Concepts of Mass in Contemporary Physics and Philosophy by Max Jammer

By Max Jammer

The thought of mass is among the such a lot basic notions in physics, similar in value simply to these of area and time. yet not like the latter, that are the topic of innumerable actual and philosophical reports, the idea that of mass has been yet hardly ever investigated. the following Max Jammer, a number one thinker and historian of physics, offers a concise yet entire, coherent, and self-contained research of the idea that of mass because it is outlined, interpreted, and utilized in modern physics and because it is severely tested within the sleek philosophy of technological know-how. With its concentrate on theories proposed after the mid-1950s, the booklet is the 1st of its sort, protecting the newest experimental and theoretical investigations into the character of mass and its function in smooth physics, from the area of trouble-free debris to the cosmology of galaxies.

The e-book starts with an research of the chronic problems of defining inertial mass in a noncircular demeanour and discusses the comparable query of no matter if mass is an observational or a theoretical idea. It then experiences the idea of mass in detailed relativity and the fragile challenge of even if the relativistic leisure mass is the one valid inspiration of mass and if it is exact with the classical (Newtonian) mass. this can be via a severe research of different derivations of the well-known mass-energy dating E = mc2 and its conflicting interpretations. Jammer then devotes a bankruptcy to the excellence among inertial and gravitational mass and to a number of the models of the so-called equivalence precept with which Newton initiated his Principia yet which additionally grew to become the start line of Einstein's normal relativity, which supersedes Newtonian physics. The ebook concludes with a presentation of lately proposed worldwide and native dynamical theories of the foundation and nature of mass.

Destined to turn into a much-consulted reference for philosophers and physicists, this ebook is additionally written for the nonprofessional normal reader drawn to the rules of physics.

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Poincar´ e, “Sur la dynamique de l’´electron,” Rendiconti del Circolo Matematico di Palermo 21, 129–176 (1906); Oeuvres de Henri Poincar´e, vol. 9 (Paris: Gauthier-Villars, 1954), pp. 494–550. 74 Abraham, 36 INERTIAL MASS a divergence to infinity also had to be faced by the modern field theory of quantum electrodynamics. With the advent of the special theory of relativity in the early years of the twentieth century, physicists and philosophers focused their attention on the concept of relativistic mass.

See also P. , pp. 35–53. 60 P. ,” Journal for General Philosophy of Science 8, 303–313 (1977); “Newton ab omni naevo vindicatus,” Philosophia Naturalis 18, 243–255 (1981); “Die Eindeutigkeit der Massemessung und die Definition der Tr¨agheit,” Philosophia Naturalis 22, 87–103 (1985); “The Concept of Mass,” in R. E. Butts and J. R. , Constructivism and Science (Dordrecht: Kluwer, 1989), pp. 145–162. 30 INERTIAL MASS of equal length can be verified geometrically. If these conditions are satisfied the two bodies are said to be “tractionally equal,” a relation that can be proved to be an equivalence relation.

Steinle, “Was ist Masse? Newton’s Begriff der Materiemenge,” Philosophia Naturalis 29, 94–118 (1992). 32 INERTIAL MASS such interactions complicate the definition of inertial mass and lead to different designations of this notion corresponding to the medium being considered. 66 In order to understand the definition of this concept let us consider the motion of a solid cylinder of radius r moving through an infinite incompressible fluid, say water or air, of density ρ, with constant velocity f v.

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