Science teaching, in schools and in universities, now
often includes bits of science history - and there are some courses
specifically on History of Science.
But much of what is now taught on the history of science, including
much history of physics, includes major errors as discussed
below. The education of most scientists in science history and earlier theories explained here is
probably at its most limited ever today, with teaching on dumbed-down textbook Newton etc not actual Newton etc. While in eg Biology to date fraud has been occasional, intentional and soon exposed, in physics theory fraud has largely been predominant, unintentional and unexposed and so still ongoing - but its history has largely been written by the winners who claimed to but did not have the best physics theories.
And while most older fiction works like Shakespeare's are freely available to all on the internet, older science works generally have very restricted availability and can involve substantial costs. As old science claimed often wrongly to be 'disproved' can still have good bits, this website will try to help on that also.
In general history it is the kings and queens who make the news
and seem to be only people who matter, though they more often act
against progress than in support of progress. And it is often the many
smaller people who most advance progress by adopting newer
technologies and ideas. The masses and the voters will at times
support general progress, though not always regularly or smoothly.
And new ideas are favoured chiefly in times of extreme necessity like war,
partly explaining the emergence of early science in Europe when war began between the
new Protestant Christian church and the Roman Catholic Christian church.
Hence early science emerged with Copernicus, Gilbert, Galileo and Kepler in parts of Europe that then had substantial political and religious instability or whose stability was under strong threat.
The early scientist prepared to doubt everything then had to support himself with paid work of some kind that was often very unscientific, or else find a rich private patron of maybe science.
In science history it is the science giants who mostly produce the big new technologies and new theories, though with most of them more readily accepting new technologies than accepting theory change. Often the many smaller science people readily adopt newer technologies while resisting theory change. Resistance to theory changes was taken by Newton as being chiefly due to a currently accepted theory creating mental theory 'prejudices' that prevented fair consideration of alternative theories. So science technology has progressed reasonably smoothly, while science theory has often advanced very patchily and included steps backwards. The science masses and science voters will often oppose theory progress.
Historians of science generally do good work on clarifying the development of science ideas and inventions, though their work is not always good. Scientists themselves are mostly slaves of their time so that sixteenth century science is mostly based on predominant sixteenth century ideas coming mostly from the ancient greeks. But a few scientists have managed to successfully think 'timelessly' or 'ahead of their time' and historians of science often 'explain' these few scientists quite wrongly in terms of ideas of their time. The time rule used by historians of science, which correctly helps explain the work of the majority of scientists, is for a few key scientists a false prejudice grossly misrepresenting their science. William Gilbert was one early scientist widely misrepresented, as was the other notable Protestant scientist Isaac Newton who supported a similar science theory, though neither seems to have supported any of the main established churches of their time. And science historians have also at times not correctly understood the science that they tried to explain. Of course science translators have also mostly done good work, but they have shared the same problems as science historians.
Gilbert, Galileo, Kepler, Descartes and Newton all noted and emphasised the constancy of the basic natural forces with gravity and magnetism following constant natural laws. Galileo, Kepler and Descartes followed ancient greek Atomism and its simple mechanical push physics. But Gilbert, maybe combining the best of greek Atomism with the best of Aristotle as shown by his own experiments, produced his attraction physics necessarily includes signal emission, signal transmission, signal reception and signal response, that might also allow of some affects by the environs and so allow of some multifactoral aspects to give variation in such forces. This was backed by Newton but was little studied by most early physicists, yet when modern experiments seemed to show some variations to the basic natural forces, physicists rushed instead to produce new theories to explain this. Most have basicly been versions of Cartesian-theory-like push physics and nobody has really tried to develop the original and perhaps more amenable attraction physics theory.
Some see science as progressing in a manner similar to social progress as seen by Karl Marx, and in line with Thomas Khun - by periods of steady experimental progress ending in theoretical paradigm revolutions. From this Khun saw eg Einsteinian paradigm theory as incompatible with Newtonian paradigm theory so that they could not really support or disprove eachother - though experiment might disprove either or both. But for an experiment to really disprove eg attraction physics theory, the theory must be shown to be invalid in an attraction physics theory interpretation of that experiment. The fact that some theory X interpretation of an experiment fits theory X, cannot disprove theory Y. All possible theory Y interpretations of the experiment need to be disproved. Firm disproofs like this are rarely attempted in physics, and have yet to be attempted for the Gilbert-Newton 'attraction physics' theory that is widely wrongly claimed to have been disproved. Older physics theories have mostly just become disapproved with a new theory being given more publicity and hype.
