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Questions tagged [physics]

For questions specific to the history of physics, the natural science studying general properties of matter, radiation and energy. General questions about mathematics are off-topic but might be asked on Physics Stack Exchange.

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20 votes
2 answers
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How could Eratosthenes measure the circumference of the Earth?

Some 2,200 years ago, Eratosthenes calculated the radius of the Earth. A brief recap Plant a stick in the ground vertically, and wait until the sun is directly above the stick, that is until ...
IQAndreas's user avatar
  • 309
14 votes
3 answers
1k views

How did the "Standard Model" physics theory get that name?

I want to know how the Standard Model theory got such "generic" name. (I've made this question in Physics StackExchange, but it was considered off-topic, and someone suggested to reask it here.)
Sony Santos's user avatar
8 votes
2 answers
2k views

How did the lighthouse at Pharos work?

Was the ancient Greek pharos light house of ancient Alexandria, Egypt capable of creating light beams like a modern flash light? Lots of websites which also includes ones from schools, colleges, ...
Lance Schmidt's user avatar
8 votes
1 answer
640 views

What kind of missile flew with such speed in 1st century BCE?

Lucretius in De rerum natura, book 6 verses 310 tries to explain the nature of lightning. Apparently he says that a body moving quickly through the air acquires some heat. The Latin verse is: non ...
Alex's user avatar
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7 votes
1 answer
1k views

How successfull were Albert Einstein's PhD mentees or children?

I'm curious if there has been any study in the success of the children, PhD students, or people that Einstein trained? Does history show that direct frequent access to an extraordinary mind provide ...
Gabriel Fair's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
9k views

Did Einstein really say this quote about time?

This quote is commonly attributed to Albert Einstein: The only reason for time is so that everything doesn't happen at once. However, there are many cases of quotes misattributed to Einstein. ...
user95432's user avatar
  • 185
4 votes
2 answers
813 views

Does anyone know of any examples of the Magnus effect in a real battle?

I've read a lot about the Magnus effect altering the trajectories of cannonballs and musketballs. Robins noticed it with Musket balls and Magnus with canonballs, but presumably they weren't the first ...
Tom Lancaster's user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
636 views

Newton, Galileo, and Gravity

One of the few things I remember from my high school physics class is my teacher telling me that Newton discovered things like the universal law of gravitation simply because his initial premise was ...
Fixed Point's user avatar
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3 votes
2 answers
156 views

Where can I find this paper by Jean Buridan?

I'm trying to make a timeline of momentum for my physics class and I keep running across a paper by Jean Buridan called QM XII.9: 73ra. I don't know what any of this means, and I don't know how to ...
Mr. Guest's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
387 views

After the Mongol Empire fell, did China really turn away from math and physics?

I came across this from the Wiki article on Chinese Mathematics: After the overthrow of the Yuan Dynasty, China became suspicious of knowledge it used. The Ming Dynasty turned away from math and ...
DrZ214's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
207 views

Is Maxwell really owner of Maxwell's Equations?

Maxwell's equations are four equations known to Maxwell; but it seems to me that they are GFAM's (Gauss-Faraday-Ampere-Maxwell's) Equations. Why are they then called only Maxwell's Equations!?
m.antoni's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
475 views

Did J. Robert Oppenheimer ever play chess?

There is an infamous chess game between Einstein and Oppenheimer that has zero evidence of having happened (and that appears every time I try to look something about it and now even the comments of ...
Moritz's user avatar
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1 vote
2 answers
167 views

Today, do we celebrate anniversaries of events that happened in time of Julian calendar, on Julian date or at corresponding Gregorian date?

Today do we celebrate anniversaries of events that happened in time of Julian calendar, on the Julian date or at the corresponding Gregorian date? Do historians write the dates of scientific works in ...
22flower's user avatar
  • 125
-4 votes
2 answers
436 views

Newton a plagiarist? [closed]

It is well-known that Hooke anticipated Newton's law of gravitation. Was this case grave enough such that Newton today would be called a plagiarist?
user37237's user avatar