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Poincaré on the constancy of light

  1. Oct 14, 2008 #1
    It's notable that Poincaré many years before Einstein had very interesting ideas on the constancy of light. For example: In his paper http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Measure_of_Time" [Broken] Poincaré wrote in 1898:

    Abraham Pais (in Subtle is the Lord) said that "These lines read like the general program for what would be given concrete shape seven years later." In 1900, Poincare wrote in http://www.physicsinsights.org/poincare-1900.pdf" [Broken]:

    And in 1904 in his paper http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Principles_of_Mathematical_Physics" [Broken]:

    It would be very interesting to know, whether Einstein read some of Poincaré's papers. :rolleyes:

    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 14, 2008 #2
    An interesting paper, and another example of the inquisitive mind. There is always more than one person contemplating some part of the world around us, and the one who gets published first gets the notoriety.
  4. Oct 14, 2008 #3
    I think the point here is that in 1900 with the progress Planck, Poincare, Lorentz, and others were making it was inevitable that special relativity would have been found.

    And no sour grapes from any of these three, as all acknowledged at the time it was Einstein that first pulled the key pieces together to solve the puzzle.
  5. Oct 15, 2008 #4
    In an interesting passage Peter Bergmann in THE RIDDLE OF GRAVITATION, 1992, says

    Einstein recognized from the frame sensitivity of the gravitational field it would be more complex than the electromagnetic and guessed the gravitational field is a tensor field..

    they could not be detected experimentally at the time....
    betweeen gravity and acceleration.
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