Many early attempts were made to establish a theory-led modern science as in ancient Greece by Plato, Socrates, Aristotle and others, but these attempts all failed. Real science only emerged when William Gilbert and Galileo Galilei showed that science needed to be technology/experiment based - as most clearly shown in Gilbert's published polemic arguments and disproofs against mere-theorising. The compass and the telescope beat the Platos and Aristotles, not any science theory - though in science the mere-theorisers never fully accepted defeat and today commonly present science wrongly as being a theory-led progress. Compared with a reasonably smooth technology-experiment progress, the history of science theory is actually very messy and perhaps involves little real progress. Newer science theories have often not been better science theories despite claimed 'proofs' of such. Ancient Greek theories basically divided between Aristotlean 'active matter with God motivation' and Atomist 'dead matter with law determinism push-physics' theories. Modern science aided by some catholic Jesuit pushing largely adopted the push-physics with some minor modifications. Interestingly Gilbert produced a largely not understood new 'active matter with law determinism' signal physics.
Early forms of experiment alchemy emerged independently in the Chinese, Indian and ancient-Greek/Roman civilizations usually combined with some mysticism. It died out there and emerged in the Arab world where around 1200AD Europe found it and developed it further. Experiment alchemy in Europe then developed further as a chiefly-experiment method to try to determine a range of truths alternative to religion's inadequate preached truths and philosophy's inadequate argument truths. Some 'alchemy' was really good chemistry and good experiment but just with weak interpretation - as http://www.conciatore.org/2017/01/transmutation-of-iron.html). Unfortunately some alchemists claimed that its truths would enrich people materially, as in giving easy gold production and a cure for aging, and some alchemists still gave support to religious-type mysticism as did 'witches'. Europes alchemists of this period were rebels and were to varying degrees oppressed. Only after the Christian church in Europe fragmented, with battles between Catholic and Protestant branches, was occasional logical argument raised against religious-backed 'truths' as by Copernicus, and then experiment finally emerged in Europe as the championed means to determining truth for truths sake with the science of Galilei Galileo and William Gilbert displacing alchemy. And while Gilbert distinguished chemists from alchemists before 1600, science history has generally failed to differentiate these till after 1700.
Different parts of the world had seen the development of Alchemy as an early experimental science or experimental magic which became a neo-religious secret cult that believed that experiment might produce wonders and rightly or wrongly was strongly opposed by churches. While it did encourage experiment, the dubious trappings it often had may have also encouraged opposition to early experimental science. But from early ideas that some experiments might give some truths, science soon required that every claimed truth about the physical universe must be supported by appropriate experiments.
From evidence early experimental science generally held that, though the universe or parts of it may change over time, there are some laws of nature governing any change that are constant. For evidence experimental science observes 'the present', some of which is logically deduced to involve effects on the present that some laws of nature produced from past states. And experimental science chiefly has tried to define laws of nature, at least some of which are hoped to be basic and constant, from evidence obtained chiefly by close observation of nature. Of course there have also been some involved in religion, philosophy and/or theoretical or even experimental science who have taken different views of nature and laws of nature.
As a separate taught subject 'History of Science' tends to be chiefly
concerned with people and especially with ;
1. who first produced a new science idea.
2. who helped with or helped inspire that new science idea.
3. who opposed that new science idea.
This can certainly be very interesting, but an excessive concern with people can mean that the actual science ideas are not examined closely enough and so can include major errors. And a science idea itself can also have significant actual problems from ;
1. a scientist publishes a new science idea, but then develops and amends it.
2. other scientists develop and amend that science idea.
3. others opposing that new science idea misrepresent it (unintentionally or intentionally).
4. others merging that new science idea with their own amend it or misrepresent it.
5. any new terms, or new use of existing terms, involved in a new science idea can be misunderstood.
