By Salvo D’Agostino (auth.)
This booklet offers a point of view at the historical past of theoretical physics over the last 1000s years. It contains essays at the background of pre-Maxwellian electrodynamics, of Maxwell's and Hertz's box theories, and of the current century's relativity and quantum physics. a typical thread around the essays is the hunt for and the exploration of topics that motivated major con ceptual adjustments within the nice flow of principles and experiments which heralded the emergence of theoretical physics (hereafter: TP). the thrill. damental swap concerned the popularity of the scien tific validity of theoretical physics. within the moment half the 9 teenth century, it used to be hard for plenty of physicists to appreciate the character and scope of theoretical physics and of its adept, the theoreti cal physicist. A physicist like Ludwig Boltzmann, one of many eminent individuals to the hot self-discipline, confessed in 1895 that, "even the formula of this idea [of a theoretical physicist] isn't really completely with out difficulty". 1 even supposing technological know-how had continually been divided into conception and scan, it used to be in basic terms in physics that theoretical paintings built right into a significant examine and educating distinctiveness in its personal correct. 2 it truly is precise that theoretical physics used to be usually a production of tum of-the century German physics, the place it got complete institutional reputation, however it is additionally indisputable that extraordinary physicists in different ecu nations, specifically, Ampere, Fourier, and Maxwell, additionally had a tremendous half in its creation.
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Extra info for A History of the Ideas of Theoretical Physics: Essays on the Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Physics
However Weber was convinced that such a velocity existed and the search after it was his main task in the following years. Since no constant velocity is included in Ampere's law, its relationship with Weber's FL presents some interest. Weber asserted that his FL represented "a generalisation of that previously erected by Ampere, which in effect represented the special case of four electrical particles simultaneously involved, when current elements are assumed constant and fixed". 34 As is evident from these remarks, Weber did not deduce his FL from Ampere's law but he extrapolated it from Ampere's, limiting the indeterminacy of such procedure by testing his FL for particular cases, where it was amenable to "certain" experimental facts.
But I suppose the rest of his views are founded on experime~ts which are trustworthy as well as elaborate. Six years after Maxwell's first approach to Weber's work one can read a rather extended comment on his involvement with a new theory of light: in a letter 6 mailed from London, on December 10, 1861, he described to Thomson his particular ether's model of part icles and cells, adding that he "calculated the relation between the forces and the displacement on the supposition that the celles are spherical and that their cubic and linear elasticities are connected as in a 'perfect' solid".
The ethereal constants played the role of midwives in the transformation. Maxwell's difficulties with this problem, and his struggle to find arguments in support of the above correlation, are significantly documented in his various attempts to connect Weber's factor to the constants of the ether, a necessary prerequisite for concluding that the same factor represented the velocity of electromagnetic waves in ether. 2. , I confess I like it not at first... but I suppose the rest of his views are founded on experime~ts which are trustworthy as well as elaborate.