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Unformatted text preview: ation. But here again the
real s ignificance of Newton's achievem ent lay not s o m uch in the exact quantitative form ulation of the law of
attraction, as in his having es tablis hed the pres ence of law and order at leas t in one im portant realm of nature,
nam ely, in the m otions of heavenly bodies . Nature thus exhibited rationality and was not m ere blind chaos and
uncertainty. To be s ure, Newton's inves tigations had been concerned with but a s m all group of natural
phenom ena, but it appeared unlikely that this m athem atical law and order s hould turn out to be res tricted to
certain s pecial phenom ena; and the feeling was general that all the phys ical proces s es of nature would prove
to be unfolding them s elves according to rigorous m athem atical laws .
When Eins tein, in 1905, publis hed his celebrated paper on the electrodynam ics of m oving bodies , he rem arked
that the difficulties , which s urrounded the equations of electrodynam ics , together with the negative experim ents
of Michels on and others , would be obviated if we extended the validity of the Newtonian principle of the relativity
of Galilean m otion, which applied s olely to m echanical phenom ena, s o as to include all m anner of phenom ena:
electrodynam ics , optical...
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This document was uploaded on 03/23/2014.
- Summer '14