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Working Worlds and the 20th Century Science

by: Sanobar Shaikh

Working Worlds and the 20th Century Science AS.140.302

Marketplace > Johns Hopkins University > Science > AS.140.302 > Working Worlds and the 20th Century Science
Sanobar Shaikh

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About this Document

Jon Agar, Working Worlds New Physics Marie and Pierre Curie and Radioactivity Einstein, Theory of Relativity Radium economy New Sciences of Life, Mendelian Genetics Discussion: Jon Agar reading
Rise of Modern Science
Jon Mercelis
Class Notes
history, Science, History of Science, Einstein, Curie
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This 6 page Class Notes was uploaded by Sanobar Shaikh on Monday March 28, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to AS.140.302 at Johns Hopkins University taught by Jon Mercelis in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 17 views. For similar materials see Rise of Modern Science in Science at Johns Hopkins University.


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Date Created: 03/28/16
WEEK 8  WORKING WORLDS AND THE 20    CENTURY SCIENCE Monday, March 21, 2016  Sciences tackling problems of “working worlds” (i.e. “arenas of human projects  that generate problems”)?  Working words associated with o Construction of technological systems o Care of human body o Civil administration o War o Fifth: economic stability, monetary flows of global trade  Visualization of the System of the Working Worlds o Working worlds generate problems, inspire the sciences, actively  identified o Active process of problematization o Simplified representations (simplify to scale of the laboratory) focus on  specific aspect of the problem o Able to conduct experiments and theorize about possible answers to the  problem o Experiment o E.g. use radio waves to detect oncoming thunderstorms o Complications—not all problems necessarily generate a new science o Scientists draw a lot of inspiration from societies in which they live o E.g. electromagnetic theory and working worlds of industry and empire  18  century example relevant to this scheme: Network of telegraph cables constructed by British engineers  Cable telegraphy problems addressed by British physicists (e.g.  retardation)  Field theory (Faraday and Maxwell) primarily British  development  Need for accurate electrical measurements to support both  Maxwell’s electromagnetic theory and British cable empire  Transatlantic cable line  Maxwell in his Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism (1873)  Making their work more firmly based on science  New Physics  Introduction o 1890s end of an era in physics  Mechanical explanations for physical phenomena  Failed attempts to experimentally demonstrate existence of “ether”  Ether—how electromagnetic waves were being transmitted  o New experimental discoveries: X­rays, radioactivity, electron WEEK 8  Beginning of new epoch  Emergence of relativity and quantum theory in early 20  century  Marie Curie and Radioactivity o Won two Nobel prizes o Building on Röntgen’s discovery of X­rays and Becquerel’s work on  radiation of uranium salts o (With Pierre Curie) isolated “polonium” and “radium” out of pitchblende  (1898) o Radium’s energy releases <­> first law of thermodynamics?  Discovery of alpha, beta, and gamma rays by Rutherford and  others  Development hard to match with traditional physical explanations  There seemed to be “new energy” out of radium, seemed to be  created out of nothing  Hard to bring in accordance with thermodynamics  Rutherford explains this phenomenon later on o Pierre and Marie Curie with radium (Vanity Fair 1904) o Pierre Curie died in a car accident in 1906 o Until her death in 1934, Marie Curie directed the laboratory o Relationship between science in industry during this time period o Too politically progressive, people thought she was Jewish, therefore she  was discriminated against o Emergence of radium “economy”: mutual dependence between science  and history  Radium factories as extension of Curie lab  Need to support radium industry development of medical  applications  Work on metrology of radioactivity and provision of measurement  service  Dependence on facilities of company  Venturing into business, looking for other career options   Career laboratory   Mutual dependence between laboratory and industry made Marie  Curie more interested in the discovery of radiotherapy and medical applications of her work  Companies had a hard time becoming profitable and having  enough customers  This was one consideration that Marie Curie had in mind when  turning her attention to the medical applications  Metrology  Also like Maxwell in doing work on metrology—the  determination of the standard unit of radium  Work important for scientific researchers (important to be  able to compare results being established in different  WEEK 8 studies, whether they were applying the same standards of  radiation)  And companies (use to promote reliability of products and  to establish good quality control of product development)  Marie Curie introduced a metrology service to nearby  companies  Wednesday, March 23, 2016  Albert Einstein and Relativity o Brownian Motion o Photoelectric Effect o Young employee of Swiss Patent Office authors 4 important papers in  1905, including “On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies”  Special theory of relativity  E=mc 2 o Relation to working world problems?  