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History of Science - problems with the history of physics

physics history graphic Homepage . William Gilbert . Rene Descartes . Isaac Newton . Albert Einstein .... Science Philosophy .... General Image Theory ..... Sitemap physics history graphic
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Science teaching, in schools and in universities, now often includes bits of science history - and there are some courses specifically on History of Science. Much good science history work has been done and is being done, the major exception being much history of early physics up to and including Isaac Newton which is generally very bad and includes major errors. The education of most physicists in earlier physics 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 from prejudice built up by the 1600's as Newton noted and still ongoing. But physics history and textbooks are largely written by 'winners' who claimed to have but did not have the best physics, totally failing on William Gilbert and largely failing on Newton also and sticking us today with spacetime-continuum multiple-universe fiction-physics.

And while most old fiction works like Shakespeare's are freely available to all on the internet, old science works generally have 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 and on todays science which should be helping everybody being controlled chiefly by and for a powerful few. (see World Poverty)

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History and science history.

If basic science is basically experiment, then that started very early in human history, and science progress developed onwards from the earliest experiments that produced mankinds earliest tools and aids. But some historians chose to see 'science' as starting with alchemy etc by around 1200 or earlier while others see 'real science' as starting later in the 1500s with William Gilbert and Galileo who certainly helped establish modern developed science. Some earlier like English philosophers including William of Ockham saw causal knowledge as best obtained from experience or experiment, and he saw the Sun heating Earth, object perception and magnetism as best explained in line with his Occam's Razor by some action-at-distance physics rather than involving medium-action, God-power or motivated-objects as some others claimed then. (See Medieval Science) In earlier times churches of various religions were often among the social groups that most encouraged learning, if often in their case with some strict limits mostly with regards to complying with the wordings of their particular 'holy books'. However the Black Death first hitting Europe badly from around 1350 and the mini-Ice-Age from around 1400, destabilising life and government and religion, probably encouraged the major questioning and innovation that led to the Enlightenment and the emerging of modern science and of modern industry in Europe. But certainly Middle Ages philosophy and alchemy were not generally opposed by European governments or the prevailing Catholic Church then, probably largely because, unlike those the church called 'heretics' or 'pagans', they did not significantly challenge the words of the Bible that the church relied on. But when real science finally emerged around 1600 and it did begin to really challenge some words of the Bible, and did then draw strong opposition from the Catholic Church of that time who branded some leading scientists 'heretics'. The early Catholic Church official position on their Bible was that every word of it was absolute factual truth, and anyone disputing that was a heritic and not a true Catholic, but there have always been some who considered themselves Catholic but did not agree with that official position. The modern Catholic Church official position on their Bible is basically that most words of it are absolute factual truth, but a few words of it are 'poetic' and 'true at heart' but are not actual fact, and anyone disputing that is a heritic and not a true Catholic. But there are still some who consider themselves Catholic but do not agree with that official position. Also other churches, and indeed other religions, have often showed a similar range of positions which has often meant them conflicting with some science at some times. And of course science has often involved differing and changing positions on what it has claimed as being facts on different matters.

