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The Tests of Time : Readings in the Development of Physical Theory - Lisa M. Dolling

The Tests of Time

Readings in the Development of Physical Theory

By: Lisa M. Dolling (Editor), Arthur F. Gianelli (Editor), Glenn N. Statile (Editor)


Published: 1st January 2003
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The development of physical theory is one of our greatest intellectual achievements. Its products--the currently prevailing theories of physics, astronomy, and cosmology--have proved themselves to possess intrinsic beauty and to have enormous explanatory and predictive power. This anthology of primary readings chronicles the birth and maturation of five such theories (the heliocentric theory, the electromagnetic field theory, special and general relativity, quantum theory, and the big bang theory) in the words of the scientists who brought them to life. It is the first historical account that captures the rich substance of these theories, each of which represents a fascinating story of the interplay of evidence and insight--and of dialogue among great minds.

Readers sit in with Copernicus, Kepler, and Galileo as they overturn the geocentric universe; observe the genius of Faraday and Maxwell as they "discover" the electromagnetic field; look over Einstein's shoulder as he works out the details of relativity; listen in as Einstein and Bohr argue for the soul of quantum mechanics in the Completeness Debate; and watch as Hubble and others reveal the history of the universe.

The editors' approach highlights the moments of discovery that rise from scientific creativity, and the presentation humanizes the scientific process, revealing the extent to which great scientists were the first to consider the philosophical implications of their work. But, most significantly, the editors offer this as their central thesis: although each was ushered in by a revolution, and each contains counterintuitive elements that delayed its acceptance, these five theories exhibit a continuous rational development that has led them to a permanent place in the worldview of science.

Accessible to the general reader yet sufficiently substantive that working scientists will find value in it, "The Tests of Time" offers an intimate look into how physical theory has been developed, by the brilliant people who have developed it.

"[A] very attractive collection... A delight to browse and a useful assignment in any course in undergraduate physics, philosophy, or history of science."--Choice