Certain results explained by thinking of light as quantized energy o Did not refer to it as relativity at first o Gave Einstein some more practical experience o Coordinated clock in Bern, Switzerland o “On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies”  Two postulates:  “Principle of Relativity” o Laws of nature are the same in two inertial systems o Background on the first postulate: asymmetry in  Maxwellian motion electrodynamics o Static magnetic field forces moving charge around  coil o Changing magnetic field makes electric field;  electric field drives static change around coil o Maxwell’s equations  Deal with the electric and magnetic fields  and how they are related to each other  Maxwell himself did not come up with these  Speed of light is constant o Background on second postulate o Physical reality of ether? o Unsuccessful attempts to discover any motion of  earth relative to ‘light medium’ (ether) o E.g. Michelson­Morely experiment (1887) o Was Einstein familiar with this experiment? o Measuring speed of light in different directions   Need to reconsider Newtonian motion  Reconsider time as problem of simultaneity  WEEK 8  Observer located at position m, lightning strikes at points a  and b, however when the train is moving towards b at a  certain velocity which will influence his perception of the  lightning strike  Quotation, Einstein, 1905 o Uses example of clocks to answer questions about  simultaneity o Time coordination technology  Electrical time coordination systems start being developed 1830s­ 1840s  Common in Switzerland by 1890s  Relevance to railroads, mobilization for the military, Swiss  clockmakers  Einstein responsible for electromagnetic time synchronization  patents—through familiarity with technology  Creates a need for technology  When Einstein is hired at the patent office, he was designated to  specific area of technology  Einstein was specifically responsible for technology in new  developments of electromagnetism o Special Relativity  Time synchronization final step in development of ideas on special relativity  Motion, space, and time to be considered in relative science  Laws of nature should have exactly same form no matter which  reference frame is used  No single reference frame more “unique” or privileged than other  Galison 2000 quotation o Curie has mutual dependence on industry New Sciences of Life  Mendelian genetics o “Rediscovery” of Gregor Mendel’s work and reinterpretation of its  significance (ca. 1900) o Practical utility as one source of legitimation for new science of genetics  Collaboration with breeders o However, how useful was Mendelian genetics really to them?  Not clear how advantageous was to next generation  Darwin’s response to the criticism that the advantages might be  diluted because it is a very gradual process  Darwinism is not able to explain a lot  Why is Mendel so important to newly emerging community of  genetics research WEEK 8  Mendel’s approach can carry a lot of promise o William Bateson (1902)  Mendelian genetics are very crucial to the scientific community  Source of hereditary trust o Practical use of Mendelian genetics not that obvious o Bearded and unbearded wheat—draws the wrong conclusion from this  example  Making case about practical utility Friday, March 25, 2016 Discussion Section  Chapter 1 of Jon Agar reading o Agar takes on a broad approach of history, what are the pros and cons of  that approach  Nice to have a general view of history  Bad that it’s not specific and dilutes the complexity, thus takes  stances on issues   Working worlds in the 20  century   How context influences science  He presents his opinions as facts o What are the main historical questions that Agar addresses through this?  What scientists did in the 20  century  Focused on the people and the concepts  Wants to answer the question of why the USA became a dominant  science power o What were the major working worlds on the 20  century?  Military  Maintenance of the human body o Continuities he saw through the 19  and 20  centuries th  Infrasthucture of science research was set in the 19  century and  the 20  century built upon that  Funding and patronage  Royalty supported science then  Companies support science now  Particular problems needed to be solved o Chapter 2 th  Important developments in physics in the 19  century  Electromagnetic waves by Maxwell  Technological developments shaped the rise of science  during this time  How were electromagnetism and the X ray influenced by the   Metrology, lab research   Telegraph  WEEK 8  Radium economy, how did the Curie’s contribute to it?  In the 20  century there is only applied science  Difference between science that you can apply and  application­driven science  Studies of evolution now o Self­fulfilling desire/application  Quantum theory  Einstein o What was his industrial context and how did it influence his work?  Patent officer o Newtonian physics  Criticisms: absolute time and relative time o Traditional view of Einstein   We think of Einstein as a lone genius  But he had a team and worked with others  Biology o Gradual changes vs. radical changes o Theory of pangenesis by Charles Darwin o Alternate theories of heredity  August Weismann  Germ plasm theory  Inheritance only takes place in the germ cells  Environmental changes  Too slow and too young o Mendel  Inheritance, Punnett squares  Agriculture  Experimental cross­breeding  Funding sources o Government funding  Application of new science of genetics to humans o Eugenics  Lab applications o


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