AIP History Center Newsletter
Volume XXXIX , No. 2, Fall 2007

Recent Publications of Interest
Compiled by Will Thomas

This is our usual compilation of some (by no means all) recently published articles on the history of modern physics, astronomy, geophysics and allied fields. Note that these lists have been posted on our Website since 1994, and you can search the full text of all of them (along with our annual book bibliography as well as other parts of our Website) by using our Search page at Enter your search term(s) in the box, then scroll down in the results page to "Source: Bibliographies;" you may need to click on "More Results."
For a complete list of our bibliographies of published books and journal articles on the history of physics and allied fields, visit

Volume 37, No. 2 of Historical Studies in the Physical and Biological Sciences (to be renamed Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences in 2008) is a festschrift for Russell McCormmach, featuring, among other articles: Stephen Brush, “How ideas became knowledge: the light quantum hypothesis, 1905-1935”; David Cassidy, “Oppenheimer’s first paper: molecular band spectra and a professional style”; Karl Hufbauer, “Landau’s youthful sallies into stellar theory: their origins, claims, and receptions”; Helge Kragh, “Cosmology and the entropic creation argument”; and Spencer Weart, “Money for Keeling: monitoring CO2 levels”.

Volume 40, No. 2 of the British Journal for the History of Science includes William Thomas, “The heuristics of war: scientific method and the founders of operations research,” featuring a discussion of physicists Patrick Blackett and Philip Morse; and Patrick Unwin and Robert Unwin, “ ‘A devotion to the experimental sciences and arts:’ the subscription to the great battery at the Royal Institution 1808-9,” about one means of funding scientific work in the early 19th century.

Speaking of the Royal Institution, Volume 9, No. 2 of Physics in Perspective finds Frank A. J. L. James and Anthony Peers discussing its architecture in “Constructing space for science at the Royal Institution of Great Britain”. Also see Pim Huijnen and A. J. Kox, “Paul Ehrenfest’s rough road to Leiden: a physicist’s search for a position, 1904-1912”; Jeroen van Dongen, “Reactionaries and Einstein’s fame: ‘German Scientists for the Preservation of Pure Science’, relativity, and the Bad Neuheim meeting”; and Jan Lacki provides a look at science in Geneva throughout the ages in “The physical tourist, Geneva: from the science of the Enlightenment to CERN”. No. 3 gives us Max Jammer, “Concepts of time in physics: a synopsis”; Ad Maas, “Einstein as engineer: the case of the little machine”; Georgio Dragoni, Giulio Meltese and Luisa Atti, “Quirino Majorana’s experiments on the speed of light and gravitational absorption”; Wolfgang Reiter remembers Ludwig Boltzmann a century after his death; and Antonio Drago and Salvatore Esposito, “Ettore Majorana’s course on theoretical physics: a recent discovery” (a part of a more general flood of articles Esposito has prepared on Ettore Majorana; see also two articles on hole theory and QED in Vol. 37, Nos. 6 and 7 of Foundations of Physics; and an article with Albert de Gregorio in the American Journal of Physics Vol. 75, No. 9 on Majorana and Enrico Fermi).

Archive for the History of Exact Sciences, Volume 61, No. 1 features Jed Buchwald on “Huygens’ methods for determining optical parameters in birefringence,”; while No. 2 features Tilman Sauer on “Einstein and the early theory of superconductivity, 1919-1922”.

Volume 38, No. 3 of Studies in the History and Philosophy of Modern Physics pays another visit to the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics with Kristian Camilleri’s “Bohr, Heisenberg, and divergent views of complementarity”. Also see Margaret Morrison, “Spin: all is not what it seems”; and, in No. 1, see Gordon Fleming’s essay review of Michela Massini’s recent book, Pauli’s Exclusion Principle.

Volume 38, No. 3 of Studies in the History and Philosophy of Science Part A brings us Olivier Darrigol, “A Helmholtzian approach to space and time”.

In Volume 37, No. 6 of Foundations of Physics see M. A. B. Whitaker, “Solomon’s argument on hidden variables in quantum theory”.

Science in Context, Volume 20, No. 1 includes Andrea Loettgers, “Getting abstract mathematical models in touch with nature,” on the application of physical models to new kinds of systems. In No. 2, Roland Gruschka brings us a unique discussion of “Tuvia Schalit’s Di spetsyele relativitets-teorye of 1927 and other introductions to the theory of relativity in Yiddish”; and R. I. G. Hughes, “Theoretical practice: the Bohm-Pines quartet”.

Volume 61, No. 3 of Notes and Records of the Royal Society includes John Heilbron, “Benjamin Franklin in Europe: electrician, academician, politician,” and Rajinder Singh, “India’s physics and chemistry Nobel Prize nominators and nominees in colonial and international context”.

