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  • Rudolf Ladenburg and the first quantum interpretation of optical dispersion
    Eur. Phys. J. H (IF 1.483) Pub Date : 2020-09-28
    Marta Jordi Taltavull

    In 1921, the experimental physicist Rudolf Ladenburg put forward the first quantum interpretation of optical dispersion. Theoretical physicists had tried to explain dispersion from the point of view of quantum theory ever since 1913, when Niels Bohr proposed his quantum model of atom. Yet, their theories proved unsuccessful. It was Ladenburg who gave a breakthrough step toward our quantum understanding

  • Ryogo Kubo in his formative years as a physicist
    Eur. Phys. J. H (IF 1.483) Pub Date : 2020-09-16
    Hiroto Kono

    The Japanese theoretical physicist Ryogo Kubo made remarkable contributions to statistical mechanics and condensed matter physics, amongst which his name is most widely associated with the linear response theory. Despite his importance in the history of modern physics, however, historians have paid him little attention. Using his unpublished manuscripts in a newly organized archive, this paper examines

  • Real or not real that is the question...
    Eur. Phys. J. H (IF 1.483) Pub Date : 2020-09-14
    Reinhold A. Bertlmann

    My discussions with John Bell about reality in quantum mechanics are recollected. I would like to introduce the reader to Bell’s vision of reality which was for him a natural position for a scientist. Bell had a strong aversion against “quantum jumps” and insisted to be clear in phrasing quantum mechanics, his “words to be forbidden” proclaimed with seriousness and wit – both typical Bell characteristics

  • Masters and students in Italian Physics between the 19th and 20th centuries: the Felici-Bartoli-Stracciati-Corbino case
    Eur. Phys. J. H (IF 1.483) Pub Date : 2020-08-05
    Giovanni Battimelli, Adele La Rana, Paolo Rossi

    In the second half of the 19th century, a special practice of research and training in physics took shape in Pisa, characterized by a particular attention to theoretical studies and to combining experimental activity with a profound mastery of mathematical tools. This peculiar approach, started by Carlo Matteucci and Ottaviano Mossotti, continued and spread by Riccardo Felici, Enrico Betti, Adolfo

  • The concept of velocity in the history of Brownian motion
    Eur. Phys. J. H (IF 1.483) Pub Date : 2020-07-09
    Arthur Genthon

    Interest in Brownian motion was shared by different communities: this phenomenon was first observed by the botanist Robert Brown in 1827, then theorised by physicists in the 1900s, and eventually modelled by mathematicians from the 1920s, while still evolving as a physical theory. Consequently, Brownian motion now refers to the natural phenomenon but also to the theories accounting for it. There is

  • Charles Galton Darwin’s 1922 quantum theory of optical dispersion
    Eur. Phys. J. H (IF 1.483) Pub Date : 2020-05-29
    Benjamin Johnson

    The quantum theory of dispersion was an important conceptual advancement which led out of the crisis of the old quantum theory in the early 1920s and aided in the formulation of matrix mechanics in 1925. The theory of Charles Galton Darwin, often cited only for its reliance on the statistical conservation of energy, was a wave-based attempt to explain dispersion phenomena at a time between the theories

  • Erratum to: E. Cartan’s attempt at bridge-building between Einstein and the Cosserats - or how translational curvature became to be known as torsion
    Eur. Phys. J. H (IF 1.483) Pub Date : 2020-05-05
    Erhard Scholz

    ω symbol was erroneously capitalized in several equations and in the text of the article. The Publisher’s erratum provides the correct article. The Publisher apologizes for the inconvenience.

