History Definition and 47 Discussions

History (from Greek ἱστορία, historia, meaning "inquiry; knowledge acquired by investigation") is the scientific study of the past. Events occurring before the invention of writing systems are considered prehistory. "History" is an umbrella term that relates to past events as well as the memory, discovery, collection, organization, presentation, and interpretation of information about these events. Historians place the past in context using historical sources such as written documents, oral accounts, ecological markers, and material objects including art and artifacts.History also includes the academic discipline which uses narrative to describe, examine, question, and analyze a sequence of past events, and investigate the patterns of cause and effect that are related to them. Historians seek to understand and represent the past through narratives. They often debate which narrative best explains an event, as well as the significance of different causes and effects. Historians also debate the nature of history and its usefulness by discussing the study of the discipline as an end in itself and as a way of providing "perspective" on the problems of the present.Stories common to a particular culture, but not supported by external sources (such as the tales surrounding King Arthur), are usually classified as cultural heritage or legends. History differs from myth in that it is supported by evidence. However, ancient influences have helped spawn variant interpretations of the nature of history which have evolved over the centuries and continue to change today. The modern study of history is wide-ranging, and includes the study of specific regions and the study of certain topical or thematic elements of historical investigation. History is often taught as part of primary and secondary education, and the academic study of history is a major discipline in university studies.
Herodotus, a 5th-century BC Greek historian is often considered (within the Western tradition) to be the "father of history", although he has also been called the "father of lies". Along with his contemporary Thucydides, he helped form the foundations for the modern study of human history. Their works continue to be read today, and the gap between the culture-focused Herodotus and the military-focused Thucydides remains a point of contention or approach in modern historical writing. In East Asia, a state chronicle, the Spring and Autumn Annals, was known to be compiled from as early as 722 BC although only 2nd-century BC texts have survived.

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  1. DennisN

    Physics experiments that changed the world (video)

    If you enjoy both physics/science and history like me, you may enjoy this video from the Royal Institution. It's about groundbreaking experiments (no theoretical physics); X-rays, particles etc. I'm only 45 minutes in so I haven't seen the entire video yet, but I wanted to share it...
  2. A

    B Occam's razor in science: all-time practice or modern fashion?

    When I went to college, more than 30 years ago, as far as I can remember, nobody was talking about the use of Occam's razor in science. Reading the works of past scientists, I rarely see them invoking principles of parsimony, let alone cite Occam's razor. Yes, Newton, Einstein, and few others...
  3. How Imaginary Numbers Were Invented

    How Imaginary Numbers Were Invented

    How Imaginary Numbers Were Invented [Veritasium]
  4. DennisN

    Evolution of the Alphabet

    One of my friends sent a link to this illustration which I found very, very fascinating: (Image by Matt Baker, UsefulChart.com, image source: link) If I decipher the chart correctly, e.g. the letter "O" developed from an image of an eye. According to the wiki page about "O" an eye indeed...
  5. ConspiracyJim

    I Ancient mathematics/History of mathematics

    Hello, I am trying to teach myself mathematics by starting with Euclid and going up to today. My only background is college algebra and high school algebra and geometry. I am 44 years old. I've read Euclid and Apollonius. I understood everything except he Appendix in the Conics book (Green...
  6. S

    Gato / Balao Submarine "Can't" vs "Must" Surface on Dead Battery

    I've read a lot about Gato / Balao / Tensch class submarines, the ones America used in WWII, and I can't seem to sort out the specific consequences of a dead battery. A lot of you are diesel experts, so maybe someone here knows? Historical accounts are vague. Dead batteries are certainly a big...
  7. S

    Does Heinrich Hertz' apparatus include a proper antenna?

    How close to "antenna" was the metal barbell thing which was part of Heinrich Hertz' apparatus? Did he know in theory how to build a radio but just didn't have the right components to do it? I know someone around that time referred to the problem of radio in terms of needing proper sustained...
  8. S

    Physics History (Maxwell) Rotary Vectors?