England's 1588 defeat of the Spanish Armada with a much smaller navy confirmed the fact that by then Protestant England's science and technology, with William Gilbert and without Francis Bacon, was ahead of Catholic Europe with their Galileo. England basically already had a more developed steel industry. And in early modern England an Agricultural Revolution and then an Industrial Revolution involved many new inventions, such as the 1730 Iron Plough of Joseph Foljambe and the 1733 Flying Shuttle of John Kay, and soon pushed England ahead of the world. And early English science from William Gilbert to Isaac Newton undoubtedly helped inspire that, along with English rulers like Queen Elizabeth 1 encouraging military improvements as in guns and ships and exploration. Yet on early science most science historians have concentrated entirely on the science of Galileo and mainland Europe and foolishly ignored the significant early English science of the time. The actual emergence of science was based on contributions from many countries but this website tries to present what is probably a somewhat more real science history than others. Human history can perhaps be best seen generally in terms of religion evolving from nature-magic with supposed spirits to multi-god religions to one-god religions, and science basicly evolving from nature-magic and technology change to astrology and alchemy spirits-science to astronomy and no-spirits natural-law-cause-science, with the 'religions' and 'sciences' often competing for support from the rich and the rulers. But it was earlier simpler magical thinking basicly growing more complex into both religion and science, and encouraging astronomy, mathematics and even philosophy. And astrology did involve accurate observation of the skies, while alchemy involved accurate chemical experiments - a limited advance on earlier 'simple magic'. But it was probably chiefly the development of technologies like fire, farming, wheel, metals etcetera that basicly drove the development of both new religious and scientific ideas. The early European science societies like the Royal College of Physicians of England had generally been preceded by earlier craft or technology bodies. Though philosophy was one of several things that somewhat helped with the emerging of experimental science, just confusing philosophy with science is both wrong and unhelpful. Those who wrongly insist on calling unsubstantiated notions 'science' instead of philosophy, just help undermine both philosophy and science. Hence often ideas like the idea of inertia did first begin as unsubstantiated philosophy notions, but later were backed by observational or experimental scientific evidence and so only then really became science. But the somewhat difficult 1600 Latin 'De Magnete' of William Gilbert is maybe the nearest early science equivalent of 'The Golden Bough' magic study of Sir James Frazer, or maybe that is this website ?

In reasonable defence of alchemy.

From around 1597-1625 in Germany, France, Holland and Sweden controvertial 'Rosicrucian' neo-christian and neo-alchemist texts advocated revolution in philosophy, religion and science, backed in England by Robert Fludd. This was opposed to traditional scholars and their book study, as was William Gilbert, and favoured direct investigation of nature 'supporting God'. Major proponents of change in Europe around then were perhaps Luther, Calvin and Descartes and in England maybe the dubious Francis Bacon. (see 'Universal Reform' Eds Hotson & Urbanek Vol 3, 'Reformation, revolution, renovation' by Lyke de Vries, Brill 2021.) Unlike most others of the time William Gilbert did distinguish chemists from alchemists, but many early scientists had studied alchemy and the like to at least some small extent enough to be partly influenced by some of its ideas. Alchemists were commonly said to have two main aims, firstly to change substances into other substances and especially change base metals like lead into noble metals like gold - and secondly to make or find an elixir of life to cure ageing and all disease. These two alchemy aims could perhaps be basically said to be aims to do chemistry and to do biology. Some alchemists did do some successful substance-changing chemistry mostly using fire and solvents, but they achieved nothing on changing elements since that can be done only using nuclear fission and/or nuclear fusion which are very complicated and expensive processes though the former has been used to make some radioactive elements. Alchemists attempts to do biology were even less successful, since handling much disease needs much detailed knowledge of the body and of germs, and to get anywhere with ageing almost certainly needs much better knowledge of the body and of genetics and evolution. Todays biology 'body-clock theory' seems quite inadequate, in requiring the evolution of one biological system that both takes a baby to a fit young adult and then also to an unfit old adult. That does not look like something evolution could do, and there is no other similar example at all. And some body systems like the immune system clearly function to keep a fit young adult fit and young, though genes seem to suffer from cumulative mutations, like computer files can, but seemingly have no body system to fix them. But maybe the body does actually have an evolved 'ScanGene' repair system similar to computer 'ScanDisk' repair systems. If so then ageing would just need the evolving of a switch that turns 'ScanGene' off, and that might possibly be somehow reversible ? So maybe both of the alchemists main aims might really be achievable, if not very easily, and with a human race afflicted by ageing and illness surely trying to fix these is not any bad aim ? And that some new substance from their first aim might help with this second aim maybe does not seem impossible either so that appropriate areas of experimental science today still have one or both of these alchemy aims while leaving out the gold-making claim that was used chiefly to lure rich sponsors. And if 'alchemists' from early witch-doctors and metal-workers helped develop experimental science, some early attempts at establishing science theory can be found in ancient-Greek atheist Atomist writings which were almost entirely destroyed by the early Christian church, but its ideas were basically saved, though in a less atomist and a dualist form allowing of Gods, by the Roman poet Lucretius (c99-55 BCE) in his De Rerum Natura (On the Nature of Things) published about 60BCE to a limited extent. This was discovered by Catholic scholar Poggio Bracciolini in a German monastery in January 1417 and after the circulation of maybe 50 handwritten copies it was first printed in 1473 and helped in encouraging the emergence of science. It was widely wrongly interpreted as presenting Greek atomism, but did present a rather different early attempt at presenting science-inclined ideas and is referenced 7 times in William Gilbert's 1600 De Magnete. But actually the chief support for ancient-Greek Atomism in Europe before Galileo adopted it was probably some alchemists including Daniel Sennert.

