978-1-4730-0624-9 (.epub)

'Our experience shows that only a small part of the physical Universe needs to be studied in order to elucidate its underlying themes and patterns of behaviour. At root this is what it means for there to exist laws of Nature, and it is why they are invaluable to us. They may allow an understanding of the whole Universe to be built up from the study of small selected parts of it.” John D. Barrow (1988), The World Within the World, Oxford.

'There is only one Universe … It can happen to only one man in the world's history to be the interpreter of its laws.'

'Science owes more to the steam engine than the steam engine owes to Science.' L.J. Henderson (1917)

First law of thermodynamics When all types of energy transfer, including work and heat, are taken into account, the energy of an isolated system remains constant.

Second law of thermodynamics The total entropy of an isolated system cannot decrease: it may (and generally does) increase.

'I wish we could derive the rest of the phenomena of Nature by the same kind of reasoning from mechanical principles, for I am induced by many reasons to suspect that they may all depend upon certain forces by which the particles of the bodies, by some causes hitherto unknown, are either mutually impelled towards one another, and cohere in regular figures, or are repelled and recede from one another.' Isaac Newton (1686), Principia.

'Shut yourself up with some friend in the main cabin below decks on some large ship, and have with you there some flies, butterflies and other small flying animals. Have a large bowl of water with some fish in it: hang up a bottle that empties drop by drop into a wide vessel beneath it. With the ship standing still, observe carefully how the little animals fly with equal speed to all sides of the cabin. The fish swim indifferently in all directions; the drop falls into the vessel beneath; and, in throwing something to your friend, you need throw no more strongly in one direction than another, the distances being equal; jumping with your feet together, you pass equal spaces in every direction. When you have observed all these things carefully (though there is no doubt that when the ship is standing still everything must happen in this way), have the ship proceed with any speed you like, so long as the motion is uniform and not fluctuating this way and that. You will discover not the least change in all the effects named, nor could you tell from any of them whether the ship was moving or standing still." Galileo Galilei (1632), Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief Systems of the World.

'Henceforth space by itself, and time by itself, are doomed to fade away into mere shadows, and only a kind of union of the two will preserve an independent reality.' Hermann Minkowski, Space and Time in A. Einstein et al. (1952), The Principle of Relativity, New York, Dover Publications.

'Matter tells space how to curve. Space tells matter how to move.'

'… they form a world of potentialities or possibilities rather than one of things or facts.' Werner Heisenberg

'There is no quantum world.' Niels Bohr

Force | Strength | Range | Force carrier |
---|---|---|---|

strong | 10^{−1} | 10^{−15} m | gluon |

electromagnetic | 10^{−2} | infinite | photon |

weak | 10^{−2} | 10^{−17} m | W and Z bosons |

gravitational | 10^{−45} | infinite | graviton(?) |

c. 624 BC | Birth of Thales of Miletus: traditionally 'the first physicist'. |

384 BC | Birth of Aristotle: author of Physics. |

1543 | Nicolaus Copernicus' De Revolutionibus Orbium Celestium. |

1600 | William Gilbert's De Magnete describing the behaviour of magnets. |

1609 | Johannes Kepler's first and second laws published in Astronomia Nova. |

1632 | Galileo's Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief Systems of the World published. |

1638 | Galileo's work on motion described in his Discorsi. |

1687 | Newton's laws of motion and gravitation published in his Principia. |

1704 | Newton's work on light and spectra described in his Opticks. |

1729 | Stephen Gray discovers electrical conduction. |

1736 | Leonhard Euler introduces differential equations into mechanics. |

1755 | Euler lays the foundations of fluid mechanics. |

1784 | Pierre Laplace introduces concept of electric potential. |

1785 | Charles Coulomb announces his law of electrostatics. |

1799 | Pierre Laplace's Méchanique Céleste (Volume 1). |

1801 | Thomas Young demonstrates the wave nature of light. |

1803 | John Dalton proposes his atomic theory of matter. |

1820 | Hans Oersted demonstrates electromagnetism. |

1821 | Michael Faraday demonstrates the principle of the electric motor. |

1825 | Sadi Carnot lays the foundations of thermodynamics. |

1843 | James Joule determines the mechanical equivalent of heat. |

1847 | Hermann von Helmholtz formulates conservation of energy. |

1848 | Lord Kelvin proposes the absolute temperature scale. |

1849 | Armand Fizeau makes first accurate measurement of the speed of light. |

1850 | Rudolf Clausius introduces entropy. |

1859 | James Clerk Maxwell develops the kinetic theory of gases. |

1865 | Maxwell's Dynamical Theory of the Electromagnetic Field. |

1871 | Dmitry Mendeleev's periodic table of the elements. |

1877 | Ludwig Boltzmann introduces statistical interpretation of entropy. |

1882 | Albert Michelson measures the speed of light. |

1887 | Michelson-Morley experiment fails to detect the ether. |

1887 | Heinrich Hertz discovers photoelectric effect. |

1888 | Heinrich Hertz demonstrates the existence of radio waves. |

1895 | Wilhelm Röntgen discovers X-rays. |

1896 | Henri Becquerel discovers radioactivity. |

1897 | J. J. Thomson discovers the electron. |

1900 | Max Planck introduces the quantum. |

1905 | Einstein publishes papers on special relativity, Brownian motion and the photoelectric effect. |

1911 | Ernest Rutherford announces discovery of the atomic nucleus. |

1911 | Victor Hess discovers cosmic rays. |

1913 | Niels Bohr's quantum theory of the atom. |

1916 | Einstein's general theory of relativity. |

1924 | Bose-Einstein statistics introduced. |

1925 | Heisenberg introduces quantum mechanics (matrix form). |

1925 | Wolfgang Pauli announces the exclusion principle. |

1926 | Schrödinger introduces wave mechanics. |

1926 | Bom's probability interpretation of quantum mechanics. |

1926 | Fermi-Dirac statistics introduced. |

1926 | Heisenberg formulates the uncertainty principle. |

1928 | The Dirac equation describes relativistic electrons and leads to an understanding of spin and the prediction of antiparticles. |

1929 | Edwin Hubble discovers the expansion of the Universe. |

1932 | James Chadwick discovers the neutron. |

1932 | Carl Anderson discovers the positron. |

1934 | Fermi introduces the weak interaction. |

1935 | Hideki Yukawa lays the foundation of the strong interaction. |

1939 | Otto Hahn and Lise Meitner discover nuclear fission. |

1948 | John Bardeen, William Brattain and William Shockley produce the transistor. |

1948 | Feynman introduces his diagrams for quantum electrodynamics. |

1948 | George Gamow proposes the basis of Big Bang theory. |

1964 | Murray Gell-Mann introduces quarks. |

1965 | Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson discover cosmic microwave background radiation. |

1967 | Jocelyn Bell Burnell discovers first pulsar (a neutron star). |

1968 | Steven Weinberg, Abdus Salam and Sheldon Glashow develop unified theory of electroweak interaction. |

1972 | Fritsch, Gell-Mann and Bardeen develop quantum chromodynamics. |

1977 | Klaus von Klitzing discovers the quantum Hall effect. |

1980 | Alan Guth proposes an inflationary early Universe. |

1981 | Green and Schwarz introduce superstring theory. |

1982 | Alain Aspect conducts experiment demonstrating non-local aspects of quantum physics. |

1986 | Bednorz and Mueller discover high-temperature superconductivity. |

1991 | CERN confirms the existence of three generations of fundamental particles. |

1995 | Witten and Townsend develop M-Theory. |

1995 | Cornell, Wieman and Anderson discover Bose-Einstein condensate of atomic gas. |

Discussion 2019012600