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Mechanistic Images in Geometric FormHeinrich Hertz's 'Principles of Mechanics'$
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Jesper Lützen

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780198567370

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198567370.001.0001

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List of conclusions

List of conclusions

(p.290) 28 List of conclusions
Mechanistic Images in Geometric Form


Oxford University Press

This chapter presents a list of conclusions about Heinrich Hertz's mechanics. First, Hertz conceived of his mechanics as the foundation of all of physics and thought that there was strong empirical evidence for the existence of atoms, but since his mechanics was supposed to be the foundation of the atomic structures as well, it was not (and could not be) based on an atomic theory of matter. Hertz's work on electromagnetism provided a threefold background for his work on mechanics: as an axiomatic reorganisation of a field of physics, as an area of physics that needed mechanical explanation, and as an investigation that suggested that actions at a distance could and should be eliminated from physics. Hertz also investigated if gravitation could be described as a field theory. Hertz considered the theory of the ether as ‘the all-important problem’ of physics, and he conceived of his book Principles of Mechanics as a necessary foundation for such a theory. The physical idea of how to introduce forces seems to have been clear to Hertz from the start. Moreover, it is necessary to distinguish between images and many concepts related to images.

Keywords:   Heinrich Hertz, mechanics, physics, ether, atoms, electromagnetism, gravitation, forces, images

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