  • Stellar equilibrium vs. gravitational collapse
    Eur. Phys. J. H (IF 1.483) Pub Date : 2020-02-11
    Carla Rodrigues Almeida

    The idea of gravitational collapse can be traced back to the first solution of Einstein’s equations, but in these early stages, compelling evidence to support this idea was lacking. Furthermore, there were many theoretical gaps underlying the conviction that a star could not contract beyond its critical radius. The philosophical views of the early 20th century, especially those of Sir Arthur S. Eddington

  • Memories of my early career in relativity physics
    Eur. Phys. J. H (IF 1.483) Pub Date : 2019-11-15
    Andrzej Trautman; Donald Salisbury

    This interview is focused on university studies and early career in relativity physics including thesis work under Leopold Infeld dealing with gravitational waves. Trautman’s recollections include the collaboration with Ivor Robinson and relationships with relevant personalities like Felix Pirani, Jerzy Plebanski, Roger Penrose and Peter Bergmann.

  • Luis Santaló and classical field theory
    Eur. Phys. J. H (IF 1.483) Pub Date : 2019-10-25
    Mariano Galvagno; Gaston Giribet

    Considered one of the founding fathers of integral geometry, Luis Santaló has contributed to various areas of mathematics. His work has applications in number theory, in the theory of differential equations, in stochastic geometry, in functional analysis, and also in theoretical physics. Between the 1950’s and the 1970’s, he wrote a series of papers on general relativity and on the attempts at generalizing

  • The magic of Feynman’s QED: from field-less electrodynamics to the Feynman diagrams
    Eur. Phys. J. H (IF 1.483) Pub Date : 2019-10-15
    Olivier Darrigol

    For some time, even after the Feynman diagrams and rules were publicly known, the foundations of Feynman’s quantum electrodynamics remained mostly private. Its stupendous efficiency then appeared like magic to most of his competitors. The purpose of this essay is to reveal the hidden contrivances of this magic, in a journey from field-less electrodynamics to the Feynman diagrams.

  • History of accelerator neutrino beams
    Eur. Phys. J. H (IF 1.483) Pub Date : 2019-10-02
    Ubaldo Dore; Pier Loverre; Lucio Ludovici

    Neutrino beams obtained from proton accelerators were first operated in 1962. Since then, neutrino beams have been intensively used in particle physics and evolved in many different ways. We describe the characteristics of various neutrino beams, relating them to the historical development of the physics studies and discoveries. We also discuss some of the ideas still under consideration for future

  • A note on Lorentz transformations and simultaneity in classical physics and special relativity
    Eur. Phys. J. H (IF 1.483) Pub Date : 2019-09-25
    Angelo Pagano; Emanuele V. Pagano

    Since early models of wave propagation in both stationary and moving media during the nineteenth century, the Lorentz transformation (LT) has played a key role in describing characteristic wave phenomena, e.g., the Doppler shift effect. In these models LT connects two different events generated by wave propagations, as observed in two reference systems and the synchronism is absolute. In relativistic

  • Gravitation and general relativity at King’s College London
    Eur. Phys. J. H (IF 1.483) Pub Date : 2019-09-02
    D. C. Robinson

    This essay concerns the study of gravitation and general relativity at King’s College London (KCL). It covers developments since the nineteenth century but its main focus is on the quarter of a century beginning in 1955. At King’s research in the twenty-five years from 1955 was dominated initially by the study of gravitational waves and then by the investigation of the classical and quantum aspects

  • Searching for a response: the intriguing mystery of Feynman’s theoretical reference amplifier
    Eur. Phys. J. H (IF 1.483) Pub Date : 2019-08-06
    Vincenzo d’Alessandro; Santolo Daliento; Marco Di Mauro; Salvatore Esposito; Adele Naddeo

    We analyze Feynman’s work on the response of an amplifier performed at Los Alamos and described in a technical report of 1946, as well as lectured on at the Cornell University in 1946–47 during his course on Mathematical Methods. The motivation for such a work was Feynman’s involvement in the Manhattan Project, for which the necessity emerged of feeding the output pulses of counters into amplifiers

  • Einstein’s working sheets and his search for a unified field theory
    Eur. Phys. J. H (IF 1.483) Pub Date : 2019-08-02
    Tilman Sauer

    The Einstein Archives contain a considerable collection of calculations in the form of working sheets and scratch paper, documenting Einstein’s scientific preoccupations during the last three decades of his life until his death in 1955. This paper provides a brief description of these documents and some indications of what can be expected from a more thorough investigation of these notes.