    I am reading the text 'Innovations in Maxwell's Electromagnetic Theory'. on page 44 there is a discussion on Ampere's circuital law . The passage is below. I don't understand the final statement. "In general represent a kind of relationship that obtains between certain pairs of phenomena , of...
  9. B

    Finding Mayan Dates

    Summary:: Given the Mayan date (8,10,193) determine the Mayan date that is 0,2,3,5,10 days later. The Mayans used a complicated date system. The question asks: Given the Mayan date (8,10,193) determine the Mayan date that is 0,2,3,5,10 days later. The system the Mayans used had two...
  10. nomadreid

    I Did von Neumann coin the eth or dyet for the inexact differential?

    Today the inexact differential is usually denoted with δ, but in a text by a Russian author I found a dyet (D-with stroke, crossed-D) instead: In response to my question to the author about this deviation from normal usage, he stated that this was a suggestion from von Neumann. (Which of course...
  11. S

    Abour Riccardo Giacconi's opinion about the multiverse?

    Riccardo Giacconi (1931-2018) was an italian astrophysicist who was awarded with the Nobel prize in physics back in 2002 for his important contributions to astrophysics. Since he was an astrophysicist he must have heard about the multiverse hypothesis, but I have not found a single paper or...
  12. Adesh

    I Why integrals took 2000 years to come up in a rigorous manner?

    Archimedes Riemann integral is one of the most elegant achievements in mathematics, I have a great admiration for it. Mr. Patrick Fitzpatrick commented on it as Archimedes first devised and implemented the strategy to compute the area of nonpolygonal geometric objects by constructing outer...
  13. Lren Zvsm

    Asimov's Psychohistory: Possible on a sufficiently large scale?

    As we all learned a long time ago, the trajectories of individual air molecules can't be predicted, but the behavior of macroscopic air masses can be predicted--if imperfectly, as with weather forecasts. Similarly, the behavior of human individuals isn't always predictable. The less well...
  14. Adesh

    I How did students manage to study the required Mathematics for Physics

    I will basically focus on 18th and 19th century, I got to know from the biographies of Max Planck and few other that there were no organized syllabus in Universities for studying. Students had to take classes that they could understand and it was less like a lecture and more like a private...
  15. S

    What did Hans Bethe think of von Neumann's quantum logic?

    Nobel laureate Hans Bethe was a friend of mathematician-physicist John von Neumann, and he once said: "I have sometimes wondered whether a brain like von Neumann's does not indicate a species superior to that of man" and "[von Neumann's] brain indicated a new species, an evolution beyond man"...
  16. entropy1

    Is the past in MWI unambiguous?

    I couldn't match this question with another topic, so I made a new topic. Suppose we have past H and present P at a certain moment. In present P a measurement is made. For matter of speaking we adopt MWI, so we have the two measurement outcomes A and B diverging in two realities A and B in...
  17. S

    Did John von Neumann ever go to Oslo or any other part of Norway?

    I do not know exactly where to ask this. I do not even know if I can. I chose the General Discussion forum since it seems to me the best place to ask this within this site. Having said this, Did John von Neumann ever go to Oslo or any other part of Norway? It is known that he traveled at least...
  18. DennisN

    History Resources (documentaries etc.)

    I've been very interested in history a long time, read many books and watched many documentaries during the years. I've recently started to watch documentaries on parts of history I did not know very well (the Napoleonic era), and I thought it would be a nice idea to have a thread where those...
  19. Guidestone

    Request for historical background on the concept of voltage

    Hi all. I'll get to the point. I've been interested in electricity since I was in college. Concepts such as current and resistance seemed easy to grasp for me but voltage remains a little bit obscure. It's thanks to this forum (specially forum members Jim Hardy r.i.p and SophieCentaur, sorry if...
  20. DennisN

    WW2 - D-Day - Real Footage in Colour

    Intense, dramatic, fantastic and at the same time terrible. A must see for history buffs, I'd say. WW2 - D-Day. Invasion of Normandy [Real Footage in Colour]
  21. Marco Masi

    Example of a technology that was long underestimated?