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 Enlightenment ideas and early science in Europe when war began between the new Protestant Christian church and the Roman Catholic Christian church. While in Europe the Middles Ages involved the domination of the Catholic Church and that being challenged and weakened allowed the Enlightenment and Science to emerge. The domination challenge basically involved religion-against-religion war into which parts of science were dragged sometimes significantly. But generally religions have somewhat reluctantly since become more tolerant of science as they have come to realise that they cannot disprove science, though sometimes only after doing significant harm to some areas of science. Hence in Europe the Enlightenment included the study of the ideas of other cultures like ancient Greece. So 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. Catholic-Protestant warring was extreme from about the 15th century to the 18th century but did eventually moderate. And 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 new theory change. Often the many smaller science people more readily adopt newer technologies while also 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 the career-scientist peer 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 in Europe 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 English scientist Isaac Newton who supported a similar physics theory, though neither seems to have much supported any of the main established churches of their time. And science historians have also at times not correctly understood the science that they try to explain. Science history is certainly done no good by the many modern 'science historians' who like to put down substantial scientists like Gilbert, Newton and Tesla by citing numbers of obscure alternative scientists who had done some related but much inferior science ! Of course science translators have also mostly done good work, but they have shared the same problems as science historians.

In early modern Europe the socially challenging Black Death was followed by the socially unsettling emerging war between the catholic christian church and new protestant christian churches which saw a sixteenth century mainland Europe becoming more concerned with philosophy and mathematics and an England becoming perhaps more concerned with technology and experiment. Big social challenges or projects like Pyramids or Great Walls have prompted social progress in other societies. But while the basic idea of experimental science was developed early in England as by Robert Grosseteste (1175–1253) from early Greek ideas though only as ideas and not really practiced till rather later with William Gilbert in England and Galileo in Italy. Gilbert, Galileo, Kepler, Descartes and Newton all noted and emphasised the constancy of the basic natural forces as with gravity and magnetism following some 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. Though wrongly discredited by catholic church Jesuits and others Gilbert's action-at-distance remote-control physics was basically backed by Newton, though not fully openly, 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 such. Most of the new physics theories 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. But a strong case can be made that it was really only in William Gilbert's physics that Isaac Newton's real physics could be seen.

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 also progressive. 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 new theories being given more publicity and hype. So, unlike much science, physics theory has not been very progressive. And there are still supporters of religious churches backing brands of physics theory now and holding their own often biased views of its history.

The motions of physical objects.

The first serious consideration of things like the motions of physical objects was probably by many early philosophers including ancient-Greeks Aristotle and Leucippus around 400 BC. Limited observational evidence on the motions of the Earth and other planets was put by earlier astronomers like Copernicus and Kepler around 1543-1619 AD. Then better evidence was added by the first actual experimental studies by scientists William Gilbert and Galileo around 1580-1640 AD with some theory ideas. Isaac Newton and Rene Descartes (or Des Cartes) then chiefly developed theory ideas further around 1640-1680 AD, though Newton's were largely misunderstood and mispresented as Cartesian theory with Newtonian maths. Einstein and others added various further conflicting theory ideas from especially around 1910-1930 AD, some reasonably widely supported though no one theory getting very wide support among all physicists. And around 1962-2022 AD Vincent Wilmot tried to develop a single theory or single set of compatible theories which is maybe still not yet finished.

