A History of the Theories of Aether and Electricity from the Age of Descartes to the Close of the Nineteenth Century

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Longmans, Green and Company, 1910 - Electricity - 475 pages

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Most likely the most comprehensive history of the electrical sciences. Unbiased, very well written. A must for anyone researching the early history of the dielectric & magnetic fields, or electricity in-and-of itself. Let it be known that there is vital information in here about how certain PRESUMPTIONS (such as those made by Fresnel) are made in theory; this allowing for one to test these presumptions with modern technology that couldn't even be comprehended during the late 19th and early 20th century.  


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Page 16 - twixt colours, and refrangibility is very precise and strict; the Rays always either exactly agreeing in both, or proportionally disagreeing in both. "3. The species of colour, and degree of Refrangibility proper to any particular sort of Rays, is not mutable by Refraction, nor by Reflection from natural bodies, nor by any other cause, that I could yet observe. When any one sort of Rays hath been well parted from those of other kinds, it hath afterwards obstinately retained its colour, notwithstanding...
Page 106 - Suppose a number of equal waves of water to move upon the surface of a stagnant lake with a certain constant velocity, and to enter a narrow channel leading out of the lake ; suppose, then, another similar cause to have excited another equal series of waves, which arrive at the same channel with the same velocity, and at the same time, with the first. Neither series of waves will destroy the other, but their effects will be combined ; if they enter the channel in such a manner that the elevations...
Page 397 - Now the most startling result of Faraday's law Is perhaps this. If we accept the hypothesis that the elementary substances are composed of atoms, we cannot avoid concluding that electricity also, positive as well as negative, is divided into definite elementary portions, which behave like atoms of electricity.
Page 218 - ... if a particle of each kind of matter were placed in the magnetic field, both would become magnetic, and each would have its axis parallel to the resultant of magnetic force passing through it ; but the particle of magnetic matter would have its north and south poles opposite...
Page 206 - ... 918. All the facts show us that that power commonly called chemical affinity, can be communicated to a distance through the metals and certain forms of carbon; that the electric current is only another form of the forces of chemical affinity; that its power is in proportion to the chemical affinities producing it; that when it is deficient in force it may be helped by calling in chemical aid, the want in the former being made up by an equivalent of the latter; that, in other words, the forces...
Page 200 - According to it, the equivalent weights of bodies are simply those quantities of them which contain equal quantities of electricity, or have naturally equal electric powers ; it being the ELECTRICITY which datefmines the equivalent number, because it determines the combining force.
Page 18 - I suppose light is neither aether, nor its vibrating motion, but something of a different kind propagated from lucid bodies. They that will may suppose it an aggregate of various peripatetic qualities. Others may suppose it multitudes of unimaginable small and swift corpuscles of various sizes springing from shining bodies at great distances one after another, but yet without any sensible interval of time...
Page 201 - Or, if we adopt the atomic theory or phraseology, then the atoms of bodies which are equivalents to each other in their ordinary chemical action, have equal quantities of electricity naturally associated with them. But I must confess I am jealous of the term atom ; for though it is very easy to talk of atoms, it is very difficult to form a clear idea of their nature, especially when compound bodies are under consideration.
Page 31 - Let him also tell me, how an electrick Body can by Friction emit an Exhalation so rare and subtile, and yet so potent, as by its Emission to cause no sensible Diminution of the weight of the electrick Body, and to be expanded through a Sphere, whose Diameter is above two Feet, and yet to be able to agitate and carry up Leaf Copper, or Leaf Gold, at the distance of above a Foot from the electrick Body?
Page 404 - The assumption of a state of matter more finely subdivided than the atom of an element is a somewhat startling one : but a hypothesis that would involve somewhat similar consequences . . . viz. that the so-called elements are compounds of some primordial element . . . has been put forward from time to time by various chemists.

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