The Britannica Guide to Relativity and Quantum Mechanics pdf


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The Britannica Guide to Relativity and Quantum Mechanics pdf

The Britannica Guide to Relativity and Quantum Mechanics pdf : Pages 262

By Erik Gregersen

Series: Physics Explained

Publisher: Rosen Educational Services, Year: 2011

ISBN: 1615303308,9781615303304

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This volume deals with relativity and quantum mechanics. Both of these are quite new areas of physics. The beginning of relativity can be dated quite precisely, to the year 1905, when a clerk in the Swiss patent office published a paper “On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies.” The beginnings of quantum mechanics can be dated to 1900 when the German physicist Max Planck explained the
emission of light from a blackbody as the emission not of a continuous stream of particles or waves, but a stream of discrete packets of energy called quanta. Relativity was driven by the need to explain light. The Scottish physicist James Clerk Maxwell had published four equations that explained electricity and magnetism. These equations described the speed of an electromagnetic wave. That speed was one with which scientists were already well acquainted. It was 299,000 km (186,000
miles) per second, the speed of light. Since light was an electromagnetic wave, it must be a wave in something,
like waves in water or sound in air. As anyone who has ever looked up at the night sky knew, light crossed the vast emptiness of interstellar space from one star to another, which meant the vast emptiness was not empty at all. There was something there, something that had not been detected. This material, which came to be called the ether, had to be everywhere in the universe. Thomas Young said the ether pervaded “the substance of all material bodies as freely as wind passes through a grove of trees.” ( Book : Page 12 )

(Physics Explained) Erik Gregersen – The Britannica Guide to Relativity and Quantum Mechanics -Rosen Educational Services (2011)

 


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