Science and science theory.

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. The early Christian church from the fourth century backed Aristotlean science against Atomist science which it then saw as Godless. But the catholic church Jesuit Order was founded to counter non-Catholic ideas, and with its backing modern science from around the seventeenth century largely adopted the Atomist push-physics with some minor modifications. Interestingly Gilbert produced a largely not understood new 'active matter with law determinism' signal physics that was basically backed only by a few in England like Robert Hooke and Isaac Newton.

Early forms of experiment alchemy emerged perhaps independently in the Chinese, Indian and ancient-Greek/Roman civilizations usually combined with some mysticism, more as an alternative development from magic like religion. It died out there but only to re-emerge 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 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 nature observations or experiments. This was basically opposed by all religion though maybe somewhat more by the Catholic Church more strongly backing belief im miracles and holy relics and a view that truth best comes from the words of particular holy books or holy men. Of course individual scientists while committed to science did often also perhaps perversely have some religious beliefs.

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.

Problems with science history.

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. And relativity, quantum mechanics and modern physics theory were basically developed before remotes and computers became common and they and other 'modern physics' have failed to incorporate the main modern technology ideas that were anticipated in Gilbert's physics and its part-development by Newton. This was like Hero of Alexandria, a Greek or Egyptian in Roman Egypt, who published the basic ideas both of steam-power and of wind-power about 100 AD and so long anticipating their much later full development. So windmills only became common from around 850 AD in the Arab middle-east, to around 1200 AD in Western Europe, and steam-engines only became common from around 1700 in England.

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.)

It can seem natural or necessary to judge the science of a scientist from their publications and mostly that works. But sometimes a scientist can significantly mispresent their science ideas, as especially often happened in early science from the 1500s to the 1700s. That was a period when other scientists, church people, political people or others often attacked a scientist and his science ideas like they attacked 'heretics' perhaps very improperly and even misusing or threatening the law against a scientist. Hence in England initially William Gilbert presented his science as 'just about magnets' when he actually had a much bigger physics and Isaac Newton presented his physics as 'not judging hypotheses' while disproving some physics hypotheses, and in Italy then Galileo was presenting some of his science as fictional Greek dialogues.

Of the chief 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 backing a vacuum and also a particulate view of both gasses and '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' (with Air as being 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 any scientific disproofs. 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 at least now most certainly 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 action-at-distance 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 physics today is somewhat less constrained about experiment, do physics theory errors and limitations actually limit physics experiments today ? The answer to this seems to be a definite yes, since the physics experiments planned by me in the 1960's still in 2022 seem to have been done by nobody. The best of religions and of governments can certainly act against aspects of science that they come to think may adversely affect their religion or politics, hence aspects of nuclear science have long been opposed by the CIA, MI5 and other such government bodies. And despite technology today being all signal technology, physicists are still ignoring Gilbert-Newton style signal physics. But emerging-economies science theory prejudices may be somewhat less deeply engrained, so hopefully 'come on China' ?!

science history graphic

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 ;

1. God/Magic physics

god / magic science picture

2. Gilbert physics ............................................... 3. Descartes physics

william gilbert physics picture - rene descartes physics picture

4. Einstein physics

albert einstein physics picture

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.

Since the start of science, some significant supporters of religion have attacked science though that has maybe been somewhat reducing recently. But in the past religion has mostly been more popular than science, though that is now reversing in more progressive countries. Still supporters of science have to date resisted attacking religion. But science has been closely studying many areas and aspects of the universe, and ;
1. has found no real actual evidence for the existance of any God.
2. has found no real actual evidence for the existance of any Heaven.
3. has found no real actual evidence for the existance of any Hell.
4. has found no real actual evidence for the existance of any Miracles.
The logical conclusion from this is that the real actual existance of any God, Heaven, Hell or Miracles is very unlikely and religions are most likely based on fictions, lies and cheating. Of course science can also have substantial doubtful areas as in theories by Einstein and others especially it seems concerning physics and astronomy where particular interpretations of some experiments or observations may be taken when contrary interpretations may be as feasible. Scientists will often strongly defend some very doubtful pieces of science that they should be doubting, though much of science may be well founded with good evidence.

