By Edmund T. Whittaker
Very good therapy of Electrodynamics and Relativity concept from a good old standpoint. Whittaker's perspectives are suppressed simply because he used to be courageous sufficient to inform the reality in regards to the real contributions of Einstein to the Relativity conception (properly attributed to Poincaré and Lorentz).
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Having spoken at length about what I don’t mean, now I want to say what I do mean. But I’m not trying here to say anything new, that you don’t all already know. What I’m trying to do is precisely the opposite: to identify what we can all agree on. In all branches of science we try to discover generalizations about nature, and having discovered them we always ask why they are true. I don’t mean why we believe they are true, but why they are true. Why is nature that way? When we answer this question the answer is always found partly in contingencies, that is, partly in just the nature of the problem that we pose, but partly in other generalizations.
Our work, although we are delighted if it has some utility, is not particularly directed toward utility. Nor 38 = Newton’s Dream have we chosen the problems we are working on because they are fun or mathematically interesting. Sometimes we are accused of that, and in fact, sometimes, as a kind of self-protection and to avoid the accusation of taking ourselves too seriously, we claim that we do the work we do just for fun. But that is not all there is to it. We, meaning the community of elementary particle physicists and those in the related disciplines of cosmology and astrophysics, have a historical goal in mind.
The normal modes of vibration are what we see as different species of particles, but they are all one kind of string. This kind of theory has a long way to go before it is able to explain things like the values of the eighteen parameters of the Standard Model. I have taken as landmarks in this discussion the 1920s synthesis in terms of the quantum mechanics of electrons and protons and the 1970s synthesis of the Standard Model, so by an arithmetical progression, we really shouldn’t expect any new breakthroughs until 2020.