By Edmund T. Whittaker
Certain, arguable, and often stated, this survey deals hugely particular debts about the improvement of principles and theories in regards to the nature of electrical energy and area (aether). effortlessly obtainable to common readers in addition to highschool scholars, academics, and undergraduates, it contains a lot info unavailable elsewhere.
This single-volume variation includes either The Classical Theories and the trendy Theories, that have been initially released individually. the 1st quantity covers the theories of classical physics from the age of the Greek philosophers to the past due nineteenth century. the second one quantity chronicles discoveries that ended in the advances of recent physics, concentrating on specified relativity, quantum theories, common relativity, matrix mechanics, and wave mechanics. famous historian of technological know-how I. Bernard Cohen, who reviewed those books for Scientific American, saw, "I be aware of of no different background of electrical energy that is as sound as Whittaker's. All those that have came upon stimulation from his works will learn this informative and exact background with curiosity and profit."
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Extra resources for A history of the theories of aether and electricity Vol 2
These examples of failure to appreciate the nature of prob- 22 The Unnatural Nature of Science abilities and statistical thinking are particularly important when it comes to assessment of risk. It is, for example, rarely appreciated that it is almost impossible to ensure that a drug does not cause a death rate of, say, one in 100,000. Indeed the basis for clinical trials is rarely appreciated. In order to show the efficacy of a particular drug or medical treatment, it is essential to follow a rigorous procedure for the selection of a sample group, some of whom will be treated and some of whom will not.
There is in general a preference for simple rather than complex explanations. It is possible to understand such a predisposition in evolutionary terms. For primitive humans it would have been an evolutionary advantage to learn about the environment rapidly and to infer causal relationships. Selection for a brain that could directly appreciate probabilistic events and counter-intuitive results would seem to be extremely unlikely in a hostile environment where rapid and immediate judgements are required.
Science and philosophy were relegated to a low status. Why science finally persisted in the West is not known but is the subject of extensive studies. A case can be made for the importance of Christianity in fostering, in the West, the rationality, in the sense of logical arguments and reasoned discussion, that was necessary for science, and in also providing a system in which there was the possibility - even the conviction - that there were laws controlling nature. Such a conviction was unique to Christianity.
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