When science was all books written and read in Latin, that had some big advantages and disadvantages for scientists in allowing publication to be international but often very limited and censored so that the education of early scientists mostly involved Plato, Aristotle and Euclid. Some of the better early scientists, like Gilbert and Newton, did widen their education with substantial home-study. But after Newton local natural language science journals took over and scientists were soon addressing only recent journal articles in their own language and were generally poorly educated on wider science theory. Hence, Einstein was chiefly knowledgeable only on other German language physics of his time and grossly misunderstood Newton and earlier physics theory ideas - and almost all modern physicists are similarly ignorant.
Also now scientists publish their theories in ad hoc articles, encouraged by government funders and science journals wanting newsworthy briefs. But science theory write-ups need to be comparable to show where they are compatible or incompatible to identify and evaluate their proof issues - in physics compatible write-ups 'Principia'-style are really needed but are rarely produced. Of course Newton's Principia was essentially a write-up of three theories in one - Newton blackbox physics, Gilbert attraction physics and Descartes push physics - though they would maybe be more useful as three separate write-ups. Without a comparable write-up a new physics theory may seem to explain some claimed cosmology issues but hide the fact that it cannot explain two marbles colliding.
This website presents a lot of history of physics, trying to concentrate on theory ideas as the final published thoughts that you may be able to read especially of four specific famous physicists - Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton, Rene Descartes and William Gilbert. There are of course many others, but these four give a good range of basic theories of the universe worth considering here in an interrelated manner. And here it is the scientific ideas that are examined, ignoring whether part of Descartes optics may have come from Snell or parts of Gilbert, Newton and Einstein ideas may have come from others. Not the textbook physics history of rubbish and lies pretending smooth scientific advance, but the real history of physics of both religious non-scientists limiting its advance and of ignorant unscientific scientists limiting its advance.
(While early science faced strong opposition from some powerful religious factions, some early scientists were themselves strongly religious and those that were not often tried to present their science as not challenging religion. Even today some religious factions argue strongly against evolution. But the mechanism of evolution is genetics and its basics were the work of hobby geneticist Gregor Mendel (1822-1884) who was an Augustinian Christian monk who did his genetics experiments in his monastery. Mendel was a skilled hobby scientist like William Gilbert, at least until he gained promotion to being in charge of his monastery and his increased religious work made him too busy to continue his science. He did not see science and religion as having any basic conflict, and his church may have seen him as 'just growing flowers', but some do still see science and religion as having basic truth conflicts.)
Of the four sets of physics ideas examined around this website, those of Albert Einstein and Rene Descartes seem somewhat less problematic in that their ideas were generally taught reasonably accurately though often not very clearly. Of course Descartes simpler physics is not taught now, and modern General Relativity is taught with key aspects not compatible with Einstein's theory. But the theories of both Isaac Newton and William Gilbert have both been long taught as differing very substantially from the ideas that they published, often robbing Newton's theory of its Black Box base and support for Gilbert attraction physics and robbing Gilbert's theory of its Robot Matter signal response base. Since there is no good reason for Newton's and Gilbert's theories being so grossly misrepresented, extra efforts are made to ensure that they also are presented as correctly as possible on this site.
Though Galileo in Italy and Gilbert in England had given experimental physics a strong start by 1600, it was maybe 1700 before experimental physics and experiment-based physics theory were more widely practiced. Till then 'science' was chiefly astronomy, mathematics and philosophy which more suited Cartesian 'certain knowledge' mere-theorising physics theory. The long failure of experimental 'Alchemy' or 'Chemistry' seems to have worked against experimental science and so strongly hindered a wider early acceptance of the experimental physics advanced by Galileo and Gilbert, and the basing of physics theory on experiment. Of course the study of physical materials, or chemistry, does have some real relevance to physics so many early physicists having interest in it was not necessarily unscientific as many at times wrongly claim.
