Download Great Physicists: The Life and Times of Leading Physicists by William H. Cropper PDF

By William H. Cropper

Here's a full of life background of recent physics, as visible during the lives of thirty women and men from the pantheon of physics. William H. Cropper vividly portrays the lifestyles and accomplishments of such giants as Galileo and Isaac Newton, Marie Curie and Ernest Rutherford, Albert Einstein and Niels Bohr, correct as much as modern figures equivalent to Richard Feynman, Murray Gell-Mann, and Stephen Hawking. We meet scientists - all geniuses - who should be gregarious, aloof, unpretentious, pleasant, dogged, imperious, beneficiant to colleagues or contentious competitors. As Cropper captures their personalities, he additionally bargains vibrant pictures in their nice moments of discovery, their sour feuds, their kin with friends and family, their non secular ideals and schooling. moreover, Cropper has grouped those biographies via self-discipline - mechanics, thermodynamics, particle physics, and others - each one part starting with a ancient evaluate. therefore within the part on quantum mechanics, readers can see how the paintings of Max Planck inspired Niels Bohr, and the way Bohr in flip prompted Werner Heisenberg. Our knowing of the actual global has elevated dramatically within the final 4 centuries. With nice Physicists, readers can retrace the footsteps of the lads and ladies who led the best way.

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Extra info for Great Physicists: The Life and Times of Leading Physicists from Galileo to Hawking

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By “quantity of matter” Newton means what we call “mass,” “quantity of motion” in our terms is “momentum,” “bulk” can be measured as a volume, and “density” is the mass per unit volume (lead is more dense than water, and water more dense than air). Translated into algebraic language, the two definitions read m ϭ ρV, (12) p ϭ mv, (13) and in which mass is represented by m, density by ρ, volume by V, momentum by p, and velocity by v. Following the definitions are Newton’s axioms, his famous three laws of motion.

Modern readers of the Principia are also burdened by Newton’s singular mathematical style. Propositions are stated and demonstrated in the language of geometry, usually with reference to a figure. ) To us this seems an anachronism. By the 1680s, when the Principia was under way, Newton had already developed his fluxional method of calculus. Why did he not use calculus to express his dynamics, as we do today? Partly it was an aesthetic choice. Newton preferred the geometry of the “ancients,” particularly Euclid and Appolonius, to the recently introduced algebra of Descartes, which played an essential role in fluxional equations.

Along the way (in proposition 41), a broad concept that we now recognize as conservation of mechanical energy emerges, although Newton does not use the term “energy,” and does not emphasize the conservation theme. Book 1 describes the motion of bodies (for example, planets) moving without resistance. In book 2, Newton approaches the more complicated problem of motion in a resisting medium. This book was something of an afterthought, originally intended as part of book 1. It is more specialized than the other two books, and less important in Newton’s grand scheme.

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