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25056Re: [PrimeNumbers] Re: Unread heros of Math & Physics

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  • Jack Brennen
    May 10, 2013
      David, 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 primenumbers@yahoogroups.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:
      > http://www.isaac-newton.org/scholium.htm
      > ...
      > 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
      > distances.
      > ...
      > 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.
      > David
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