Turning Points in Physics: A Series of Lectures Given at Oxford University in Trinity Term, 1958

Turning Points in Physics: A Series of Lectures Given at Oxford University in Trinity Term, 1958

Turning Points in Physics: A Series of Lectures Given at Oxford University in Trinity Term, 1958

Turning Points in Physics: A Series of Lectures Given at Oxford University in Trinity Term, 1958

Excerpt

In his intelligent and attractive essay, Faraday as a Discoverer (new ed., London, 1877, pp. 66-7), John Tyndall introduced his account of Faraday's investigation of the laws of electro-chemical decomposition as follows:

"In our conceptions and reasonings regarding the forces of nature, we perpetually make use of symbols which, when they possess a high representative value, we dignify with the name of theories. Thus, prompted by certain analogies we ascribe electrical phenomena to the action of a peculiar fluid, sometimes flowing, sometimes at rest. Such conceptions have their advantages and their disadvantages; they afford peaceful lodging to the intellect for a time, but they also circumscribe it, and by and by, when the mind has grown too large for its lodging, it often finds difficulty in breaking down the walls of what has become its prison instead of its home."

Tyndall had first used these words in a Friday evening lecture at the Royal Institution, and he copied them here, he said, "because they remind me of Faraday's voice, responding to the utterance by an emphatic'hear! hear!'" He went on to point out how sensitive Faraday himself was to . . .

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