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575 history questions.

Hi I am wondering what the first published paper on Virasoro modes was? And what about Virasoro algebra?

I'm an astrophysics student and I've been researching this topic and there is one point that keeps eluding me. How did the scientific community realize that there had to be dark matter in the ...

The English inventor the sir W. Siemens (1850s British inventor, the metric name for conductance is named after him) has informed about following supervision: once, when he stood on the top of the ...

The spinor helicity formalism is a modern technique widely used in scattering amplitude calculations nowadays. However, it is hard to find a reference for who first came up with the formalism. Maybe ...

Since Quantum Chromo-Dynamics theory has been supposed to explain quarks confinement, has experimental search for free fractional electric charge elementary particles been put to an end? If not, what ...

Of course letters are of few interest if something at all. But when reading some notes the question just appeared: Why do we use $Q$ for heat? Googling it shows many links but none of them seems ...

Cantor's reason for devising set theory, i.e., for his "painstaking and hardly rewarding business of investigating point sets", was its application to reality. "I refer you to what I have found in ...

Who invented the term ''Born's rule'' for the statement that the measurement of a quantum observable is one of its eigenvalues, with a probability given by the square of the coefficient in the ...

There was a recent question (linked below) on the Law SE about the potential to patent algorithms. It appears there is a lot of gray area in the subject. Of course natural laws cannot be subject to ...

Many accounts of the history of quantum physics explain how Planck resorted to quantizing energy in an "act of desperation" while attempting to solve blackbody radiation, only to discover by surprise ...

The measurement of the Earth's radius by Eratosthenes is famously the first of its kind. As I understand, it relies on the fact that the sun's rays are parallel. At noon, the light falls directly ...

I have studied General Relativity from various textbooks already, and the subject fascinated me immensely. I was wandering if there is any textbook that deals with the chronological "steps" that ...

I have almost no background in physics and I had a question related to Schrodinger's Equation. I think, it is not really research level so feel free to close it, but I would request you to kindly ...

Who is the author of the term "Coulomb logarithm"? In fact, Coulomb logarithm was computed by Langmuir in his paper of 1928 where the term "plasma" was introduced into physics, but the term "Coulomb ...

The recent question Why are leap seconds needed so often? pulled up some interesting details about the definition of the second, and I'd like to have some of them confirmed explicitly. I'm ...

I would like to understand what are the ideas (or data) on which the famous scientist has based himself to arrive at such a fundamental principle for quantum mechanics.

There is an excellent paper by Freeman Dyson from 1972 (here) and therein the author cites old talks by Hilbert (here) and Minkowski (chapter 2 here) speaking about similar topics, namely how ...

Is it true that around 70's there was a huge change in theory that describes plasmons (SPP, to be precise)? Recently I stumbled upon an interesting (but old) paper about plasmons. Authors of that ...

I'm doing a study about number theory in physics where I put some focus into the usage of Quaternions. See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quaternion#Use_in_physics Right now I conclude that the ...

This photo about the Italian supreme physicist Enrico Fermi is rather famous. Yet nobody ever questioned, as far as I know, the wrongness of the fine structure constant written on it. So I ...

For a correct calculus of the perpetual orbital motion of planets as determined by Newton’s laws of gravitation, frictionless motion through interplanetary vacuum space would have been a prerequisite. ...

Did anyone has any idea how Born came up with the probabilistic interpretation of quantum mechanics. It is by all means very bizarre. And then it leads to the idea of copenhagen interpretation. Also ...

I am reading Ampere's original work. Therein he describes an experiment called "equilibrium of opposite current experiment". In this experiment, two immobile straight wires with current flowing in ...

People have been thinking about a photon-photon collider (see this and this) as an add-on or to supplement the ILC, the next generation linear collider. My question is, have there been any photon-...

On reading the answer by Ron Maimon to the "Gabriele Veneziano, strong nuclear force and beta-function" I became puzzled: Why the fact of the Beta function implication leads to the idea of a string ...