    I'm wondering how and in what time frame new technologies emerged and found application in the history of science. I could make several examples of those which suddenly and unexpectedly changed the world, but not the vice-versa. In particular, I'm wondering which didn't find an application or...
  22. DennisN

    Beautiful historical panoramas

    Photo: Tomb of Ramses VI. Beautiful scrollable panoramas (360) on 360cities: Temple of Isis Tomb of Ramses III Temple of Horus Al Dier Monastery at Petra More panoramas: Mohamed Attef, panoramic photographer. Other panoramas: Ramses VI panorama (360) on facebook. A video showing the tomb of...
  23. José Ricardo

    Suggestion Homework help suggestions: Human Sciences

    Could you guys put Philosophy, Sociology, History and Arts in the Homework sections? I would be very appreciated.
  24. entropy1

    I History of the Universe and measured outcomes

    This thread is a split-off of this post: https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/do-macro-objects-get-entangled.946927/page-2#post-5997089 So my issue is this: if, for convenience, we use a Copenhagen interpretation, and we measure an observable WF ##\alpha |A \rangle + \beta |B \rangle##, then...
  25. mheruian

    B How the atom was proven to exist?

    How come atom was proven to exist just because the electron was discovered in 1874, atom was like a fad of truth on early 1800s right, where atom was pictured at that time like a small brick of ball and nothing else (no electrons, neutrons, protons, parts, etc) and on that year also, chemistry...
  26. P

    Classical Comprehensive books about the history of physics/mathematics

    I am in search of one or more books that describe the progress in the field of physics (especially during the 18th 19th and 20th century) not only by mentioning the names of lead scientists and the abstract of their work but also have some deeper insights if possible (some math too) last but not...
  27. nomadreid

    Leonard Eugene Dickson's story: details?

    A story which is frequently to be found on the Internet is the story recounted by the American mathematician Leonard Eugene Dickson to Hadamard: Dickson's mother Tracy (née Tracy ) and his sister spent an entire evening unsuccessfully trying to solve a geometry problem. During the night the...
  28. Cheesycheese213

    Quick question about the medieval period?

    I was just wondering if there was any proof that the medieval period had more conflicts like wars etc. but with less (peace) negotiation between parties than now? Thanks so much!
  29. Cool4Kat

    What Battery did Marty Cooper use in 1973?

    Hello, lovely people. I was wondering if anyone knows what kind of battery Marty Cooper used for the very first cell (mobile) phone call in 1973? I know that by the 80s they were using Nickel-Cadmium batteries but I don't know about that first one. Thanks in advance, Kathy
  30. Cool4Kat

    How did Armstrong's FM receiver and transmitter work?

    Hey, I was wondering if any of you smart people could help explain in a very simple way (if possible) how the first FM transmitter and receiver worked? I know, for example, that many current transmitters use a voltage variable conductor to change the frequency of the wave. Did Armstrong do...
  31. Cool4Kat

    How did they hear small wavelengths (high frequencies) *before* superheterodyne?

    Hi, I am researching the early history of electricity and I would love some help. So, in the very early 1900s (like 1906) there were several items created that were diodes (crystals, Fleming valve, electrolytic detector). As far as I understand, people would use these diodes to convert the AC...
  32. Cool4Kat

    Book about the History of Electricity

    Hi there, My name is Kathy and I am writing a book about the history of electrical discoveries. I am writing the book for adults who have limited (or no) science backgrounds with a lot of personal details (like Bose who liked to give electric kisses to attractive women, or Alexander Bell's...
  33. bigfooted

    Engineering Aircraft engine design books from 1900-1920

    I'm interested in the knowledge that was available to aircraft engineers in the period 1900-1920. specifically the thermodynamics and mechanical engineering knowledge generally available, like in how much detail were the calculations on the performance, or the cooling of engines done, how...
  34. Dotini