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 ! There is now increasing pressure in favour of 'Open Science' or 'Perfect Science' and against normal science. So 2020 US government ruled that only 'Perfect Science' could be used by US government. As there actually is no 'Perfect Science', US government now can use no science and so some support for 'Perfect Science' is actually opposition to actual science. Increasingly governments seem to support only 'government-approved science' which with governments commonly favouring selective secrecy and lying is likely to chiefly mean fake-science becoming predominant. And increasingly in more countries the media is basically supporting such fake-science as in Fox TV's much-pushed 'Ancient Aliens' show. But the internet by 2009 did look 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, 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 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 some 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 at least partly 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.

The Unteachability of Science

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' or 'crucial' experiments of physics are probably open to different interpretations than those normally being assumed for them. 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

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.

The windmill, compass and telescope saw Gilbert, Galileo and other emerging science driven by ideas driven by emerging technology. But some science ideas with seemingly strong proofs are not believed by a majority of the public, though other science ideas 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. The scientific revolution really needed restrictive church-government to be destabilised as happened in Europe's 'Reformation'. Even today the more ideas and science are controlled by governments the less is science trusted, because people now 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 !

science history graphic

The physics time chart below for the chief physicists considered here, has bars for when they lived and filled when their science chiefly published ;

William . Johannes . Galileo .. Rene ....... Isaac .... Nikola ... Albert .
Gilbert .... Kepler .... Galilei . Descartes . Newton .. Tesla .. Einstein

physics history timeline picture

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.

The death of 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 scientists 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.

In history what the facts really are is one thing, but what people wrongly believe the facts are can have much stronger real effects. History has often been driven as much by lies as by facts, and untruth has often driven religions and wars and even science. What is taught as being factual 'history' mostly gets written falsely by history's 'winners', and this certainly holds for the history of physics theory. While the Islamic religion made politics subservient to religion and successfully killed-off an earlier attempted emergence of Arabic science, Christianity and the Catholic church failed to do the same in Europe as governments there followed ancient Greece, Rome, Egypt and China in making religion subservient to politics. 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 ? Science today finds itself stuck with too much fake physics and fake medicine often based on mere theorising and mere statistics, and often going with fake governments or fake religions of course posing as the truth. No matter how many facts are shown as seemingly contrary to Einstein's physics or Standard Model physics they are still taken as remaining right, but one fact seemingly contrary to Newton's physics is taken as completely disproving all Newton ? Though science was not just developed by some few 'science giants', there has been a few who made notably more significant contributitions to its development. Hence if asked to name a 'King of Physics' many in physics might name Copernicus, Galileo, Newton or Einstein - but evidence given across this website might seem to really support William Gilbert as much as any of them.

On the fake 'disproof' of action-at-distance physics theory

William Gilbert's new action-at-distance physics struggled in the very cut-throat Europe of the time. Some in chiefly Catholic Europe resented any ideas such as action-at-distance coming from non-Catholics, so Galileo and some others vaguely praised Gilbert's experiments while totally ignoring Gilbert's physics theory. Some in Protestant Europe like Francis Bacon and Robert Hooke maybe wanted to steal some of the ideas of action-at-distance promoters for their own self-promotion, so they also vaguely praised Gilbert's experiments while falsely claiming bits of Gilbert's physics theory ideas as their own.

