Relativity in America, 1912–1980

  • Stanley Goldberg


In Chapter 9 we discussed the premises which underlay the views of several segments of American culture near the turn of the century about science. Outside of the scientific community, the view was widely held that support of science was needed for industrial growth and that ideas should have practical import. This was a constant theme among industrialists. Within the scientific and physics communities the criterion for good science was not practical outcomes, but empirical foundations.


York Time Special Relativity Inertial Frame Modern Physic Special Theory 
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  1. *.
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    Much of the information about the evolution of Bridgman’s thought about the theory of relativity is in unpublished material in his papers at the Harvard University Archives. I take this opportunity to acknowledge the help of Maila Walter, Harvard University, who was generous in sharing her knowledge of the organizational structure and contents of the Bridgman Papers. I am also indebted to Ms. Walter for sharing with me her draft manuscript, “Laboratory Practice and the Realities of Physics: The Operational Interpretation of P. W. Bridgman,” and for taking the time to discuss many of the issues in this section with me.Google Scholar
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    Some examples are: I. Lakatos, “Falsification and the Methodology of Scientific Research Programme,” in I. Lakatos and A. Musgrave (eds), Criticism and the Growth of Knowledge (Cambridge, England, 1970); I. Lakatos, The Methodology of Scientific Research Programmes (Cambridge, England, 1978); E. Zahar, “Why did Einstein’s Programme Supersede Lorentz”’ British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 1973, 24:95–123, 223–262.; A. Gruenbaum, “The Genesis of the Special Theory of Relativity,” in H. Feigl and G. Maxwell (eds), Current Issues in the Philosophy of Science (New York, 1961); A. Gruenbaum, “The Special Theory of Relativity as a Case Study in the Importance of the Philosophy of Science for the History of Science,” in B. Baumrin (ed) Philosophy of Science (New York, 1963); A. Gruenbaum, “The Bearing of Philosophy on the History of Science,” Science, 1964, 143:1406–1412.Google Scholar
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    Reichenbach’s treatment has been explicated by Gruenbaum in Bridgman, Sophisticate1 s Primer of Relativity (1st edition) “Afterword.”Google Scholar
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    Reichenbach, The Philosophical Significance…, p. 293.Google Scholar
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  107. §.
    See A. Pais: Subtle is the Lord: The Science and the Life of Albert Einstein (New York, 1982), p. 309.Google Scholar
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    Lewis Pyenson, personal communication.Google Scholar
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    Cf. Pais, Subtle is the Lord…, p. 309.Google Scholar

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© Birkhäuser Boston, Inc. 1984

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  • Stanley Goldberg

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