Selected Philosophical and Scientific Writings

University of Chicago Press
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Though most historians remember her as the mistress of Voltaire, Emilie Du Châtelet (1706–49) was an accomplished writer in her own right, who published multiple editions of her scientific writings during her lifetime, as well as a translation of Newton’s Principia Mathematica that is still the standard edition of that work in French. Had she been a man, her reputation as a member of the eighteenth-century French intellectual elite would have been assured.

In the 1970s, feminist historians of science began the slow work of recovering Du Châtelet’s writings and her contributions to history and philosophy. For this edition, Judith P. Zinsser has selected key sections from Du Châtelet’s published and unpublished works, as well as related correspondence, part of her little-known critique of the Old and New Testaments, and a treatise on happiness that is a refreshingly uncensored piece of autobiography—making all of them available for the first time in English. The resulting volume will recover Châtelet’s place in the pantheon of French letters and culture.

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About the author

Judith P. Zinsser is professor of history and an affiliate in the women’s studies program at Miami University. She is the author of Emilie Du Châtelet: Daring Genius of the Enlightenment.

Isabelle Bour is professor of eighteenth-century English studies at the Sorbonne.

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Additional Information

Publisher
University of Chicago Press
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Published on
Sep 15, 2009
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Pages
456
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ISBN
9780226168081
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Language
English
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Genres
Literary Criticism / European / French
Science / History
Social Science / General
Social Science / Women's Studies
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Hans Christian Ørsted (1777-1851) was one of the leading scientists of the nineteenth century, having played a crucial role in founding electromagnetism. Unfortunately for the English-speaking world, almost all of his research was published in other languages, particularly his native Danish. This book will help to elevate Ørsted to his rightful place in the history of science by finally making his most important scientific works available in English.

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.

This book looks at how Newton's theories can be linked to modern day problems and solutions in physics. Newton created an abstract system of theorizing which has been applied to all aspects of the physical world, however he had difficulties in persuading his contemporaries of its unique merits. A detailed study of Newton's writings, published and unpublished, suggests that he had an almost archetypally powerful mode of thinking guaranteed to produce 'correct' results even in areas of physics where systematic study only began long after his time. Newton and Modern Physics investigates this phenomenon, looking at examples of where Newton's principles have relevance to modern day thinking — the study of Newton's work in both seventeenth century and present-day contexts helps to enhance our understanding of both.

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
2.Newton and the Great World System
3.Newton — Innovation and Controversy Contents: Aspects of the Newtonian MethodologyNewton the ManWavesThe Velocity of LightMass-EnergyQuantum TheoryThe Electric ForceWave-Particle Duality and the Unified Field
Readership: Newtonian scholars, historians of science, philosophers of science and others interested in Newtonian physics.
Keywords: Newton;Newtonian Physics;Velocity of Light;Quantum Theory;Wave-Particle;Mass-EnergyReview:0
In modern physics, various fundamental problems have become topics of ongoing debate. There was the 20th century climb to a Standard Model, still accurate at the highest energy levels obtainable so far. But, since the 1970's, a different approach to physics advocates for theories such as string theory, known for their mathematical elegance, even though they either cannot be verified in data or contradict presently known experimental results. In philosophy of physics, there is a gradually emerging consensus that philosophy of physics and physics somehow contribute to a common enterprise. But, there is little sign of progress toward consensus about the nature of that unity. All the while, it is generally recognized that physics is interdisciplinary. There are, of course, differences in focus. But, implicitly at least, there are no "sharp dividing lines" between physics and philosophy of physics; pure and applied physics; physical chemistry; biophysics; medical physics; history and philosophy of physics; physics and society; physics education; and so on. What, then, is progress in physics? The question here is not about ideal structures, but asks about what is going on in physics. Beginnings in discerning the presence of eight main tasks help reveal the (pre-) emergence of a normative omni-disciplinary basis for collaboration that, once adverted to, promises to be constitutive of a new and increasingly effective control of meaning. Originally discovered by Bernard Lonergan in 1965, progress in the new collaboration will not seek to eliminate specialized expertise. It will, though, divide tasks within an eightfold functional division of labor. This book invites attention to data for each of the eight main tasks evident and self-evident in existing scholarship in the community. The book also makes preliminary efforts toward envisioning something of what functional collaboration will look like — in physics, the Academy and Society.
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