When Physics Became King
When Physics Became King traces the emergence of this revolutionary science, demonstrating how a discipline that barely existed in 1800 came to be regarded a century later as the ultimate key to unlocking nature's secrets. A cultural history designed to provide a big-picture view, the book ably ties advances in the field to the efforts of physicists who worked to win social acceptance for their research.
Beginning his tale with the rise of physics from natural philosophy, Iwan Morus chronicles the emergence of mathematical physics in France and its later export to England and Germany. He then elucidates the links between physics and industrialism, the technology of statistical mechanics, and the establishment of astronomical laboratories and precision measurement tools. His tale ends on the eve of the First World War, when physics had firmly established itself in both science and society.
Scholars of both history and physics will enjoy this fascinating and studied look at the emergence of a major scientific discipline.
1. Queen of the Sciences
2. A Revolutionary Science
3. The Romance of Nature
4. The Science of Showmanship
5. The Science of Work
6. Mysterious Fluids and Forces
7. Mapping the Heavens
8. Places of Precision
9. Imperial Physics
"This is a story about the ascendance of physics as viewed by the public and, more importantly, by government and industry. As
Morus puts it, physics became 'the ultimate authority in nature'. It is a fascinating story, well told and mostly based on the latest
research by professional historians of science."
"In a beautifully written and engaging synthesis, Morus sheds new light on familiar topics and people .... The result is by far the best history of 19th-century physics that is now available."
Natural Philosophy to the end of the 19th century with Physics established as a University discipline requiring proper training, having a well-defined career structure, and imposing research obligations on working physicists....The book is informative, well structured and a joy to read. It ought to appeal not only to the relatively narrow audience of science historians, but to working physicists and to the general public."