Robert Boyle (1627-1691) was typical of a good experimental physicist and chemist of the time and visited Galileo who was under house-arrest in Catholic Italy, and Boyle was born in Catholic Ireland but preferred to work in Protestant England. Like many scientists then Boyle supported Cartesian mechanical physics, though with a vacuum and a particulate view of gasses and of 'effluviums', as shown in his 1673 Essays of the Strange Subtilty, Great Efficacy, Determinate Nature of Effluviums, his 1674 The hidden realities of the Air (Air as an aggregate of 'particulate effluviums' from differing bodies), and his 1676 Experiments and Notes about the Mechanical Origin or Production of Particular Qualities, including some notes on electricity and magnetism. Boyle was seemingly unacquainted with Gilbert's physics and his interest in Chemistry was shown in his 1661 The Sceptical Chemist, which maybe confirmed him as being strong on science experiment but weak on theory. He was a non-denominational Christian and did not marry.
Gilbert had formulated from experiments his 'attraction physics' involving matter responding to signals travelling through space from other matter and with no special place for god or humans, in the 1580's when religions and governments with their scholars and philosophers backed Aristotle's non-experimental 'logical divine science'. But experimental science only really began to be accepted from around 1650, when the semi-experimentalist philosopher Descartes won wide backing (including often by religions and governments) for his 'logical semi-divine science' with a mechanical push universe including a matter ether that filled space - and with god and humans having a separate special place outside science.
In the Gilbert-Newton era, Protestant England easily beat Catholic Europe in technology development - leading the Industrial Revolution. But Catholic Europe and its greater number of physicists refused to admit that they had been bettered in physics theory also by their much fewer Protestant peers. On theory, unfortunately the greater numbers wrongly won out - largely by using cheap name-calling and misrepresenting rather than by scientific disproof. Early supporters of catholic Galileo and Descartes claimed that Gilbert-style signal response physics was 'unscientific' because it required bodies to be 'animate' - but animals are animate and now most agree still obey the laws of physics, so those claiming that the animate was unscientific were being idiotic and Gilbert's physics was dismissed without being disproved. Not the only case of physicists being idiotic. Later attempts by Newton to disprove with experiments the strongly entrenched Descartes' logic-physics, especially on its ether, were so fiercely opposed by what were then peer scientists that he had to moderate his opposition to Descartes physics and moderate his support for Gilbert-style attraction physics. That was enough to allow Newton's physics to be falsely presented as being an improved-Descartes push-physics including Descartes' ether that Newton considered he had actually disproved.
In the modern era, emerging economies like Russia, India and China have basically taken up modern Western science-journal physics without considering early physics theory much. Latin is not so big in these countries and they have inclined to simply adopt prevailing Western physics theory prejudices. But still if they may seem somewhat less constrained about experimental science, do physics theory limitations actually limit physics experiments ? The answer to this seems to be a definite yes, since the physics experiments planned by me in the 1960's still in 2014 seem to have been done by nobody. And with technology today being all signal technology, physicists are still ignoring Gilbert-Newton style signal physics. But emerging economies science theory prejudices may be less deeply engrained, so 'come on China' !
To date there have been 4 basic types of causal theory explaining the behaviour of physical bodies, including gravity behaviour, that have had some substantial support. These have had variants, and there have been some other less well supported physics ideas also, but the 4 main theory types are characterised in the diagrams below ;
Of course there have long been some preferring 'non-causal
universe' physics often based on views of the universe having been created by
a God having chosen to create eg. a musical universe or a mathematical universe.
Hence early Kepler creationist physics included a Geometry Mathematics Physics
and a Music Mathematics Physics. And post-Einstein physics today maybe also
seems based on the view that mathematics is primary in the universe, with its Wave
Mathematics Physics and Quantum Mathematics Physics. Of course after Kepler
studied William Gilbert, he concluded that the universe is NOT really Mathematical
but is 'Experienceal', though Kepler's physics then went with a Descartes 'touch-push'
experience rather than a Gilbert 'signal response' experience. And such creationist
type physics requires not just a God creating the universe using existing laws of nature,
but a God creating the universe and also creating the laws of nature as Descartes
supposed in 'The World'.
Newton, the probably most astute of physicists ever if not always entirely correct, concluded that NO causal explanation fell within science proper and that EITHER of the causal theory types 2 or 3 above might be correct and give compatible mathematics. And comparison of the diagrams above suggests also that a post-Newton type 4 theory Einstein physics could be a mathematical mirror image of Gilbert type 2 physics.