    The Spread of Agriculture in the Ancient World

    The following are, at the top, photos of certain artifacts repatriated from a western museum to Iran, originally excavated from Jiroft, Iran. They are said to date from the 3rd millennium BC. Essentially identical objects are found dating to 12,000 BC at Gobekli Tepe, Turkey, 3rd millennium BC...
  35. S

    Other Self Study Books

    I was wondering if anyone knows of good self study books to help me in school. I am going to be a sophomore next year and trying to be extremely prepared. Here are the classes: Chemistry Honors World History AP Algebra 2 Honors European History AP English 2 Honors Spanish 3 Honors Thanks...
  36. BiGyElLoWhAt

    Other Books on the History of Physics and Math

    I'm looking for an entertaining book on the history of physics and math. I just want it to read for fun. A book that I really enjoyed (really, really) was Entanglement by Amir Aczel. It highlighted how everyone worked together, how they fought, etc. Any suggestions?
  37. CollinsArg

    Other Where can I get the work "De Mundo" by William Gilbert?

    it's an old book of science, where can I find all those old science work to study science through its history?
  38. Vinay080

    Newton's view on Line generation

    The following passage has been extracted from the John Stewart's English translated version of the "Sir Issac Newton's two Treatises: Of the Quadrature of Curves, and Analysis by equations of an infinite number of terms" http://archive.org/details/sirisaacNewtons00stewgoog: Here Newton...
  39. T

    Weird question: is this plagiarism?

    Hi, I've got a strange situation. I'm a teacher in a foreign country, and one of my students wrote stories about historical characters. But his stories are so good, that I'm not shure if he has written them himself... My suspision is, that he has taken some Englisch stories, and translated...
  40. O

    What influence did Newtons religion have on his science ?

    Do you think Newton's piety was important to developing or fueling his philosophical and psychological impulses to be a great scientist and mathematician ? Did his religious and alchemical goals orient his scientific researches; his outstanding mechanical, mathematical, and optical theories...
  41. O

    The meaning of 'Extension' in History of Physics

    I was reading the Wikipedia page on Dynamism in order to get an idea of the motivation and thinking behind Liebniz's physics. In it there is this paragraph: In the opening paragraph of Specimen dynamicum (1692), Leibniz begins by clarifying his intention to supersede the Cartesian account of...
  42. VoloD

    Should Someone pursure career based on skill or happiness

    Hello Everyone I am not 100 % sure if this belongs in career thread, so please feel free to tell me if this needs to be moved. I am currently happy with the career path I have chosen, I am still pursuing my MS in Electrical Engineering. However, lately I have been curious about something. I...
  43. M

    Initial development of set theory and determinism in QM

    I am considering the following question and I want you to agree (but perhaps you don’t): Rutherford wrote a letter to Bohr, as an answer to a previous letter from Bohr containing one of the first of Bohr’s descriptions of the atomic model, saying that he understood the atom model Bohr...
  44. A

    Uniform Circular Motion Background theory?

    Hi Guys, new poster here. I am currently doing a practical report on Uniform Circular Motion, where we had to swing a rubber stopper around attached to a length of string and mass. I have to do a write up, including the background theory. I have searched everywhere but I have found no clear...
  45. J

    Historical papers dump sites, part II

    Late last year, I started a thread (https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/historical-paper-dump-sites.780669/#post-4907513) to solicit/compile a list of URLs with open access to historical papers; shortly after, I discovered that several of them weren't as open as they had been...This morning, I...
  46. J

    Seeking bibliographies

    Does anyone have any suggestions for finding lists of all papers published by individual physicists? Usually the Google machine turns up hits pretty quickly, but I've hit a brick wall looking for lists for Max Planck and Ludwig Boltzmann. netlib.org/bibnet/ is amazing, but it's pretty narrow.
  47. J

    19th century matches: Chlorates without electrolysis?

    First, I completely understand that electrolysis to produce chlorates is simple, practical, and inexpensive. I understand that electrolysis to produce chlorates was being used in the late 19th century. I'm wondering, given the (somewhat) limited distribution of electrical power at the time and...