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Thread: A book on the historical development of physics?

  1. #1 A book on the historical development of physics? 
    Junior Member
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    Apr 2014
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    Hello everyone,

    I am not a physicist (I'm an economist), but I'm interested in physics.
    What I'm particularly interested in is what the empirical and theoretical/mathematical junctures were in the development of our understanding of physics.

    • What were the empirical observations that motivated Newton to formulate his principia?
    • What were the empirical observations that (later) confirmed his theory?
    • Same for electromagnetism, relativity, quantum mechanics, etc.
    • What were the theoretical hurdles that Einstein had to overcome to formulate relativity? same for quantum mechanics, etc...

    In other words, I am looking for an (extensive) book/series of books on the development of physical theory, empirical physics and their interplay, from Newton (or earlier) onwards to modern physics.

    Does such an overview work exist? I think this would be extremely interesting, whether it's a popular science book or a more scientifically rigorous book, to get an overview of what we know and why we know it. Most popular overviews of physics tend to focus on the juicy results (nothing can travel faster than the speed of light, quantum leaps, etc..), without explaining what the logical reasoning and empirical evidence behind them is.

    I cannot be the only one who would find this fascinating, right?

    Kind regards.
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  2. #2  
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    Quote Originally Posted by questioner1 View Post
    Hello everyone,

    I am not a physicist (I'm an economist), but I'm interested in physics.
    What I'm particularly interested in is what the empirical and theoretical/mathematical junctures were in the development of our understanding of physics.

    [LIST][*]What were the empirical observations that motivated Newton to formulate his principia? [*]What were the empirical observations that (later) confirmed his theory?
    For that ,you could start here: Award Ceremonies | American Philosophical Society
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