  • On Ludvig Lorenz and his 1890 treatise on light scattering by spheres
    Eur. Phys. J. H (IF 1.483) Pub Date : 2019-07-30
    Jeppe Revall Frisvad; Helge Kragh

    This paper offers background and perspective on a little-known memoir by Ludvig Lorenz on light scattering by spheres, which was published in Danish in 1890. It is a companion to an English translation of the memoir appearing separately. Apart from introducing Lorenz and some of his contributions to optics and electrodynamics, the paper focuses on the emergence, content and reception of the 1890 memoir

  • From Varenna (1970) to Como (1995): Kurt Binder’s long walk in the land of criticality
    Eur. Phys. J. H (IF 1.483) Pub Date : 2019-07-09
    Michel Mareschal

    This paper aims at contributing to the history of early computational statistical mechanics. The topic concerns the physics near a critical point and how long it took for Monte Carlo (MC) simulations to be seriously considered by the community as a valid and important tool to analyze critical phenomena. We will focus on one of the leading scientific figures behind this effort: Kurt Binder, whose scientific

  • LAA: a project using dedicated funding to develop technology for high-energy physics experiments
    Eur. Phys. J. H (IF 1.483) Pub Date : 2019-04-09
    Thomas Taylor; Horst Wenninger; Antonino Zichichi

    In the mid-1980s, the cost of investment in infrastructure for particle accelerators and colliders at the highest energy had risen to such level that the host laboratory (CERN) could no longer afford the cost of development of new detector technology required for the experiments. Large particle colliders were identified by the tools of the future for high-energy physics research, and a long-term view

  • E. Cartan’s attempt at bridge-building between Einstein and the Cosserats – or how translational curvature became to be known as torsion
    Eur. Phys. J. H (IF 1.483) Pub Date : 2019-02-19
    Erhard Scholz

    Élie Cartan’s “généralisation de la notion de courbure” (1922) arose from a creative evaluation of the geometrical structures underlying both, Einstein’s theory of gravity and the Cosserat brothers generalized theory of elasticity. In both theories groups operating in the infinitesimal played a crucial role. To judge from his publications in 1922–24, Cartan developed his concept of generalized spaces

  • The traveling-wave tube in the history of telecommunication
    Eur. Phys. J. H (IF 1.483) Pub Date : 2019-01-16
    Damien F. G. Minenna; Frédéric André; Yves Elskens; Jean-François Auboin; Fabrice Doveil; Jérôme Puech; Élise Duverdier

    The traveling-wave tube is a critical subsystem for satellite data transmission. Its role in the history of wireless communications and in the space conquest is significant, but largely ignored, even though the device remains widely used nowadays. This paper presents, albeit non-exhaustively, circumstances and contexts that led to its invention, and its part in the worldwide (in particular in Europe)

  • The large tokamak JT-60: a history of the fight to achieve the Japanese fusion research mission
    Eur. Phys. J. H (IF 1.483) Pub Date : 2018-11-23
    Mitsuru Kikuchi

    Fusion research was driven by the oil shocks in 1970’s and the concern about climate change during 20th century. This paper addressed the scientific research history of JT-60, the tokamak that achieved record fusion performances and opened the way toward the continuous operation of a tokamak fusion reactor through its scientific discoveries. The paper also highlighted technical struggles to improve

  • Strong turbulence, self-organization and plasma confinement
    Eur. Phys. J. H (IF 1.483) Pub Date : 2018-10-26
    Akira Hasegawa; Kunioki Mima