Background to the question: From The History of String Theory: Gabriele Veneziano, a research fellow at CERN (a European particle accelerator lab) in 1968, observed a strange coincidence - many ...

Wikipedia states, that the spin degree of freedom was first formulated by Pauli in 1924: In 1924 Wolfgang Pauli introduced what he called a "two-valued quantum degree of freedom" associated with ...

As I mentioned here, the 1887 Michelson-Morley experiment placed an upper bound on the fringe displacement of about 0.01 or 0.02. Why did the 1925 Michelson-Gale experiment also find a fringe shift of ...

Is there a good book describing the story about the discovery of photon? What are the references for the very first works on the photons?

This might be a silly question but I really don't understand what was the reason for which Newton ended up differentiating mass into inertial and gravitational. Why did he think it necessary to do so? ...

I have seen other similar questions and someone mentioned radar measurements made in the 1960's. Who did that and when and where? I am not interested in ancient measurements. Only the currently ...

We know that 1 meter is the distance travelled by light in vacuum within a time interval of 1/299,792,458 second. My question is why we didn't take a simpler number like 1/300,000.000 or why not just ...

I guess this never registered with me when I read the Feynman Lectures on Physics in the past. But I have wondered, from time to time, what distinguishes statistical mechanics from, say, kinetic ...

I recently started learning the basic forms (integrals) of the Maxwell's equations, and everything that is related to electromagnetism seems to be derived from these fundamental equations. Now my ...

My question is more on a historical note that involves Maxwell’s equations. Besides the information that I have obtained from textbooks, I am mainly getting it from History of Maxwell's Equations and ...

Meter was then defined as one ten-millionth of the distance between the equator and the North Pole. In practice, the researchers measured the distance between dunkerque and Barcelona, "then reported ...

Poincaré's recurrence theorem remained as far as I know, unproven until 1919 when Caratheodóry proved it. Why then did it represent an issue to Boltzmann? Boltzmann died in 1906, did he not know about ...

I am interesting to find descriptions of the series of experiments that Newton made for determining the laws of motion. In English of course.

I was reading a book on the history of Quantum Mechanics and I got intrigued by the gendankenexperiment proposed by Einstein to Bohr at the 6th Solvay conference in 1930. For context, the thought ...

I am a math student and I have been self studying physics lately. I am going to take a course on electromagnetism this year, so I searched for books that are mathematically rigorous on that topic. And ...

All answers to questions like this dodge the question by saying it's a postulate of Matrix Mechanics, so let me rephrase it. Instead of how to derive the CCR, how does it follow from Heisenberg's ...

The purpose of this question is to supplement an earlier question The Role of Rigor and to ask about the role of mathematical rigor in physics. In order to formulate a question that can be answered, ...

When I think of a space-time vector, I think of it as a geometrical object in Minkowski space with the physical properties of magnitude and orientation wrt other space-time vectors. I can use four ...

We know that Einstein admitted that Paul Gerber's 1898 formula explaining the anomaly of Mercury's perihelion was the same as his own. Reportedly Gerber had made a mistake somewhere, so - even though ...

This is a curious question about the way George Green could have defined his Green's function. All the definitions I see have only Dirac-delta $\delta(x−x′)$ function as their source on the RHS. But ...

The purpose of this question is to ask about the role of mathematical rigor in physics. In order to formulate a question that can be answered, and not just discussed, I divided this large issue into ...

If I understand correctly, one can derive an equivalent relation between distance the body falls and time, by using a rope/pulley system too. Conceptually it may be easier and perhaps more natural. ...

In the 19th century, most astronomers adopted an island universe model, in which our galaxy was the only object in an infinite space. They didn't know that the "spiral nebulae" were other galaxies. ...

Galileo Galilei discovered by experiments that all bodies tend to fall with the same rapidity (I use it in an intuitive sense, you can replace it by 'acceleration' used in today's physics language), ...

Not all equations of motion admit a Hamiltonian. Several questions and answers on this site concern this correspondence, for example Hamiltonian or not?, When can an autonomous system be written using ...

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