Chapter

Queen of the Sciences

in When Physics Became King

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print March 2005 | ISBN: 9780226542010
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226542003 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226542003.003.0001
Queen of the Sciences

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This book is an attempt to provide an engaging and accessible cultural history of nineteenth-century physics that brings together the significant developments in understanding in that field. The book also looks at its cultural connections over the last few decades. Each chapter of the book focuses on a particular theme in the nineteenth-century history of physics and follow it through the century. There are some very clear themes running through all the chapters. The first thing that should be clear is that the main business of physics—the thorough investigation of nature and the effort to understand nature's workings as the outcome of universal physical laws—was crucially dependent on a range of cultural and material resources. In particular, the book investigates the cultural and material resources that went into constructing the ether. Another thread running through the book is the importance of institution building in establishing physics as a discipline. It is hoped that this book will provide at least some indication of just how important the history of physics is as a part of understanding the historical development of our own modern industrial and consumer culture.

Keywords: physics; physical laws; cultural resources; material resources; ether

Chapter.  8167 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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