Some of Newton's specific ideas were readily accepted, like his almost-new conclusion that terrestrial gravity and planet motion involved the same thing, but were not immediately taken as disproof of anybody. Newton's experimental disproofs of chunks of Descartes' logical physics were only fully accepted some generations on, and his main blackbox theory was never widely accepted by scientists. When there was a developed body of scientists their 'peer review' generally worked well for smaller bits of science, but often worked badly for big science ideas that required a complete rethink of established science. Now to many, physics is itself a religion and they fiercely fight against ideas that they see as 'against the mainstream' or ATM. Just like many religions witch-hunt Inquisitions against ideas that they see as 'against the gospel' or Heretic. So much physics debate has now perhaps really shrunk to small details only, though with them often being falsely presented as being 'fundamental'. And the strong prioritising of real experiment on physical systems by Galileo and Gilbert, became much weakened by those supporting instead model 'experiments' on physical models of physical systems, simulation 'experiments' on computer simulations of physical systems and thought 'experiments' on thoughts of physical systems. Since thoughts are really the opposite of experiments, the term 'thought experiment' is clearly a nonsense abuse of science language and should be more honestly termed 'imagined experiment'.
As an alternative chiefly to Descartes 'The Optics' 1637 push-physics optics theory, Christiaan Huygens (1629-1695) produced an early light wave theory, and later James Clerk Maxwell (1831-1879) developed light and 'force field' wave theory. And using such ideas, Michael Faraday (1791-1867) unsuccessfully tried to link gravity and electricity, saying 'The long and constant persuasion that all the forces of nature are mutually dependent, having one common origin, or rather being different manifestations of one fundamental power, has often made me think on the possibility of establishing, by experiment, a connection between gravity and electricity ... no terms could exaggerate the value of the relation they would establish.' Einstein also unsuccessfully tried the same later, though of course early physics had produced two theories each of which gave a common basic mechanism to all forces - in Gilbert/Newton attraction physics and in Descartes push physics. Both of these are now ignored by modern physics, though many physicists did make unsuccessful attempts to develop Descartes push physics while only Newton made any real attempt to develop attraction physics.
When Einstein arrived on the science scene later, he started with some smaller science ideas like the photoelectric effect and built-up to his bigger ideas like relativity. But special relativity had been basically developed before Einstein by others including Fitzgerald, Lorentz and Poincare though maybe with not as good writeups. And when Einstein claimed to disprove 'Newton's ether theory' - he was actually disproving Descartes, or rather the Lorentz modification of Descartes' ether, and was really ignoring and not disproving Newton's real physics or indeed Gilbert's. Descartes physics was the one with a rigid space and matter requirement and had no energy other than matter motion - unlike Gilbert and Newton physics which as such was really closer to Einstein's physics. Often a majority of scientists have rejected a better theory to support a weaker theory. And if England was one of the earliest centres of emergence of experimental science from before 1600, it was also early in the bureaucratising of science from around the 1700's that was to help limit its development for hundreds of years.
Interestingly, 2005 saw an attempt in the USA to introduce a new law called The Restore Scientific Integrity to Federal Research and Policymaking Act", requiring that science be controlled by government science agencies rather than by central government ! But the internet in 2009 looked close to opening up the long-closed shop of science publishing, as 41 Nobel laureates call for open access. Especially helped by one open-science website, Cornell University's arxiv.org, and maybe a little by this website and others. However 2010 raises some concern with Cornell considering some possible charging policies for future users of ArXiv.org to cover its rising running costs, hopefully limited to charging bigger institutional users and/or publishers or maybe it carrying paid advertising ? 2007 did see the UK's Channel 4 TV disprove the theory being supported by most environmental scientists that the Global Warming weather changes that Earth is getting now are NOT mainly due to man-made CO2 from burning oil, gas and coal. It certainly seems to be due to some other cause - natural or man-made ?
