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)


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.


Energy Conservation Natural Philosopher German Scientist Fundamental Force Galvanic Current 
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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1996

Authors and Affiliations

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

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