Last week we appreciated how British and French science works. Especially focusing on the role of Carnot and Maxwell. We got to know the culturalÂ indicesÂ of science, how society influences science and vice-versa.
Maxwell and Carnot (as one of you stated) both changed the physics scene in their respective countries. Maxwell changed how British physicists thought about electricity, magnetism, light, forces, and energy. Carnot changed how French physicists thought about heat, caloric, energy dissipation, and entropy. Maxwellâ€™s theories revolutionized his field within his lifetime, but Carnotâ€™s theories were not appreciated until scientists built upon his ideas after his death.Maxwell made British physicists stop thinking in terms of Newtonian forces and start thinking in terms of energy and the ether. â€œThe new doctrine of energy was also at the heart of James Clerk Maxwellâ€™s attempt to construct a comprehensive theory of electromagnetism from Faradayâ€™s experimental researches and scattered speculationsâ€ (MorusÂ 80). He theorized that magnetism, electricity, and light were all made of the same energy which acted upon the ether--an unseen substance that filled the universe and provided a frame of reference for motion and direction. Because of Maxwellâ€™s equations demonstrating that light, electricity, and magnetism were made of the same energy, scientists realized the principle of energy conservation, or that energy cannot be created or destroyed.
Carnot contributions to science would later be built upon by other scientists to define the Second Law of Thermodynamics.Â MorusÂ writes that â€œWilliam Thomson . . . used Carnotâ€™s theories and Jouleâ€™s experiments to make the science of thermodynamics the exemplar of a whole new way of doing physics. Thermodynamics could demonstrate how the Universe would end in heat death. It could also be used to pour scorn on the claims of geologists and evolutionary theorists concerning the development of life on earthâ€ (126).
But as another of you also pointed out very thoughtfully that:
â€œThe work of James Clerk Maxwell changed the world forever.â€ (Albert Einstein)Â James Clerk Maxwell was brought up with traditional Christian beliefs. His mother took the role of being the sole provider to Maxwellâ€™s education during his childhood. â€œHis mother taught him to see Godâ€™s scientific genius and compassionate hand in the beauties of nature. This conviction that there was complete harmony between scientific investigation and Godâ€™s teachings in the Bible had a great influence on Jamesâ€™ life and work.â€James Maxwell was one of the worldâ€™s most influential scientist. He devoted much of his work to electricity and magnetism. He was committed to creating the mathematical equations to explain English physicist Michael Faradayâ€™s Electromagnetic Waves field theory. â€œThe four mathematical equations Maxwell produced are ranked with Sir Isaac Newtonâ€™s laws of motion and Albert Einsteinâ€™s theory of relativity as the most fundamental contributions to physics.â€ (Lamont, 1993). â€œSome of Maxwell's results prompted Albert Einstein's research in relativity. Einstein is quoted as saying: â€œOne scientific epoch ended and another began with James Clerk Maxwell.â€â€Â Â In addition, Maxwell paved the foundation for modern Quantum mechanics and special relativity.â€œMaxwell worked with Austrian physicist Ludwig Boltzmann to develop a theory called the 'Maxwell-Boltzmann distributionâ€™.â€ It is defined as particles moving freely in a confined space without distributing the other particles movements except for slight touch of one another that leads to kinetic energy being created with each other or their surroundings. This theory was later re-established with Maxwellâ€™s paper â€˜On the Dynamical Theory of Gasesâ€™. He modifies the molecules speeds and their force in proportion to their distance from one another. This paper generated the gas laws. These ideas were later resolved with more adequate solutions when quantum theory provided an explanation. â€œHis fourth paper, inspired by the work of Boltzmann, took a very generalized approach to the properties of dynamical systems and applied statistical techniques to considering the probability of the system being in a particular state.â€Â
This leads to the fashion in which science and scientists performed at the turn-of-the-century from 19th to the 20th.Â MorusÂ coins the phrase "Imperial Physics". Think about how appropriate is Â this phrase for 19th century science.Â
ReadÂ MorusÂ Chap 9.
Read Merton article.
And answer either of the following questions:
1) How appropriate/problematic isÂ Morus' coinage of the term "Imperial Physics" to describe 19th century science?
2) Explain the meaning of Merton's four norms of science and why did it matter for the history of science in late 1930s?
Finish the readings assigned for this week by Oct 21st, and by the end of business on Oct 22nd respond to any of the following questions in 300 words:
By October 24th, post an approximately 200 word reply to any colleagues' post and explore what were the strengths and weaknesses of that post?
|Due By (Pacific Time)
||10/22/2015 11:00 pm