25056Re: [PrimeNumbers] Re: Unread heros of Math & Physics
- May 10, 2013David, wonder if you would agree that no physicist has a
wider gap between his contribution (huge) and his fame
(minor) as Oliver Heaviside...
Heaviside should be right up there with the great
physicists of all time.
On 5/10/2013 4:49 PM, djbroadhurst wrote:
> --- In email@example.com,
> "WarrenS" <warren.wds@...> wrote:
>> somewhat sadly, I've read very little by either Newton or
>> Maxwell. Recommend anything?
> I have studied Motte's translation of the Principia and was
> struck by this:
> Hitherto we have explain'd the phenomena of the heavens and
> of our sea, by the power of Gravity, but have not yet
> assign'd the cause of this power. This is certain, that it
> must proceed from a cause that penetrates to the very
> centers of the Sun and Planets, without suffering the least
> diminution of its force; that operates, not according to the
> quantity of surfaces of the particles upon which it acts,
> (as mechanical causes use to do,) but according to the
> quantity of the solid matter which they contain, and
> propagates its virtue on all sides, to immense distances,
> decreasing always in the duplicate proportion of the
> But hitherto I have not been able to discover the cause of
> those properties of gravity from phenomena, and I frame no
> hypotheses. For whatever is not deduc'd from the phenomena,
> is to be called an hypothesis; and hypotheses, whether
> metaphysical or physical, whether of occult qualities or
> mechanical, have no place in experimental philosophy.
> Clerk Maxwell's paper:
> A dynamical theory of the electromagnetic field,
> Phil. Trans. Roy. Soc. 155 (1865) 459-512,
> is frankly amazing.
>> Or perhaps it is best to avoid reading them directly since
>> everything has been redone way clearer by others?
> Many people think that and are the poorer for it. Sometimes,
> it takes my breath away that the likes of Newton, Maxwell,
> Einstein, Euler and Gauss could be so prescient.
> I do not include any of the multitude of parents of quantum
> theory (Bohr, Schroedinger, Heisenberg, Dirac, Tomonaga,
> Schwinger, Feynman, Dyson) in my list of top 3 physicists.
> Nor would any of them dare to do so. Quantum mechanics and
> quantum field theory were corporate creations.
> To Newton, Maxwell and Einstein belongs the almost sole
> glory of capturing the essentials of mechanics,
> electromagnetism and relativity, respectively, in a handful
> of ideas and equations of great power and persuasiveness.
> On the other hand, quantum theory grew, fitfully and
> confusedly, out of the puzzlings of many persons.
> Of these, Dirac came the closest to emulating Newton,
> Maxwell and Einstein. Though even Dirac might have
> shuddered at that comparison.
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