William Gilbert and others had strongly argued for science theory to be based on direct deduction from experience and experiment on natural phenomena only. But Kepler and to a lesser extent Newton supported a wider validity of general logical deduction as from mathematics in science theory, and Descartes even allowed religious deduction a basic role. (Newton did privately try but failed to develop his physics to fit with his religious ideas, and to develop its effluvia/spirits side and to develop chemistry.) And Einstein's adoption of 'thought experiments' has perhaps encouraged many physicists now to confine themselves to only logical theorising, now perhaps mostly based on manipulating equations or mathematical language ? Much modern physics theory now rests basically on 'mathematics experiment'. Of course as actual experiments have revealed more complex natural phenomena needing more complex maths, it is maybe understandable that real physics explanation has become more problematic. And experiments (like the Mitchelson-Morley experiment in our Albert Einstein section) are designed to try to demonstrate something specific, and strongly tend to being interpreted only in that regard even when they might more realistically be demonstrating something quite different in fact.
It seems well proven that many people can be correctly taught small bits of science. But it is not proven
that many people can be correctly taught major science theories, and substantial doubts regarding that
have been expressed by all four of the key physicists considered on this website.
Gilbert, Galileo, Descartes and Newton were all slow to publish their works and the latter three certainly claimed in some cases at least to be publishing only after major pressure from others to do so. In England, Gilbert waited until he felt that he had gained some sufficient support from Queen Elizabeth, and in France, Descartes' science waited until he felt that it had been made sufficiently acceptable to the prevailing catholic church.
Gilbert, Descartes and Newton certainly all saw one major problem to the teaching of any major new science as being previously learnt wrong thinking - or, as Newton explained in his Principia's introduction to Book 3, physicists having 'prejudices to which they had been many years accustomed'.
But they all seemed to also conclude that most people would never be able to correctly understand any major science. Gilbert specifically wrote that his work was not for the 'common person' or 'common scholar', while Newton basically said that his science rested only on the work of 'science giants'. Einstein explicitly said numbers of times that he did not believe that anybody fully understood his physics.
While small bits of science are certainly teachable, the history of physics theory certainly supports the conclusion that major science theories are actually almost unteachable. And that casts major doubt on the modern view that science generally can progress by 'peer review'. Clearly peer review should work fine for small bits of science, but might not work for major science theories.
And the history of physics theory does indeed seem to confirm just that. Gilbert's theory was correctly understood by almost nobody, as was the case with Newton's black-box physics and with Einstein's physics. Of course there are always lots of people who will falsely claim that they do correctly understand those theories. Science has always had lots of fools and liars posing as experts successfully, chiefly by understanding some smaller bits of science.
This maybe backs Gilbert's trusting chiefly in nature experience and experiment, more than in merely deductive or mathematical reasoning. But the biggest case of experience or experiment being itself misleading is of course the fact that on Earth it clearly appears that the Sun orbits the Earth every 24 hours - though we now know that it is actually the Earth revolving every 24 hours. Some of the supposedly key experiments of physics are probably open to different interpretations than those normally being assumed. And though useful human invention began BEFORE science developed, science ideas have helped motivate useful invention - even science ideas that were later fully disproved !
Is modern physics dumbed-down or what ?
In more recent years, developed countries governments have taken a strong lead in greatly dumbing-down and politicising education - including science education - pushing to a-degree-for-everybody policies that have cut the average IQ of modern 'scientists'. And in science, governments are now also pushing views of everything being relative and of assorted theorised ideas being as valid as fact based ideas - or non-science being as valid as real science. Physics theory, like most science theory, is being driven backwards to mere government-sponsored philosophy as governments have concluded incorrectly that science theory is unimportant and has little effect on technology. See Science Teaching Today, Cold War Science, and UK Science Funding.
2009 saw two 'physicists' claim proof that 'the LHC was disabled by a bird from the future' ;
"Sometime on Nov.3, the supercooled magnets in sector 81 of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), outside Geneva, began to dangerously overheat. Scientists rushed to diagnose the problem, since the particle accelerator has to maintain a temperature colder than deep space in order to work. The culprit? "A bit of baguette," says Mike Lamont of the control centre of CERN, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, which built and maintains the LHC. Apparently, a passing bird may have dropped the chunk of bread on an electrical substation above the accelerator, causing a power cut. The baguette was removed, power to the cryogenic system was restored and within a few days the magnets returned to their supercool temperatures. While most scientists would write off the event as a freak accident, two esteemed physicists have formulated a theory that suggests an alternative explanation: perhaps a time-travelling bird was sent from the future to sabotage the experiment. Bech Nielsen of the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen and Masao Ninomiya of the Yukawa Institute for Theoretical Physics in Kyoto, Japan, have published several papers over the past year arguing that the CERN experiment may be the latest in a series of physics research projects whose purposes are so unacceptable to the universe that they are doomed to fail, subverted by the future."