What began as Protestant action-at-distance physics theory developed through William Gilbert, Isaac Newton and Nikola Tesla, but from its start was strongly opposed by early catholic church Popes and their Jesuits who somewhat reluctantly instead backing Galileo-Descartes push-physics theory. While anti-protestant physics theory seemingly won, it was a hollow victory with no fruits of victory - for the Industrial Revolution and later remote-control technologies then developed in protestant North-West Europe and protestant North America, and not in catholic South-East Europe or catholic South America. Nikola Tesla's work on remote action-at-distance physics led to remote radio and tv technologies, remote phone and radioastronomy technologies and to other remote technologies. But the work of Einstein on his relativity physics, even 100 years later, has still produced little or no new technology, and certainly not the time-travel it implied. So today almost every person carries a remote-communication device and almost every home has at least one remote-control device - and nobody has time-travel. Relativity, Quantum Mechanics and String Theory have produce little new technology and a science that produces little or nothing is surely little or nothing.

But there are still one or two physicists who today basically support action-at-distance physics theory as the best and correct physics theory basis, while lesser modern physics theories fight uselessly among themselves. Some of the bad mistakes of early physics theory history still basically persist and are still significantly restricting 21st century physics today, and chiefly stem from failures to properly understand and evaluate William Gilbert's physics and the major Kepler and Newton advances that really developed from that. Hopefully the new improved English trantslation of William Gilbert's 1600 Latin 'De Magnete' may help explain it correctly. It is available as an A4 book or an ebook at 'On The Magnet', or is currently free to read online here at On The Magnet. The path to real science truths is undoubtedly still chiefly the observation/ experiment/ deduction path so strongly advocated by William Gilbert, who everyone claiming to be a scientist or a science historian should really study.

The fight for truth and for true science

It has long been the case that governments and religions have strongly opposed some truths that they found uncomfortable - as by those talking about nuclear dangers, war dangers, pollution dangers, government dangers or religion dangers etcetera. At the extreme they have had a few people supporting such uncomfortable truths killed, but they have more often found a few years prison enough to silence opponents especially when combined with some further action to constrain their lives. Governments and religions can also use their secret services and apologists as to invent or exaggerate a criminal charge and to press a judge to a guilty verdict and maximum sentence, or to press a person's boss or professor to limit their career progress. Italy's Galileo and France's Descartes were Catholics who despite some initial opposition from the church helped ancient-Greek Atomist push-physics suppress the really better action-at-distance-physics of Protestant England's William Gilbert and Isaac Newton who themselves also faced opposition from some fellow English Protestants like Francis Bacon and Robert Hooke. So supporters of uncomfortable truth have most often been successfully silenced as their lives were adversely affected and also the lives of their partners and children if they had such. These very underhand actions are at times additional to supporting false claims that the uncomfortable truths are untruths and falsely debasing supporter reputations. And of course with thought often being seen as less uncomfortable than actual science experiment, it is notable how modern physics basically now follows the chief requirement of the Catholic Inquisition trial of Galileo that he "must present his science as being only thought". Today even funding for physics experiment is now chiefly concerned with dealing with theoretical thought issues rather than being more uncomfortable basic experiment. False popular physics theory has long blocked physics progress, as one piece of false popular theory in medicine has blocked one area of medical progress, see Medicine Frozen. The same has long applied in physics and in physics funding, with private funding largely organised by universities and charities whose science already gets much government funding.

science history graphic

Google Books - a new growing resource

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. But unfortunately governments have allowed Google Books to become substantially frozen in legal shackles, only very partly circumvented by some Google-supporting parties like The HathiTrust Research Centre.

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
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).

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 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.

