The first blog entirely devoted to the history of physics.

Anecdotes, philosophical issues, great discoveries, and much more from first-hand participants.


Saturday, October 23, 2010

Boltzmann’s physics textbooks

''Experimental physicists, Boltzmann explained, also had their methods of research, but these were simpler than the theorists', simpler because of the 'continously progressive' nature of experimental work. Theorists, unlike experimentalists, never seemed to settle their disputes, especially as their methods developed discontinously, similarly to styles in art and literature. They viewed their preferred methods 'very subjectively,' through their 'own spectacles.' But theorists, in their disputes, had recourse that experiemntalists did not have, or did not need; it was to publish books, which were generally based upon lectures, that covered the whole of their science, illuminating it from the perspective of their preferred methods. Boltzmann's published lectures on theoretical physics--covering his favorite parts of it, Maxwell's electromagnetic theory, gas theory, and analytical mechanics--were not syntheses of authoritative writings in the field but his version of theoretical physics.''

In McCormmach and Jungnickel, Intellectual Mastery of Nature 2, p. 189.

No comments:

Partner site
. Spinning the Superweb: Essays on the History of Superstring Theory,,,,