- Quoted from November 2009 Stealthfusion.com
The number of people entering science professions in more recent years is much greater than a hundred years ago, but in some respects the range of people entering science professions has been greatly narrowed. Hence though much good Physics has been done using relatively simple mathematics, and now a physicist will commonly have a computer or an assistant that can do more complex mathematics for them, but physics exams lately have generally been designed to fail all whose main interest is not mathematics. And much good Biology has been done using no art drawing, and now a biologist will commonly have a camera or an assistant that can do art drawings for them, but biology exams lately have generally been designed to fail all who have little interest in art drawing. Exams needed to enter science professions often severely limit the range of entrants and help limit the scope of the sciences concerned. This compounds science funder restrictions and science teaching restrictions.
Some bits of science with seemingly strong proofs are not believed by a majority of the public, though other bits of science that seem to have weaker proofs may be widely believed. This can be due to poor science teaching or due to the science being actually wrong, or in some case just really due to the science having some conflict with popular cultural thinking of the time. And the more science is contolled by governments the less is science trusted, because people know that governments commonly favour lying. Physics pushing ever more speculative and maybe untestable theories about time travel and multiple universes does not help either.
PS. For a very interesting and good if imperfect recent work on some issues of science history and theory from a philosophical viewpoint, see Laura Aline Ward's Objectivity in Feminist Philosophy of Science PDF 0.25mb to load !
The physics time chart below for the chief physicists considered here, has bars for when they lived and filled when their science chiefly published ;
Of these six physicists, only Gilbert and Newton seem to have studied most
physics theories available and Newton seems unique in being able to
both understand and use very different types of theory. Hence for
gravity Newton used Gilbert-like attraction theory but he also used
particle and wave theories elsewhere - while using a blackbox
theory and not committing to any one explanation theory. Gilbert
publishing very late in his life, had little time for defending or further
developing his theory.
It is common for modern physics theories to use terms like 'Mass' or 'Field' or 'Continuum' or 'Particle' or 'Wave' with no full or specific definition of the terms as applying to the theory, but with partial definitions or implied definitions that can contradict terms common or classical science meanings and can include logical contradictions. Definitions of 'Mass' for some theories have varied around 'amount or volume of matter', 'amount of inertia', 'amount of gravity production', 'amount of energy equivalence' and other meanings. So often the use of terms with no specified definition in modern physics means them having little or no real scientific meaning, try Google 'definitions'. Much modern physics can be taken as blackbox science where it is the mathematics of processes that is being defined rather than physical reality, and that may or may not be taken as generally being satisfactory. But mathematics can be taken as having no limits so that it can support anything, while actual nature has real limits. In principle experiment on nature should set limits to the mathematics acceptable in a science. But some particular science theory and its mathematics might fit well with the well established and understood experimental results of many common natural phenomena, while concentrating on the experimental results of some one abstruse natural phenomenon might not fit that theory well and may seem to fit some more abstruse theory and its mathematics better. It is not clear that this always disproves the first theory, though it may cast some doubt on it.
It is also common on modern physics websites to see comments asserted as being scientific like 'Revisionism is a serious offence'. (Google it !) This basically means 'Trying to disprove a current science theory is a serious offence' - and is of course what Galileo was put under house arrest for and other good early scientists were executed for. Current science's 'anti-revisionism' is really anti-science.
All science basically rests on physics and physics theory now is certainly dying, having been reduced to physicists debating a bunch of poorly defined partial physics theories none of which seem to offer any realistic chance of a provable complete physics theory to explain the full physical universe. Physics theory is now looking unprovable and, unless physicists wake up, may well soon become widely accepted as having died.
Experimental science may not need specific theories but its motivation does rest strongly on it seeming possible that science can explain the universe better than religious or other explanations. But soon religion could with seemingly good reason be proclaiming victory over a science slowly grinding to a halt. The world looks to be now advancing to a new Dark Ages, unless physicists can put aside their current physics prejudices and be open to really rethinking physics theory fundamentally. And that is what this site is chiefly about.
