By S. D'Agostino

This booklet provides a viewpoint at the background of theoretical physics during the last enormous quantities years. It contains essays at the heritage 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 quest for and the exploration of topics that prompted major con­ ceptual adjustments within the nice move of principles and experiments which heralded the emergence of theoretical physics (hereafter: TP). the thrill. damental switch concerned the popularity of the scien­ tific validity of theoretical physics. within the moment half the nine­ teenth century, it used to be challenging for lots 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 participants to the hot self-discipline, confessed in 1895 that, "even the formula of this idea [of a theoretical physicist] isn't totally with out difficulty". 1 even supposing technology had regularly been divided into thought and scan, it used to be merely in physics that theoretical paintings built right into a significant examine and educating forte in its personal correct. 2 it really is real that theoretical physics was once ordinarily a production of tum­ of-the century German physics, the place it acquired complete institutional popularity, however it is additionally indisputable that amazing physicists in different ecu nations, particularly, Ampere, Fourier, and Maxwell,

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Extra resources for A History of the Ideas of Theoretical Physics: Essays on the Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Physics

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The results were therefore unreliable for any investigation of the earth's magnetic variation at a given location over a long stretch of time. Furthermore, these methods afforded only relative measures that were not comparable with others from different locations and different instruments. Gauss's method, the so-called method of "principal positions", is still described in many textbooks of elementary physics, so that only a short description is given here. The gist of the method was the usage of an auxiliary instrument in addition to the newly constructed high-precision bifilar mag- 18 CHAPTER 1 netometer.

However, this theory should be submitted to an experiment showing that all the properties of symmetrical interactions between currents were also properties of interactions between magnets (and not the reverse). The underlying rationale of this argument can be stated as follows: if, according to the theory of transversal magnetism, currents are magnets, the possible interactions among magnets must form a larger set than the interactions among currents; in fact, some types of interactions among free magnets would be impossible in currents.

Comments No wonder that, because of his making the above committing statements, Ampere's derivation of the elementary law met all sorts of criticism, and, at the same time, many expressions of praise and admiration. 62 Among Ampere's critics the first, and one of the most outright, was the same Wilhelm Weber that extended his research. In 1845 he wrote that Ampere did not correctly deduce his law from experiments, because he overlooked all problems concerning the sensitivity of his apparatus and, consequently, the precision of his measurements.

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