David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 29 (1):1-35 (1998)
Ernst Mach is the only person whom Einstein included on both the list of physicists he considered his true precursors, and the list of the philosophers who had most affected him. Einstein scholars have been less generous in their estimation of Mach's contributions to Einstein's work, and even amongst the more generous of them, Mach's great achievements in physics are seldom mentioned in this context. This is odd, considering Mach was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Physics three times. In this paper, I examine some of Mach's work in physics that bears conceptually on Einstein's 1905 paper on Special Relativity ("On The Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies"). Mach was the first to give the correct explanation of the Doppler Effect, and he presented it in a way that Einstein echoes in his 1905 paper: laying out two apparently contradictory principles and showing how both can be retained. It is also notable that Mach's explanation was explicit about not relying on the existence of a medium of transmission for the propagation of light waves. In his work on supersonic shock waves, Mach invokes the constancy of the velocity of sound (i.e., its independence of the motion of the sound source) , just as he had invoked the constancy of the velocity of light in his work on the Doppler Effect for Light. I examine the analogies between light and sound that were drawn upon by Einstein and Mach, as well as one analogy that Einstein could have, but did not make: Cherenkov radiation, or "singing electrons", i.e., cases in which the sound of light in the medium of transmission is exceeded, which results in an optical analogue of supersonic shock waves
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
Dirk Schlimm (2008). Two Ways of Analogy: Extending the Study of Analogies to Mathematical Domains. Philosophy of Science 75 (2):178-200.
Similar books and articles
John Blackmore (1989). Ernst Mach Leaves 'the Church of Physics'. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 40 (4):519-540.
John D. Norton, Einstein's Miraculous Argument of 1905: The Thermodynamic Grounding of Light Quanta.
John D. Norton (2009). How Hume and Mach Helped Einstein Find Special Relativity. In Michael Friedman, Mary Domski & Michael Dickson (eds.), Discourse on a New Method: Reinvigorating the Marriage of History and Philosophy of Science. Open Court. 359--86.
Veit Pittioni (1989). Mach I, Mach II, Einstein and the Theory of Relativity. Philosophy and History 22 (1):57-57.
Irving F. Laucks (1959). Was Newton Right After All? Philosophy of Science 26 (3):229-239.
Robert Rynasiewicz & Jürgen Renn (2006). The Turning Point for Einstein's Annus Mirabilis☆. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 37 (1):5-35.
Denis Fisette (2012). Phenomenology and Phenomenalism: Ernst Mach and the Genesis of Husserl's Phenomenology. [REVIEW] Axiomathes 22 (1):53-74.
Erik C. Banks (2001). Ernst Mach and the Episode of the Monocular Depth Sensations. Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences 37 (4):327-348.
John D. Norton (1995). Mach's Principle Before Einstein. In Julian B. Barbour & H. Pfister (eds.), Mach's Principle: From Newton's Bucket to Quantum Gravity. Birkhäuser.
Robert DiSalle (1990). Book Review:Mach I, Mach II, Einstein, und Die Relativitatstheorie. Eine Falschung und Ihre Folgen Gereon Wolter. [REVIEW] Philosophy of Science 57 (4):712-.
J. T. Blackmore (1989). Book Reviews : Mach I, Mach II, Einstein Und Die Relativitatstheorie-Eine Falschung Und Ihre Folgen. By Gereon Wolters. Berlin and New York: Walter de Gruyter, 1987. Pp. 474. D.M. 188. [REVIEW] Philosophy of the Social Sciences 19 (2):235-237.
Sabine Plaud, On Photographs and Phonographs: New Techniques of Recording and Their Influence on Mach's Conception of Knowledge.
John Norton, Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity and the Problems in the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies That Led Him to It.
Added to index2010-09-13
Total downloads6 ( #211,669 of 1,100,089 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #304,128 of 1,100,089 )
How can I increase my downloads?