Radiation Theory and the Quantum Revolution by AGASSI


This e-book tells the tale of the researches which are ordinarily lumped jointly less than the label "radiation idea" and revolving, loosely talking round the regularly occurring warmth and-light trade (hot our bodies emit mild or radiate; the absorption of sunshine, in particular solar, is warming). This characterization, we'll quickly discover, is just too crude. makes an attempt to enhance upon it have led to the revolution in physics referred to as the quantum revolution (because the progressive swap concerned was once the reducing up of sunshine waves into discrete amounts) early within the twentieth-century. I wrote it with the next ideas in brain: (a) try and current the improvement of the highbrow history proper on your tale; (b) attempt to current the main points of your tale in a serious demeanour; attempt to current advancements as result of dissatisfaction with present states of affairs; (c) attempt to steer clear of reporting any piece of data with no explaining what objective it serves.

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A bigger pinhole blurs the image; for a bigger aperture (so as to let in more light) without blurring one uses a narrow slit. As the spectrum is a multiple image of the source of light, when the source is a slit, the image is not a line but a ribbon; when the light in question is discrete, a bright slice of the ribbon is a spectral line. Historically, the first triumph was the sight of lines in a sufficiently focussed instrument; soon after they only played a small role; they gained importance before Planck entered the scene, but became central to atomic physics only in the nineteen twenties.

But if you read a modem science book, you will not see that so easily or else you can consider yourself a brilliant scientist (and if you publish your results you will, sooner or later, be recognized as such). Bacon was wise and nearly right in observing that we are blind to evidence against our own views. But his contemporary, Galileo Galilei, was even wiser and more nearly right; he said that with great effort some clear-cut evidence may be found against our views, and that this kind of evidence should be taken extremely seriously.

Most science writers, historians of science, popularizers of science, and philosophers of science, bluntly brand such conduct unscientific. There is nothing more unscientific, they repeatedly admonish us, than to ignore phenomena which do not fit our preconceived schemes. It was Sir Francis Bacon who said that the error of answering big questions first is that the answer may be erroneous; better prepare the ground by answering the small questions first. Now, why does it matter so much if the answer to the big questions is erroneous?

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