    This paper elucidates the close connections between hydrodynamic models of two-dimensional fluids and reduced models of plasma dynamics in the presence of a strong magnetic field. The key element is the similarity of the Coriolis force to the Lorentz force. The reduced plasma model, the Hasegawa–Mima equation, is equivalent to the two-dimensional ion vortex equation. The paper discusses the history

  • An interview with Roald Sagdeev: his story of plasma physics in Russia, 1956–1988
    Eur. Phys. J. H (IF 1.483) Pub Date : 2018-10-23
    Roald Z. Sagdeev; Patrick H. Diamond

    This oral history interview presents Roald Z. Sagdeev’s story of plasma physics in Russia. It chronicles the Russian school’s achievements in basic, laboratory, fusion and space plasma physics. The interview begins with memories of Sagdeev’s graduate student days in Moscow and then describes his work at the Kurchatov Institute of Atomic Energy (1956–1961), the Budker Institute of Nuclear Physics in

  • The origin of computational statistical mechanics in France
    Eur. Phys. J. H (IF 1.483) Pub Date : 2018-10-17
    D. Levesque; J. P. Hansen

    The two main methodologies of computational Statistical Mechanics, namely the stochastic Monte Carlo and the deterministic Molecular Dynamic methods, were developed in the USA in the mid 1950’s. In the present paper we show how these “computer experiments” migrated to Europe in the 60s, and first bloomed at the Orsay Science Faculty, before spreading throughout Europe. Collaborations between the Orsay

  • Berni Alder and the pioneering times of molecular simulation
    Eur. Phys. J. H (IF 1.483) Pub Date : 2018-07-25
    Giovanni Battimelli; Giovanni Ciccotti

    The paper traces the early stages of Berni Alder’s scientific accomplishments, focusing on his contributions to the development of Computational Methods for the study of Statistical Mechanics. Following attempts in the early 50s to implement Monte Carlo methods to study equilibrium properties of many-body systems, Alder developed in collaboration with Tom Wainwright the Molecular Dynamics approach

  • A brief history (and geography) of Supergravity: the first 3 weeks... and after
    Eur. Phys. J. H (IF 1.483) Pub Date : 2018-07-19
    S. Deser

    I summarize, at its 41st – and what would have been Bruno Zumino’s 94th – birthday, the history of the discoveries of Supergravity, and some of its structure and later developments.

  • Century of Λ
    Eur. Phys. J. H (IF 1.483) Pub Date : 2018-07-02
    Bohdan Novosyadlyj

    The cosmological constant was proposed 100 years ago in order to make the model of static Universe, imagined then by most scientists, possible. Today it is the main candidate for the physical essence causing the observed accelerated expansion of our Universe. But, as well as a hundred years ago, its nature is unknown. This paper is devoted to the story of invention of Λ by Albert Einstein in 1917,

  • Geon Wheeler: from nuclear to spacetime physicist
    Eur. Phys. J. H (IF 1.483) Pub Date : 2018-06-25
    Dean Rickles

    We provide an account of John Wheeler’s transition from his work on elementary particle physics (in which particles provided the ultimate ontology in his worldview), to his work on gravitation and general relativity (in which spacetime geometry was the ultimate object out of which all other things were composed). We also describe his early work on quantum gravity largely as a long-standing attempt

  • Early years of Computational Statistical Mechanics
    Eur. Phys. J. H (IF 1.483) Pub Date : 2018-05-08
    Michel Mareschal

    Evidence that a model of hard spheres exhibits a first-order solid-fluid phase transition was provided in the late fifties by two new numerical techniques known as Monte Carlo and Molecular Dynamics. This result can be considered as the starting point of computational statistical mechanics: at the time, it was a confirmation of a counter-intuitive (and controversial) theoretical prediction by J. Kirkwood

  • Tales from the prehistory of Quantum Gravity
    Eur. Phys. J. H (IF 1.483) Pub Date : 2018-04-12
    Giulio Peruzzi; Alessio Rocci

