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  1. Understanding Noise in Twentieth-Century Physics and Engineering.Chen-Pang Yeang - 2016 - Perspectives on Science 24 (1):1-6.
    Noise is a common experience in the contemporary world. Din from traffic, construction sites, factories, and neighbors bother urban residents. Radio listeners, television watchers, and mobile phone users have to endure statics and fading from time to time. Music lovers have debated whether jazz, atonal composition, rock and roll, rap, and abstract expressionism are art or nuisance. Scientists try to retrieve genuine signals from fluctuating data. Engineers design devices, software, or systems to filter out disturbance to the normal functioning of (...)
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  • Two Mathematical Approaches to Random Fluctuations.Chen-Pang Yeang - 2016 - Perspectives on Science 24 (1):45-72.
    Randomness, uncertainty, and lack of regularity had concerned savants for a long time. As early as the seventeenth century, Blaise Pascal conceived the arithmetic of chance for gambling. At the height of positional astronomy, mathematicians developed a theory of errors to cope with random deviations in astronomical observations. In the nineteenth century, pioneers of statistics employed probabilistic calculus to define “normal” and “pathological” in the distribution of social characters, while physicists devised the statistical-mechanical interpretation of thermodynamic effects. By the end (...)
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  • Tubes, randomness, and Brownian motions: or, how engineers learned to start worrying about electronic noise.Chen-Pang Yeang - 2011 - Archive for History of Exact Sciences 65 (4):437-470.
    In this paper, we examine the pioneering research on electronic noise—the current fluctuations in electronic circuit devices due to their intrinsic physical characteristics rather than their defects—in Germany and the U.S. during the 1910s–1920s. Such research was not just another demonstration of the general randomness of the physical world Einstein’s work on Brownian motion had revealed. In contrast, we stress the importance of a particular engineering context to electronic noise studies: the motivation to design and improve high-gain thermionic-tube amplifiers for (...)
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  • Moving Molecules Above the Scientific Horizon: On Perrin’s Case for Realism. [REVIEW]Stathis Psillos - 2011 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 42 (2):339-363.
    This paper aims to cast light on the reasons that explain the shift of opinion—from scepticism to realism—concerning the reality of atoms and molecules in the beginning of the twentieth century, in light of Jean Perrin’s theoretical and experimental work on the Brownian movement. The story told has some rather interesting repercussions for the rationality of accepting the reality of explanatory posits. Section 2 presents the key philosophical debate concerning the role and status of explanatory hypotheses c. 1900, focusing on (...)
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  • Film lessons: early cinema for historians of science.Jesse Olszynko-Gryn - 2016 - British Journal for the History of Science 49 (2):279-286.
    Despite much excellent work over the years, the vast history of scientific filmmaking is still largely unknown. Historians of science have long been concerned with visual culture, communication and the public sphere on the one hand, and with expertise, knowledge production and experimental practice on the other. Scientists, we know, drew pictures, took photographs and made three-dimensional models. Rather like models, films could not be printed in journals until the digital era, and this limited their usefulness as evidence. But that (...)
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  • Modality in Physics.Gábor Hofer-Szabó, Joanna Luc & Tomasz Placek - 2020 - Foundations of Physics 50 (6):515-521.
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  • “The Swarming of Life”: Moving Images, Education, and Views through the Microscope.Oliver Gaycken - 2011 - Science in Context 24 (3):361-380.
    ArgumentDiscussions of the scientific uses of moving-image technologies have emphasized applications that culminated in static images, such as the chronophotographic decomposition of movement into discrete and measurable instants. The projection of movement, however, was also an important capability of moving-image technologies that scientists employed in a variety of ways. Views through the microscope provide a particularly sustained and prominent instance of the scientific uses of the moving image. The category of “education” subsumes theses various scientific uses, providing a means by (...)
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