History of physics and types of physical theories...

History of physics and types of physical theories

In the previous paragraphs, every now and then we had to consider the history of the appearance of non-ordinary physical concepts. The formation of physics was difficult and took more than two thousand years. Scientific mathematics, created by Euclid, arose in the III century. BC. The birth of scientific physics is connected, first of all, with the works of I. Newton. Of course, even in antiquity, hypotheses were formulated that clearly contributed to the emergence of physics as a science. But they, as a rule, were poorly provided with corresponding experimental researches. Indicative in this connection is the hypothesis of Leucippus and Democritus on the existence of atoms, which in the Middle Ages also occupied the minds of many Arab thinkers. Neither the first nor the second were able to prove the existence of atoms and create their theory.

Sometimes the actual relationships were established. We can recall in this connection, for example, the discovery by Archimedes of the laws of the lever and the expression for the force acting on the body, immersed in a liquid or floating on its surface. Archimedes, who lived at the same time with Euclid, was a genius, equal to whom not find among the enthusiasts of physics up to Galileo. But even he was not destined to create a consistent theory in all respects, for example, mechanics. Table 8.1 gives an idea of ​​the development of physics as a science.

Table 8.1. Chronology of Discoveries in Physics





F. Galileo

The principle of relativity


And. Newton

The laws of mechanical motion of bodies and gravity


W. Pendant

The law of electrostatic interaction


A. Ampere J.-B. Bio F. Savar

The laws of electromagnetic interactions


M. Faraday

The discovery of electromagnetic induction


P. Clausius Kelvin

The second law of thermodynamics


P. Clausius, J. Maxwell

The kinetic theory of gases


J. Maxwell

The formulation of the equations of classical electrodynamics


F. Hertz

Opening of Electromagnetic Waves


X. Lorenz

The formulation of the Lorentz transformations


Q. X-ray

X-ray beams


X. Lorenz

Electronic Theory


A. Becquerel

The phenomenon of radioactivity


J. Thomson

Opening of an electron


M. Planck

Discovery of energy portions


A. Einstein

Relativistic mechanics


E. Rutherford

Opening the structure of the atom


X. Kamerling-Onness

The discovery of superconductivity


H. Bohr

Electronic Shell Hypothesis


A. Einstein

General Relativity


Q. Heisenberg

Quantum mechanics


E. Schrodinger

Schrodinger equation


P. Dirac

Quantum electrodynamics


J. Chadwick

Neutron discovery


To. D. Anderson

Opening the positron


E. Fermi

Theory of beta decay


Oh. Gann, F. Strassmann

Uranium fission


P. Feynman

Renormalizable quantum electrodynamics


J. Gamow

The Big Bang Theory


X. Everett

Many-world interpretation of quantum mechanics


M. Gell-Mann, J. Zweig

Quark hypothesis


P. Higgs

Higgs boson


W. Glashow, A. Salam, S. Weinberg

The theory of electroweak interaction, experimentally confirmed in 1983 as a result of the discovery of double-ve-bosons


D. Gross, F. Wilczek

Asymptotic freedom, the theory of strong interaction


Authors Group

A family of boson-like particles fixed at the Large Hadron Collider

The history of the development of physics is undoubtedly instructive. In many books, it is described in some detail. But there remain significant differences regarding the way in which the history of physics is interpreted. According to the author, this should be done through the construction of a problem and interpretation series of theories. This means that the discoveries are not simply enumerated one after another, but are comprehended in a systematic way. The author does not know any book on the history of physics, where the theory control method was used. Within the framework of this textbook, there is simply no place for appropriate work. Throughout the book, this method was used in the vast majority of chapters.

The history of physics is a fertile material for the intellectual improvement of everyone who is an enthusiast of science.

It must be comprehended through the construction of a problem and interpretational series of physical theories.

Let us pass to the final conclusions, which relate to the history, philosophy and methodology of physics. Modern physics appears as the totality of many theories. The selection of the problem and interpretation series of theories was carried out by the author in connection with the definition of classes of equivalent relations that are relevant for physics. In turn, they allow us to evaluate any physical theories from a unified point of view. But, of course, the landscape of physical theories is substantially enriched. Consider in this connection some noteworthy inter-theoretical relations.

General theories, or similar. Often introduce an idea of ​​general theories. For example, they distinguish the general physics from the special one. Strictly speaking, general theories do not exist. Any two theories have nothing in common, identical. But they can have similarities. Newton's second law can be realized by means of both electrodynamic and gravitational concepts. It is correct to assert that Newton's second law expresses the similarity of electrodynamics and the theory of gravitation. Any mechanics is just a theory, in which some classes of specifically equivalent relations appear.

Equivalent theories. Sometimes in physics an equivalence of theories is established, which initially seemed to be disjointed. In this connection, for example, the matrix and wave representations of quantum mechanics developed by Heisenberg and Schrödinger, as well as the duality of the five 11-dimensional concepts in string theory, now united in the framework of the M-theory, come to mind. The existence of equivalent theories shows that in science there often happens a divergence of knowledge, which is then replaced by its integration.

Synthetic theories. Sometimes heterogeneous theoretical systems are synthesized into a single theoretical whole. A vivid example is the theory of electroweak interactions, which combined into a single whole the theory of electromagnetic and weak interactions. Synthesis of theories leads to concentration of knowledge, overcoming the former disunity.

Contextual theories. Each theory has numerous contexts. In this connection, we consider, for example, microphysics, macrophysics, the physics of elementary particles, atoms, molecules, plasma, liquids, solids. The above contextual relations were considered by the author in sufficient detail in connection with the consideration of statistical physics. Contextual theories are different, but they all have some features of equivalence that are fixed in the corresponding mechanics.


1. So, the landscape of physics is constituted by similar, equivalent, synthetic and contextual theories, which are in a certain connection with each other. Together, they form a field of never-easing problem stress.

2. To master it, extraordinary efforts are needed to comprehend pluralism. In this connection, the method of conceptual transitions was given decisive importance. Both conceptual transduction in the process of realization of the cognition cycle, and inter-theoretical relations are types of conceptual transitions.

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