    The main purpose of this paper is to analyse the earliest work of Léon Rosenfeld, one of the pioneers in the search of Quantum Gravity, the supposed theory unifying quantum theory and general relativity. We describe how and why Rosenfeld tried to face this problem in 1927, analysing the role of his mentors: Oskar Klein, Louis de Broglie and Théophile De Donder. Rosenfeld asked himself how quantum mechanics

  • Exoplanets – the beginning of a new era in astrophysics
    Eur. Phys. J. H (IF 1.483) Pub Date : 2018-04-10
    Michel Mayor; Davide Cenadelli

    This oral history interview touches upon important topics like the dynamics of the discovery, in 1995, of 51 Pegasi b – the first extrasolar planet ever found around a normal star other than the Sun – the development of better and better equipment that made it possible, the importance it had in shaping a new community of scholars dealing with this new field of research, and, more at large, the cultural

  • One hundred years of the cosmological constant: from “superfluous stunt” to dark energy
    Eur. Phys. J. H (IF 1.483) Pub Date : 2018-03-16
    Cormac O’Raifeartaigh; Michael O’Keeffe; Werner Nahm; Simon Mitton

    We present a centennial review of the history of the term known as the cosmological constant. First introduced to the general theory of relativity by Einstein in 1917 in order to describe a universe that was assumed to be static, the term fell from favour in the wake of the discovery of the expanding universe, only to make a dramatic return in recent times. We consider historical and philosophical

  • The evolution of modern cosmology as seen through a personal walk across six decades
    Eur. Phys. J. H (IF 1.483) Pub Date : 2018-02-22
    Jayant V. Narlikar

    This highly personal account of evolution of cosmology spans a period of approximately six decades 1959–2017. It begins when in 1959 the author, as an undergraduate at Cambridge, was attracted to the subject by the thought provoking lectures by Fred Hoyle as well as by his popular books The Nature of Universe and The Frontiers of Astronomy. The result was that after a successful performance at the

  • How hadron collider experiments contributed to the development of QCD: from hard-scattering to the perfect liquid
    Eur. Phys. J. H (IF 1.483) Pub Date : 2018-01-30
    M. J. Tannenbaum

    A revolution in elementary particle physics occurred during the period from the ICHEP1968 to the ICHEP1982 with the advent of the parton model from discoveries in Deeply Inelastic electron-proton Scattering at SLAC, neutrino experiments, hard-scattering observed in p+p collisions at the CERN ISR, the development of QCD, the discovery of the J/Ψ at BNL and SLAC and the clear observation of high transverse

  • A contemporary look at Hermann Hankel’s 1861 pioneering work on Lagrangian fluid dynamics
    Eur. Phys. J. H (IF 1.483) Pub Date : 2017-12-15
    Uriel Frisch; Gérard Grimberg; Barbara Villone

    The present paper is a companion to the paper by Villone and Rampf (2017), titled “Hermann Hankel’s On the general theory of motion of fluids, an essay including an English translation of the complete Preisschrift from 1861” together with connected documents [Eur. Phys. J. H 42, 557–609 (2017)]. Here we give a critical assessment of Hankel’s work, which covers many important aspects of fluid dynamics

  • Hermann Hankel’s “On the general theory of motion of fluids”
    Eur. Phys. J. H (IF 1.483) Pub Date : 2017-12-15
    Barbara Villone; Cornelius Rampf

    The present is a companion paper to “A contemporary look at Hermann Hankel’s 1861 pioneering work on Lagrangian fluid dynamics” by Frisch, Grimberg and Villone [Eur. Phys. J. H 42, 537–556 (2017)]. Here we present the English translation of the 1861 prize manuscript from Göttingen University “Zur allgemeinen Theorie der Bewegung der Flüssigkeiten” (On the general theory of the motion of the fluids)

  • The LHC timeline: a personal recollection (1980–2012)
    Eur. Phys. J. H (IF 1.483) Pub Date : 2017-11-23
    Luciano Maiani; Luisa Bonolis

    The objective of this interview is to study the history of the Large Hadron Collider in the LEP tunnel at CERN, from first ideas to the discovery of the Brout–Englert–Higgs boson, seen from the point of view of a member of CERN scientific committees, of the CERN Council and a former Director General of CERN in the years of machine construction.

