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Why did Poincaré not formulate special relativity in 1905? (English) Zbl 0855.01018
Greffe, Jean-Louis (ed.) et al., Henri Poincaré. Science et philosophie: congrès international, mai 14-18, 1994, Nancy, France. Berlin: Akademie Verlag. 69-100 (1996).
This study discusses the so-called “competition” between Poincaré and Einstein versus the authorship of the famous theory of relativity. The general idea has been that, starting from the same empirical data, both mathematicians formulated identical formalisms. However, the conclusion of the study is that Poincaré did not settle a theory of motion, based on the relativity of time and simultaneity; he never attributed a relativistic interpretation to the Lorenzian transformations, so that even if Einstein might have been influenced by Poincaré’s ideas (see ‘La science et l’hypothèse’, and also ‘La théorie de la réaction et la théorie de Lorenz’) he remains the indisputable author of the famous theory.
There are also presented some aspects of Poincaré’s philosophy of science, his view of time in mechanics and electromagnetic theory; the comments made by Giedymin, Whittaker and Zahar on the contrasting ideas put forth by the two scientists; the notion of time in mechanics, and in the electromagnetic theory, the dynamics of electrons; time and simultaneity in special relativity.
For the entire collection see [Zbl 0838.00010].
Reviewer: C.Irimia (Iaşi)
MSC:
01A60 History of mathematics in the 20th century
Biographic References:
Poincaré, H.
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