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The Story of a Non-Discovery: Helmholtz And The Conservation Of Energy

  • Javier Ordóñez
Part of the Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science book series (BSPS, volume 186)

Abstract

Apparently, there are at least two significant historiographic problems to be examined if we are to understand the history of physics during the 19th century. The first is how physics became a hegemonic science during the previous century. The second concerns its intellectual organization. The first problem can be approached in many ways but the general temptation is to treat it as a question closely related to the social projection of physics, its institutional acceptance and the transformation of society during the previous century. The studies of C. Jungnickel, R. MacCormach and D. Cahan are just three examples of the many which approach the problem from this standpoint.1 With regard to how the second problem should be examined, it is possible to refer to a great number of works which offer an equally great number of different approaches. This is due to the fact that an explanation of the evolution of scientific concepts, let alone that of theories in physics, requires a characterization of those problems which have motivated scientific activity and of the options which have guided the human imagination in creating images to represent Nature.

Keywords

Energy Conservation Natural Philosopher German Scientist Fundamental Force Galvanic Current 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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References

  1. Poncelet, Introduction a la mécanique industrielle physique ou experimentale, Metz: 1841; § 138. Quoted by E. Meyerson, op. cit., p. 211.Google Scholar
  2. R. Meyer, Bemerkungen über die Kräfte de unbelteb Natur, Heilbronn, verlag der C. Drechslerschen Buchhandlung: 1845.Google Scholar
  3. G. Cantor, Michael Faraday: Sandemanian and Scientist. London: 1991. Macmillan Press, pp. 185 et seq.Google Scholar
  4. D. Cardwell, James Joule: A Biography. Manchester: 1989, Manchester University Press.Google Scholar
  5. H. Steffens, James Prescott Joule and the Concept of Energy. New York, 1979, Neale Watson Academic Pub.Google Scholar
  6. G. Helm “Zur Energetik” _Annalen der Physik, 57, (1896), 650, 652.Google Scholar
  7. R. Paul “German academic science and the mandarin ethos 1850–1880”, British Journal for the History of Science 1984, 17 pp. 1–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Javier Ordóñez
    • 1
  1. 1.Universidad Autónoma de MadridSpain

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