadth of Ørsted's interests, which range through a long and prolific career from the study of plant alkaloids and the compression of fluids to the nature of light and the "natural science" of beauty. The writings are taken from scientific papers, Ørsted's correspondence, and reports of the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters. The book will not only draw long overdue attention to Ørsted's own work but will also shed new light on the nature of scientific study in the nineteenth century.
Originally published in 1998.
The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback and hardcover editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.
The author analyzes the subtle interconnections between scientific and political factors. He shows how politics shaped the evolution of general relativity, even though it is a field with no military applications. He also details how different scientists held quite different views about what “political” meant in their efforts to pursue international cooperation.The narrative examines the specific epistemic features of general relativity that helped create the first official, international scientific society. It answers: Why did relativity bring about this unique result? Was it simply the product of specific actions of particular actors having an illuminated view of international relations in the specific context of the Cold War? Or, was there something in the nature of the field that inspired the actors to pioneer new ways of international cooperation?
The book will be of interest to historians of modern science, historians of international relations, and historians of institutions. It will also appeal to physicists and interested general readers.