Prefacep. xv
Acknowledgmentsp. xix
Philosophical Introduction: Philosophy of Science and Physical Theoryp. xxi
The Heliocentric Theoryp. 1
Introductionp. 3
Aristotle: The Physical Foundation for the Geocentric Universep. 13
Aristarchus: An Early Version of Heliocentrismp. 26
Claudius Ptolemy: The Case for Geocentrismp. 29
Nicholaus Copernicus: First Thoughts on Heliocentrismp. 38
Nicholaus Copernicus: The Heliocentric Theoryp. 42
Tycho Brahe: The Supernova of 1572p. 66
Tycho Brahe: Observational Evidence against the Aristotelian Cosmologyp. 69
Johannes Kepler: The Sun as the Source of Planetary Motionsp. 70
Galileo Galilei: Telescopic Observations in Support of Copernicusp. 81
Johannes Kepler: The Superiority of the Copernican Systemp. 99
Galileo Galilei: The Coherence of the Copernican Theoryp. 109
Isaac Newton: The Physical Foundations of Heliocentrismp. 114
John Herschel: The Discovery of Stellar Parallaxp. 128
Selected Bibliographyp. 129
Electromagnetic Field Theoryp. 131
Introductionp. 133
William Gilbert: The Properties of Magnetsp. 145
Charles Coulomb: The Law of Electric Forcep. 151
Hans Christian Oersted: The Effect of a Current of Electricity on a Magnetic Needlep. 153
Andre Marie Ampere: A Positivist Approach to Electromagnetismp. 157
Isaac Newton: The Particle Theory of Lightp. 162
Christiaan Huygens: The Wave Theory of Lightp. 167
Thomas Young: The Vindication of the Wave Theory of Lightp. 179
Augustin Fresnel and Dominique Arago: The Transverse Nature of Light Wavesp. 201
Michael Faraday: Electromagnetic Inductionp. 209
Michael Faraday: The Concept of an Electromagnetic Fieldp. 214
James Clerk Maxwell: The Theory of the Electromagnetic Fieldp. 224
James Clerk Maxwell: The Electromagnetic Theory of Lightp. 232
James Clerk Maxwell: The Medium for Electromagnetic Actionp. 235
Heinrich Hertz: The Production of Electromagnetic Wavesp. 245
Selected Bibliographyp. 251
The Theory of Relativityp. 253
Introductionp. 255
James Clerk Maxwell: The Etherp. 265
Albert Michelson: The Ether and Optical Experimentsp. 273
George F. Fitzgerald: The Contraction Hypothesisp. 285
Hendrik A. Lorentz: The Contraction Hypothesisp. 286
Henri Poincare: A Prelude to Relativityp. 289
Albert Einstein: The Postulates of the Special Theory of Relativityp. 299
Herman Minkowski: The Space-Time Continuump. 304
Albert Einstein: The Foundation of the General Theory of Relativityp. 308
Albert Einstein: The Ramifications of the Special and General Theories of Relativityp. 313
Arthur Eddington: The Bending of Light Raysp. 330
Albert Einstein: Ether and Relativityp. 340
Albert Einstein: Later Comments on General Relativityp. 347
Albert Einstein: E = MC[superscript 2]p. 350
Selected Bibliographyp. 355
Quantum Theoryp. 357
Introductionp. 359
Historical and Conceptual Developmentp. 371
Max Planck: The Quantum Hypothesisp. 373
Albert Einstein: The Photonp. 380
Niels Bohr: The Quantum Character of the Atomp. 383
Louis de Broglie: The Wave Nature of the Electronp. 387
Niels Bohr: Complementarity and the New Quantum Theoryp. 392
Niels Bohr: The Debate with Einsteinp. 406
Albert Einstein: Response to Bohrp. 432
Werner Heisenberg: A Brief History of Quantum Theoryp. 437
Werner Heisenberg: The Copenhagen Interpretationp. 446
Erwin Schrodinger: The Fundamental Idea of Wave Mechanicsp. 454
Erwin Schrodinger: Are There Quantum Jumps?p. 465
P.A.M. Dirac: The Conceptual Difficulties of Quantum Theoryp. 472
John A. Wheeler: Observer-Created Realityp. 484
The Completeness Debatep. 493
Albert Einstein, Boris Podolsky, and Nathan Rosen: The EPR Paradoxp. 495
Albert Einstein: The Argument for Incompletenessp. 501
Niels Bohr: Response to EPRp. 507
David Bohm: The Hidden Variables Hypothesisp. 515
J. Stewart Bell: Comment on the Hidden Variables Hypothesisp. 526
J. Stewart Bell: A conceptual Analysis of the EPR Thought Experiment of David Bohmp. 532
Abner Shimony: Philosophical Reflections on the Completeness Debatep. 540
Selected Bibliographyp. 544
Big Bang Cosmological Theoryp. 545
Introductionp. 547
Henrietta Leavitt: Variables in the Magellanic Cloudsp. 556
Henrietta Leavitt: The Variability-Luminosity Relationshipp. 559
Vesto Slipher: The Radial Velocity of the Andromeda Nebulap. 561
Vesto Slipher: The Discovery of the Red Shift of Nebulaep. 564
Harlow Shapley: The Measurement of Great Distancesp. 567
Willem de Sitter: Relativity and Cosmologyp. 573
Edwin Hubble: The Structure of the Universep. 592
Edwin Hubble: The Velocity-Distance Relationp. 602
Arthur Eddington: The Expanding Universep. 611
Georges Lemaitre: The Beginning of Big Bang Cosmologyp. 625
Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson: The Discovery of Background Radiationp. 640
R. H. Dicke, P.J.E. Peebles, P. G. Roll, D. T. Wilkinson: An Explanation of the Penzias and Wilson Discoveryp. 642
Steven Weinberg: The Cosmic Microwave Radiation Backgroundp. 646
Alan Guth and Paul Steinhardt: The Inflationary Universep. 652
George Smoot and Keay Davidson: Wrinkles in Timep. 666
Stephen Hawking: The Edge of Spacetimep. 677
Selected Bibliographyp. 684
Epiloguep. 685
Helge Kragh: Physical Theory: Present and Futurep. 685
Sources of the Readingsp. 693
Index of Namesp. 699
Index of Conceptsp. 707
Permissions Acknowledgmentsp. 709
Table of Contents provided by Rittenhouse. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780691090856
ISBN-10: 0691090858
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 760
Published: 1st January 2003
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.5 x 15.2  x 4.09
Weight (kg): 1.02