Unfortunately today many get their 'science' from Wikipedia and Discovery Channel which do have some good bits of truth, but with big chunks of rubbish mixed in regurgitating poor modern science textbooks - though not quite as bad as the anti-science History Channel with its repeatedly claimed false 'proofs of aliens' and 'proofs of conspiracies'. The first substantial and fraudulent poor science textbook was undoubtedly Mark Ridley's 1613 magnetism textbook 'A short treatise of magneticall bodies and motions' which stole the published experimental work of William Gilbert's 1600 'De Magnete' and published it as his own without the relevant science reasoning and theory that Gilbert had presented it with and so grossly misrepresented Gilbert's science. But poor science textbooks today are being consolidated into our modern Wikipedia-style computer systems tending to freeze science history to wrongly make permanent any false past ideas of science? So this helps prevent todays scientists from considering the physics of Gilbert and Newton objectively, forcing scientists to take them as permanently disproven and so making any past science errors unfixable ? Universities have now basically stopped teaching Gilbert's and Newton's physics and are really leaving that to Wikipedia which does a very poor biased error-ridden job of it so that any science error that has become widespread is almost uncorrectable in Wikipedia because of how Wikipedia works. And modern physics theories are mostly based on some one interpretation of some one supposedly 'key' or 'crucial' experiment which is probably open to different interpretations than those normally being assumed for them. But thousands of observations and experiments still support Gilbert-Newton physics theory, and relying on some one experiment is not good science proof but is really just tricky argument. But most modern physics theory is basically just tricky argument and is bad science. So even professional government-approved science in the West is now often looking increasingly dubious and seems to be increasing being challenged by a somewhat more enquiring Third World science, see Innovation in Asia. Today's science peer-review systems and science government-grant systems reward those producing lots of short speculative papers with fashionable headline titles, and severely punish those wanting to do real science work. So now physics is stuck producing adhoc bits of speculative 'theory' and repeating the same old 'atom-smashing' collider experiments at slightly increasing velocities. Generally modern times are seeing the internet producing a paradigm shift in our relationship to knowledge, from an ‘information knowledge age’ to more a ‘reputation knowledge age’. So modern physics time-travel and multi-world ideas look much more based on peer-review inflated reputations, increasingly influenced by government funding and regulation, than on physics facts - and modern physics 'peer-review' is now almost entirely just weak academics wrongly backing eachother. For others now seeing modern physics as having abandoned reality see 'Farewell to Reality: How Modern Physics Has Betrayed the Search for Scientific Truth' by Jim Baggott 2013 and 'Lost in Math, How Beauty Leads Physics Astray' by Sabine Hossenfelder 2018 June. Science now having done some millions of experiments, there is almost certainly some experiment that disproves or appears to disprove every science theory but which are being ignored by scientists who are studying ever more narrowly ? And in physics now experiment funding is confined to repeating old pre-1940s atom-smashing collision experiments at slightly increasing energies only so that real physics has halted. Some real biology and chemistry is still continuing now, but they will undoubtedly soon follow physics and bring all real science to a halt. And they will likely soon also follow physics theory where today 'whatever is proved is true' has been replaced with 'whatever is popular now is true'. Unless maybe somehow some lottery funders or some other new funders can start to fund real science experimenting ?

Technological and economic progress has commonly rested on basic physics and other science experiment. The greatest advance for medicine was basic physics experiment producing the microscope, and medicine most probably still needs such basic physics experiment though nobody is funding that now with physics dominated by thought-experiment and particle-colliding experiment and today medical research funding is not helping that. Climate science probably also needs such basic physics experiment as is not being done. Of course political parties rarely seriously discuss science policies and unfortunately neither do most scientists, so that I having planned some basics physics experiments in the 1960s when I was expecting to do a physics degree at Imperial College London find now in 2022 those basic physics experiments have still not been done by anybody. Science experiment now is very restricted and can produce only limited small advances.

Different countries at different times have seen varying levels of social censorship or regulation of art, religion and/or science. Generally religion and science competed for peoples support, often mediated by or using the arts. It did look as though over the last century or two the most progressive countries were increasingly backing science more and religions less. But more recently in USA and elsewhere this is apparently being reversed with increasing criticism and controls chiefly being applied to science. This is not helped by some areas of science today being poorer science as with theoretical physics, statistical medicine and maybe climatology. But the main reality is that mounting population pressures, generally encouraged by religions, mean that good science is needed now more than ever before. But there is now maybe little chance of stopping Global Warming from soon ending the human race, because Global Warming is being boosted by population growth pushed by governments boosting GDP and by some big churches pushing population and by improving medicine and humanitarian aid cutting deaths. And helped by governments costly funding of repeated atom-smashing experiments that offer little, instead of funding new basic science experiments on stuff like gravity that might give a big breakthrough that could save us from global warming and need cost nothing ? Politicians may say that they will deal with it, but they may have left it too late so that now it has probably gone too far for politicians to be able to stop it with current technology. So maybe governments now need to moderate religions more, and maybe now need to encourage charities to support new basic science more ? And maybe governments could for example make science websites in their country free to run as well as to read, like this UK science website maybe ?