  • Analysis of the Jun Ishiwara’s “The universal meaning of the quantum of action”
    Eur. Phys. J. H (IF 1.483) Pub Date : 2017-11-23
    Karla Pelogia; Carlos Alexandre Brasil

    Here, we present an analysis of the paper “Universelle Bedeutung des Wirkungsquantums” (The universal meaning of the quantum of action), published by Jun Ishiwara in German in the “Proceedings of Tokyo Mathematico-Physical Society 8 (1915) 106–116”. In his work, Ishiwara, established in the Sendai University, Japan, proposed – simultaneously with Arnold Sommerfeld, William Wilson and Niels Bohr in

  • The Charm of Theoretical Physics (1958–1993)
    Eur. Phys. J. H (IF 1.483) Pub Date : 2017-11-23
    Luciano Maiani; Luisa Bonolis

    Personal recollections on theoretical particle physics in the years when the Standard Theory was formed. In the background, the remarkable development of Italian theoretical physics in the second part of the last century, with great personalities like Bruno Touschek, Raoul Gatto, Nicola Cabibbo and their schools.

  • Einstein’s 1917 static model of the universe: a centennial review
    Eur. Phys. J. H (IF 1.483) Pub Date : 2017-07-20
    Cormac O’Raifeartaigh; Michael O’Keeffe; Werner Nahm; Simon Mitton

    We present a historical review of Einstein’s 1917 paper ‘Cosmological Considerations in the General Theory of Relativity’ to mark the centenary of a key work that set the foundations of modern cosmology. We find that the paper followed as a natural next step after Einstein’s development of the general theory of relativity and that the work offers many insights into his thoughts on relativity, astronomy

  • General relativity and the growth of a sub-discipline “gravitation” in Germany
    Eur. Phys. J. H (IF 1.483) Pub Date : 2017-07-03
    Hubert Goenner

    The growth of research on general relativity in Germany from its origin in 1915 to the beginning of the 1990s is described. A gradual evolution from research done by single physicists and mathematicians to the eventual institutionalizion in the form of a research institute and subdivision of physical society is brought into focus.

  • Exploratory research session on the quantization of the gravitational field
    Eur. Phys. J. H (IF 1.483) Pub Date : 2017-06-01
    Bryce S. DeWitt

    During the period June–July 1957 six physicists met at the Institute for Theoretical Physics of the University of Copenhagen in Denmark to work together on problems connected with the quantization of the gravitational field. A large part of the discussion was devoted to exposition of the individual work of the various participants, but a number of new results were also obtained. The topics investigated

  • Stellar structure and compact objects before 1940: Towards relativistic astrophysics
    Eur. Phys. J. H (IF 1.483) Pub Date : 2017-04-28
    Luisa Bonolis

    Since the mid-1920s, different strands of research used stars as “physics laboratories” for investigating the nature of matter under extreme densities and pressures, impossible to realize on Earth. To trace this process this paper is following the evolution of the concept of a dense core in stars, which was important both for an understanding of stellar evolution and as a testing ground for the fast-evolving

  • A life in statistical mechanics
    Eur. Phys. J. H (IF 1.483) Pub Date : 2017-04-04
    Joel L. Lebowitz; Luisa Bonolis

    This is the first part of an oral history interview on the lifelong involvement of Joel Lebowitz in the development of statistical mechanics. Here the covered topics include the formative years, which overlapped the tragic period of Nazi power and World War II in Europe, the emigration to the United States in 1946 and the schooling there. It also includes the beginnings and early scientific works with

