Founders of Physics
I was wondering, who is/are considered the founders of
physics? I am doing a presentation in class and have been researching and
have not really come up with a specific answer. Who is considered the
fore-fathers of this science?
I recommend that you look at a book on history of physics or history of
knowledge (because in the old days the sage men and women were often
physicist, chemist, philosopher, and more, all at the same time).
I can think of the books by ASIMOV (history of physics) which you can borrow
from your library, but perhaps you would be interested in more basic texts.
Nothing comes to my mind now but please talk with your reference librarian.
They provide an unbelievable wealth of information.
As you read history, you may want to bear in mind an essential point which
relates specifically to your question. History (i.e., what is written in the
books/press) is very selective and often distorted. Fame is not the same
thing as accomplishment. Distinguishing this years after the fact is rather
difficult. Besides, science is far more complex than sports and it is much
harder to objectively determine one's contribution. Scientists heavily rely
on the wisdom and knowledge of so many of their peers and predecessors to
accomplish what they do. Those who acquire fame, whether justifiably or not,
tend to remain famous and overshadow other, even deserving, individuals. That
is why many people know Einstein but not Lorenz, Newton but not Leibniz, Crick
and Watson but not Rosalind Franklin, Edison but not Tesla. Perhaps you can
look up these names and contrast the first set of names with the second. These
people are famous for their work in relativity, calculus, DNA, and
electricity, respectively. And while you are at it, try to find out who the
inventor algebra is. This invention and more basic ones such as that of
numbers were fundamental in our understanding of the physical world, yet you
will find very few people who ever heard of the inventors.
Ali Khounsary, Ph.D.
Advanced Photon Source
Argonne National Laboratory
I do not believe any one individual can be called the fore-father of physics.
To realize that objects tend to fall to the ground is part of physics. If
you want the first person who tried to record physics laws, I expect
Aristotle is your best choice. He was incorrect in many ways. The first
person to use experiments as the basis for written physics laws is Galileo.
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Update: June 2012