Translators of science often concentrate on doing the most accurate language translation, and historians of science on doing the most accurate history dates etcetera. This is certainly itself good as their chief job but can commonly be entirely ruined by a failure to fully understand the science that they are presenting, which can easily happen because often textbooks get areas of science wrong especially in physics and the scientists themselves can often be poor at presenting their science ideas clearly. In science the biggest such problems are in physics where science historians and science translators most commonly wrongly take 'widely-approved' and 'widely-disapproved' as implying 'proved' and 'disproved' when no actual proofs or disproofs exists. So we should of course doubt 'science historians' and 'science translators' if they don’t well understand the science they discuss, as is commonly the case for those discussing action-at-distance physics relating to William Gilbert, Kepler, Newton and Tesla ? For this especially read free online at Gilbert's 'On The Magnet', or buy the paperback at 'On The Magnet'. Of course this problem also applies to many discussing more modern physics, who also should be doubted.

Religions are now pushing governments worldwide to enchain scientists with increasing 'Open Science' or 'Open Access' and other science work restrictions. Currently it rests on a claimed justification of science being publicly funded justifying the public imposing restrictions on scientists, but undoubtedly soon no justification will be deemed needed other than a claimed 'danger' of science. But really it remains that religions and their anti-science are a greater danger to the world as they have long been and on whom greater public restrictions should be applied. And religions still have many supporters who can make false claims, hoping their great number can supress the truth as it often has. If some science can destroy and is embraced by the world. And if some science could help the world but is ignored. Should a good scientist quit ? Of course science history may not have gone entirely that way, but may have gone substantially that way. Certainly it seems that society now needs to take a better approach to science ? History does have some tricky problems, as shown by for example one 'conspiracy theory' regarding Nikola Tesla.

science history graphic

Two sites to help inform you on what physicists and astronomers are up to now are and
Or for free online non-Google Latin translation (of course still very imperfect), see

IF you like this site then you could maybe make a donation ;
It will help with site development, and just possibly with some key basic physics experiments long planned but never afforded.
[PS. and you may perhaps help make history for science ?]
(It is over a hundred years after Einstein's science and still we have no time machine today, though some would prefer a gadget that produces gravity which also we still do not have ? Maybe today most governments education and science setups and funding have become too bureaucratic to allow really big science advance, so we now get only small incremental science despite many loud hype claims to the contrary ? More than any other area of science, experimental physics has in recent times become entirely institutionalised so that now an individual physicist is only acknowledged or funded if they are part of some instititution. Of course institutions have some real benefit (akin to mass-production) as in being good at 'getting stuff done', if it is basically standard conventional mainstream stuff rather than real original science stuff. The many supporters of institutional science now increasingly push views that individual scientists should be acknowledged less and the gangs of institutional scientists more. But substantial science really rests on individual unconstrained originality which in physics is now dead, as those working in institutions are working constrained, and real physics can only return if at least some science funders can be changed to backing some real non-institutional individual science though that seems very unlikely now. And the fictional time-travel and multi-universe type ideas of modern physics theory have long totally discouraged certain lines of physics experiment despite there being strong reasons to believe them to be very promising if not essential lines of experiment. Some such lines of experiment considered here identified as early as the 1960s seem still to have had no work done on them and there is maybe not much more time here for this. Science funding both government and private unfortunately now all goes to basically safe standard mainstream science, and no money at all goes to any really innovative risky science that might pay a thousand times greater. Maybe people writing their wills should now consider leaving something to some basics science experiment programs ?)

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