HPS211 2013.01.31 Lecture Notes

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University of Toronto St. George
History and Philosophy of Science and Technology
Curtis Forbes

January 31, 2013 – Lecture Notes Conservation of Energy - Basic idea that there is a finite amount of energy and it changes form - Energy Physics o Newton  Work, force o Energy physicists wanted to understand heat, force, work relationship - Electricity o Wasn’t always clear that all electrical phenomena was the same thing o Static electricity  First known type of electricity o Reninous vs. vitreous electricity o Friction machines  Able to generate large amount of static electricity  More of a novelty than a scientific instrument o Leyden Jar  Basically a simple capacitor o Was thought of a ‘fluid’ of some kind o ‘animal’ electricity  Frog legs twitched, people thought that it came from the animal and hence thought there was a type of animal electricity o Voltaic Pile  Similar to the battery  Volta invented it  Gave experimenters a new source of steady, direct current o Benjamin Franklin  Wanted to demonstrate that all electric phenomena was the same  Argued for two fluid theory  Used an experimental method  Aimed for the unity of electrical phenomena o Ohm  Law of electrical force  Called it a force because of potential for motive work from charge in circuit - Magnetism o Loadstones  English called in middle ages  Attracted bits of iron o People knew that magnetism could be used for navigation in the middle ages o Some people tried to give mechanical explanation o People able to experiment ^ knowledge of subject o Faraday  Electromagnetism and electromotors  Characterized interaction between magents  Had a low math ability  ^ level of innovative experimental work  Illuminated relationship between electricity and magnetism  Discovered electrical current could occur due to magnets o Oersted  Magnetic field strength o Ampere  Showed that current carrying wires repelled each other  Relationship between magnets and electricity o Electromagnets and electromotors o Theory that electricity developed/could produce heat and light - Naturphilosophie o German idealism  Saw nature as fundamentally unified and organic  Must look at role/phenomena in relation to everything around it  Hence looked at electricity in terms of magnetism, force, etc.  Horstead was into this o Vitalism  Connected to theory of all inanimate objects obeying Newton’s laws but animate objects follow different rules (driven by some sort of vital part/soul) o Empiricism  Drive away from German idealists o In some respect the magnetism to electrical connection seemed to confirm german idealism o Helmholtz  Argued against vitalism  Was considered a hugely successful scientific mind  Argued that the metabolism of food could account for energy of animals (soul/vital force was unnecessary)  Said that some quantity/thing must be conserved in the change/transfer for forces  Quite un-mathematical ideas  Point was well made, was published independently  Previously took an oath with friends to mathematize biology  Discarded vital force (did not work with Newtonian physics) - Everyone wanted to unify physics around one quantity - Conversion and Conservation of forces o Theoretical abstraction or physical reality? (energy) o Conservation of energy  Sort of theoretical principle but is use
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