Early scientists were often very afraid to publish their real ideas, as were often the 'alchemists' many of whom who did not publish and only wrote in code for their own use but with some of that writing published after their death without permission. They were basically idea-anarchists and of course some were a little bolder than others, though often still moderating or self-censoring what they published so that science historians and translators often cannot clearly see their real ideas. But now contrary pressures are building on modern scintists to be afraid of NOT publishing, for fear of losing their funding and/or jobs, though any form of pressure is unhelpful to real science and for the social good is best applied to technology development and marketing only. Of course many confuse technology with science, as many confuse theory with science.
History is written by the winners, and this certainly holds for the history of science theory. Though science can be based on facts, in reality for any place and time, the 'mainstream science' will generally be whatever the mainstream goes with - for whatever generally undetermined actual reasons that may in fact differ little from those supporting religions or pseudosciences. In Chemistry and Biology the best theories seem to have generally won, but in physics maybe not. Certainly that was the conclusion of Isaac Newton when he decided to walk away from physics. It might be nice to think that physics theory has improved since then, but has it really ?
New Science Theory has to commend Google Books on
becoming a good new growing resource for older and rare books -
and increasingly so for early science books that are not readily
available otherwise. To search them yourself go to Google, More,
Books and then to Advanced Search and click FullView with an author
or book name.
New Science Theory will be keeping a keen eye on Google Books for good new additions that we can offer freely to you, this often depends on good universities or others helping Google - unfortunately far too few to date. You might do some real good for this world, by helping Google Books, if you have a good older science book that they do not now have in FullView or if yours is a better copy than Google Books have. Of course Google Search seems to favour websites with second-rate content that are popular like Twitter, Youtube and Wikipedia so Google Books may tend to do likewise for books. Hopefully this trend will be opposed.
For now, thanks to Google Books, you can download below from this site three great physics books in PDF ;
(if you need one, a good FREE PDF reader is available (from www.Adobe.com)
1. download Isaac Newton's Principia (1848 English 24.1mb - imperfect),
2. download Isaac Newton's Opticks (1730 English 16.2mb),
3. download William Gilbert's De Magnete (1600 Latin 27.6mb).
OR see our helpful book sections ;
USA science books or UK science books
USA Einstein books or UK Einstein books
USA Newton books or UK Newton books
USA Descartes books or UK Descartes books
USA Gilbert books or UK Gilbert books
PS. This site strongly believes that much more published science should be freely available to all on the internet - now there is regrettably too little available even on the many subscription sites. The 2012 UK government commissioned Finch Report gives some backing to support for 'Open Access' science publishing, to current government approved or funded science ( see http://www.researchinfonet.org/publish/finch/). But this is being promoted as just part of the increasing control over science by funders entitled to do so, though the best science like the best art maybe really requires more freedom for scientists and for artists. But a scientist refusing any conditional funding is now dismissed as 'amateur' and has a big struggle to get his science anywhere, though there have always been a few people happy to struggle for their science. And science chiefly impacts society through technology which is where social controls should chiefly be applicable. Science publishing should be somehow rewarded but not be enforced. Maybe the big search engines could be made to make small per-view payment to all websites they carry who could then pay royalty payments on anything they carry ? The internet should certainly try to have more science books and papers, and also more science computer models - nice working computer models of Gilbert's terrella, of Kepler's rudolphine tables, of Newton's tide forces, big bang models and more ? Ideally computer models that allow user inputting and good numerical result reporting. Some could use a spreadsheet like Excel that can do iterative calculation on equations to some accuracy. Our Android gravity app 'Sun Pull' in the Google Play app store is a basic example
Professional government-approved science in the West now seems to be increasing being challenged by a more enquiring Third World science, see Innovation in Asia. Today's many well paid western career scientists seem unable or unwilling to produce much of use for computer or internet users, but if YOU have or know of some good science that this site could host or could link to, then do tell us at New Science Theory.
Two sites to help inform you on what physicists and
astronomers are up to now are www.universetoday.com and http://physicsworld.com
Or for free online non-Google Latin translation (of course still very imperfect), see www.translation-guide.com/free_online_translations.htm
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