  • The Joint European Torus (JET)
    Eur. Phys. J. H (IF 1.483) Pub Date : 2017-02-27
    Paul-Henri Rebut

    This paper addresses the history of JET, the Tokamak that reached the highest performances and the experiment that so far came closest to the eventual goal of a fusion reactor. The reader must be warned, however, that this document is not a comprehensive study of controlled thermonuclear fusion or even of JET. The next step on this road, the ITER project, is an experimental reactor. Actually, several

  • Wired by Weber
    Eur. Phys. J. H (IF 1.483) Pub Date : 2017-02-16
    Virginia Trimble

    Joseph Weber started thinking about possibilities for detecting gravitational waves or radiation in about 1955. He designed, built, and operated the first detectors, from 1965 until his death in 2000. This paper includes discussions of his life, earlier work on chemical kinetics and what is now called quantum electronics, his published papers, pioneering work on gravitational waves, and its aftermath

  • From thermonuclear fusion to Hamiltonian chaos
    Eur. Phys. J. H (IF 1.483) Pub Date : 2017-01-19
    D. F. Escande

    This paper aims at a historical and pedagogical presentation of some important contributions of the research on thermonuclear fusion by magnetic confinement to the study of Hamiltonian chaos. This chaos is defined with the help of Poincaré maps on a simple two-wave Hamiltonian system. A simple criterion for computing the transition to large scale chaos is introduced. A renormalization group approach

  • Léon Rosenfeld’s general theory of constrained Hamiltonian dynamics
    Eur. Phys. J. H (IF 1.483) Pub Date : 2017-01-11
    Donald Salisbury; Kurt Sundermeyer

    This commentary reflects on the 1930 general theory of Léon Rosenfeld dealing with phase-space constraints. We start with a short biography of Rosenfeld and his motivation for this article in the context of ideas pursued by W. Pauli, F. Klein, E. Noether. We then comment on Rosenfeld’s General Theory dealing with symmetries and constraints, symmetry generators, conservation laws and the construction

  • The history of research into improved confinement regimes
    Eur. Phys. J. H (IF 1.483) Pub Date : 2017-01-05
    F. Wagner

    Increasing the pressure by additional heating of magnetically confined plasmas had the consequence that turbulent processes became more violent and plasma confinement degraded. Since this experience from the early 1980ies, fusion research was dominated by the search for confinement regimes with improved properties. It was a gratifying experience that toroidally confined plasmas are able to self-organise

  • The source of solar energy, ca. 1840–1910: From meteoric hypothesis to radioactive speculations
    Eur. Phys. J. H (IF 1.483) Pub Date : 2016-11-01
    Helge Kragh

    Why does the Sun shine? Today we know the answer to the question and we also know that earlier answers were quite wrong. The problem of the source of solar energy became an important part of physics and astronomy only with the emergence of the law of energy conservation in the 1840s. The first theory of solar heat based on the new law, due to J.R. Mayer, assumed the heat to be the result of meteors

  • Wave-particle and wave-wave interactions in hot plasmas: a French historical point of view
    Eur. Phys. J. H (IF 1.483) Pub Date : 2016-11-01
    Guy Laval; Denis Pesme; Jean-Claude Adam

    The first researches on nuclear fusion for energy applications marked the entrance of hot plasmas into the laboratory. It became necessary to understand the behavior of such plasmas and to learn how to manipulate them. Theoreticians and experimentalists, building on the foundations of empirical laws, had to construct this new plasma physics from first principles and to explain the results of more and

  • The Stern-Gerlach experiment revisited
    Eur. Phys. J. H (IF 1.483) Pub Date : 2016-10-28
    Horst Schmidt-Böcking; Lothar Schmidt; Hans Jürgen Lüdde; Wolfgang Trageser; Alan Templeton; Tilman Sauer