Social Studies of Science, Volume 37 features two articles on weapons research: in No. 1, Rebecca Slayton’s “Discursive choices: boycotting Star Wars between science and politics”; and in No. 4, Felicity Mellor’s “Colliding worlds: asteroid research and the legitimization of war in space”.

On radar technologies, American Heritage of Invention and Technology offers an article on Frederic D. Schwarz and the continuing popularity of World War II-era LORAN navigational technology in Volume 23, No. 1, while Mark Wolverton writes about “The DEW Line” in Volume 22, No. 4; in this same issue see Don Bedwell’s discussion of the history of GPS technology.

Historia Scientiarum, Volume 16, No. 2 offers Albrecht Heeffer, “The logic of disguise: Descartes’ discovery of the law of refraction”; and Volume 17, No. 1 includes Steffen Ducheyne, “Huygens’ understanding of trajectory: via media Galileo and Newton”.

Annals of Science, Volume 64, No. 1 includes M. Eugene Rudd’s “Chromatic aberration of eyepieces in early telescopes”.

Along with an array of discussions of ancient astronomy and astronomical tables, Journal of the History of Astronomy Volume 38 presents J. B. Holberg and F. Wesemael, “The discovery of the companion of Sirius and its aftermath;” and Patrick Boner, “Kepler and the Epicurians: causality, coincidence, and the origins of the new star of 1604” in issue No. 2.

Journal of Astronomical History and Heritage, Volume 10, No’s. 1 and 2 features two articles co-authored by Suzanne Débarbat, James Lequeux, Wayne Orchiston, and Jean- Louis Steinberg, “Highlighting the history of French radio astronomy”; also see David W. Hughes and Brian G. Marsden, “Planet, asteroid, minor planet: A case study in astronomical nomenclature”; James Bryan, “E.E. Barnard and the eclipse of Iapetus in 1889”; P. Kevin MacKeown, “William Doberck–double star astronomer”; Joseph S. Tenn, “Lowell Observatory enters the twentieth century—in the 1950s”; Edward Waluska, “Quasars and the Caltech-Carnegie connection”; David W. Hughes and Susan Cartwright, “John Michell, the Pleiades, and odds of 496,000 to 1”; Vitor Bonifácio, Isabel Malaquias and João Fernandes, “Solar photography in the nineteenth century: The case of the Infante D. Luis Observatory in Lisbon (1871-1880)”; Bjørn Ragnvald Pettersen, “The Norwegian naval observatories”; E.Th. Theodossiou, V.N. Manimanis and P. Mantarakis, “Demetrios Eginitis: Restorer of the Athens Observatory”; Peter Brosche, “F.X. von Zach and the Fifth Continent”; James Bryan, “Stephen J. O’Meara and ring spokes before Voyager 1”.

In “The Visible College revisited: second opinions on the red scientists of the 1930s,” an essay review in Minerva Volume 45, No. 3, of recent biographies of Patrick Blackett and J. D. Bernal, Gary Werskey also reviews his own work on radical British scientists.

The August 2007 edition of the APS Bulletin focuses on women in physics, including very informative pieces on women in Asian physics. See Tan Lu and Fan Wang on Chien-Shiung Wu; and Eri Yagi and Hisako Matsuda on Toshiko Yuasa. Also, Kwang Hwa Chung reflects on her experiences as the first woman president of the Korea Research Institute of Standards and Science.

In 2007, Physics Today has run a number of historical articles: in April, Silvan Schweber, “Defending against nuclear weapons: a 1950s proposal”; in May, Michael Perry, “Remembering the oil-drop experiment”; in June, John Rigden, “Eisenhower, scientists, and Sputnik”; in July, Fae Korsmo, “The genesis of the International Geophysical Year”; and in August, Daniel Kleppner, “Master Michelson’s measurement”.

The American Journal of Physics, Volume 75 also features a nice round-up of historical articles. In addition to the De Gregorio and Esposito article mentioned above, in March Slavomir Tuleja, Boris Gazovic, Alexander Tomori, and Jozef Hanc ponder the physics of “Feynman’s wobbling plate”; in May Ronald Newburg writes about “Inertial forces, absolute space, and Mach’s principle: the genesis of relativity”; and the August issue brings us Philip Marston, “Maxwell and creation: acceptance, criticism, and his anonymous publication” as well as Jean Eisenstaedt, “From Newton to Einstein: A forgotten relativistic optics of moving bodies”.

Finally, in Physics World, Volume 20, Ed Sandifer reflects in the April issue on the legacy of Leonhard Euler on the 300th anniversary of his birth; in the May issue David Kaiser discusses the relationship between pedagogy and the content of physics research in “Turning physicists into quantum mechanics”; and in the September issue Matthew Chalmers reviews the history and controversies of string theory in his cover story “Stringscape” while philosophers Nancy Cartwright and Roman Frigg discuss whether criticisms about string theory’s lack of falsifiability really constitutes a lethal line of attack.

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