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Lecture_01 - PHYS 342 Fall semester 2010 Lecture 01...

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PHYS 342 Fall semester 2010 Lecture 01: Historical Overview Ron Reifenberger Birck Nanotechnology Center Purdue University Lecture 01 1
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Most of the Physics you have studied so far was developed between ~1600 and late 1800’s. This subject matter was essentially developed to correct Aristotle. Historical Perspective Mechanics Magnetism Optics Electricity Thermo ~ 1700 ~ 1600 Aristotle placed great emphasis on reason – just think about a problem logically and you can solve it! (refer to Euclid’s success in laying out geometry) This approach gives rise to a culture in which only a few know the accepted answers, while most do not. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/newton-stm/ ~ 1800 2
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Aristotle’s dubious results regarding science: Universe bounded by outermost sphere of stars Earth is center of Universe Four elements: earth, air, water, fire A vacuum is impossible Between atoms is a vacuum, so matter cannot be atomistic because a vacuum cannot exist Time of its own nature is immutable All objects move toward their natural place – the center of the earth for some objects, the heavenly spheres for other objects (Aristotelian theory of gravity!) Dense objects fall faster than light objects Etc. 3
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Because experiment has shown time and again that the rules of Nature have nothing to do with common sense! It took centuries to overcome these misconceptions! Why? Four Examples: head2right 1. Is earth moving? head2right 2. Electromagnetic forces head2right 3. Blackbody radiation head2right 4. Nature of Light 4
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In Galileo’s time (early 1600’s), people simply did not know the answer to the above question. Arguments against earth motion: There is NO speed sensation when standing on the surface of the earth. If the earth were moving (e.g. by the Earth’s rotation), anything that one dropped would rapidly fall behind and drift backward.
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