    The Stern-Gerlach-Experiment (SGE) performed in 1922 is a seminal benchmark experiment of quantum physics providing evidence for several fundamental properties of quantum systems. Based on the knowledge of today we illustrate the different benchmark results of the SGE for the development of modern quantum physics and chemistry. The SGE provided the first direct experimental evidence for angular momentum

  • Waiting for the W
    Eur. Phys. J. H (IF 1.483) Pub Date : 2016-10-06
    M. J. Tannenbaum

    The search for the left-handed W ± bosons, the proposed quanta of the weak interaction, and the Higgs boson, which spontaneously breaks the symmetry of unification of electromagnetic and weak interactions, has driven elementary-particle physics research from the time that I entered college to the present and has led to many unexpected and exciting discoveries which revolutionized our view of subnuclear

  • Birth and initial developments of experiments with resonant detectors searching for gravitational waves
    Eur. Phys. J. H (IF 1.483) Pub Date : 2016-10-06
    G. Pizzella

    A history of the experiments for the search of gravitational waves, with emphasis on the experiments made by the Rome group, is given. The search for gravitational waves was initiated by the brilliant scientific acumen of Joseph Weber. In this paper we start from the early times of the resonant detectors at room temperature and continue with the cryogenic resonant detectors: STANFORD, ALLEGRO, AURIGA

  • Robert Dicke and the naissance of experimental gravity physics, 1957–1967
    Eur. Phys. J. H (IF 1.483) Pub Date : 2016-10-06
    Phillip James Edwin Peebles

    The experimental study of gravity became much more active in the late 1950s, a change pronounced enough be termed the birth, or naissance, of experimental gravity physics. I present a review of developments in this subject since 1915, through the broad range of new approaches that commenced in the late 1950s, and up to the transition of experimental gravity physics to what might be termed a normal

  • Ergodicity: a historical perspective. Equilibrium and Nonequilibrium
    Eur. Phys. J. H (IF 1.483) Pub Date : 2016-09-26
    Giovanni Gallavotti

    A view on the physical meaning of the so called ergodic hypothesis: its role on the foundations of equilibrium statistical mechanics in mid ’1800, its interpretations and hints at its relevance for modern nonequilibrium statistical mechanics. Followed by appendices with detailed comments on the original papers.

  • Early steps towards quarks and their interactions using neutrino beams in CERN bubble chamber experiments
    Eur. Phys. J. H (IF 1.483) Pub Date : 2016-05-30
    Don H. Perkins

    Results from neutrino experiments at CERN in the1970’s, using bubble chamber detectors filled with heavy liquids, gave early evidence for the existence of quarks and gluons as real dynamical objects. In detail, the measured moments of the non-singlet structure functions provided crucial support for the validity of the present theory of the strong inter-quark interactions, quantum chromodynamics.

  • On Tomonaga’s theory of split-anode magnetrons
    Eur. Phys. J. H (IF 1.483) Pub Date : 2016-05-20
    Walter Dittrich

    This article offers a review of the history of radar research and its application in the 20th century. After describing the wartime work of Sin-Itiro Tomonaga and his theory of the cavity magnetron, we formulate the equations of motion of an electron in a cavity magnetron using action-angle variables. This means following the electron’s path on its way from a cylindrical cathode moving toward a co-axial

  • Measurement of the Weinberg angle in neutrino interactions
    Eur. Phys. J. H (IF 1.483) Pub Date : 2016-05-03
    Ubaldo Dore; Pier Ferruccio Loverre; Lucio Ludovici

    Neutrino physics with high energy neutrino beams has played a crucial role in establishing the Standard Model of the electroweak interaction, in particular with repeated measurements of increasing precision of the fundamental parameter sin2 θ W which defines the electroweak mixing. This paper relates the history of these measurements, from the discovery of the neutral current interaction in 1973 until

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