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I heard from that Stocks, the famous mathematician who I appreciate

  1. Dec 13, 2006 #1
    I heard from that Stocks,the famous mathematician who I appreciate very much,made a theory to explain the experiments which lead to the birth of special relativity.Anyone who knows it please tell me.
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 19, 2006 #2

    Chris Hillman

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    The famous mathematician?

    Hi, enricfemi,

    I for one have no idea whom you might mean.

    Are you certain that you are spelling the name correctly? Do recall this person's first name? Are you sure he/she was a mathematician?
  4. Dec 19, 2006 #3


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    There's a Stokes Theorem. I can't remember what that's about, something in fluid dynamics maybe (i.e. like the Navier-Stokes Equation). Not sure what it has to do with relativity, although especially in the past, great minds made contributions to a variety of areas.
  5. Dec 19, 2006 #4

    Chris Hillman

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    Hmm... enricfemi, could you possibly have confused the mathematician Gabriel Stokes with the physicist George Fitzgerald? See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_FitzGerald (read at your own risk).

    Wallace, Stoke's theorem is a fundamental theorem, even the fundamental theorem of the theory of integration on manifolds. See http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Stokes'_theorem&diff=89307558&oldid=89285234
    Unfortunately, the theorem was apparently first found by Kelvin and communicated by letter to Stokes. Some years later, Stokes was writing the famous Tripos exam and set Kelvin's little theorem as one of the problems. An interesting trivia item: Maxwell was one of the students who sat for that particular edition of this exam!
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2006
  6. Dec 19, 2006 #5
    So sorry,it is my fault to spell a wrong name.
    yes ,He is George Gabriel Stokes,who contributed to both fluid dynamics and mathematics.
    And he also has a theory about ether,though it was considered as a mistake.
    who know why?
  7. Dec 19, 2006 #6

    Chris Hillman

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    Stokes on "ether"?

    Could you possibly be referring to the suggestion of Kelvin and Stokes that molecules might be "knotted vortices in the ether" which are built up by combining simpler vortices (atoms)? With topological properties of a knot corresponding to physical properties of a molecule? (Sometimes this idea is touted as a very early progenitor of string theory, although the relationship is not really very close, as far as I can tell.)

    If so, I don't think this had much to do with relativity, although the motivation may have included some early ideas about what we now call magnetohydrodynamics. As far as I know, despite much mathematical effort on the part of Stokes, this undeniably appealing suggestion never led to a true physical theory. Stokes did more or less invent what we know call the "theory of knots and links", while trying to work toward a theory of molecules as knotted vorticies. In particular, as far as I know, Stokes never made much progress in relating topological properties of knots to physical properties of molecules.

    This notion fell into disfavor when new ideas appeared which eventually led to a real theory which readily yielded striking and verifiable predictions (e.g., the Bohr atom).
  8. Dec 20, 2006 #7


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    Stokes theory has really shaken the tree in physics. Fluid dynamics are a serious player in everything from shower drains to super clusters.
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