By Olivier Darrigol

This richly documented and abundantly illusrated paintings sheds new mild at the origins of Einstein's relativity.

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Extra info for Electrodynamics from Ampere to Einstein

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Did previous conceptions of electromagnetism playa role in Faraday's crucial step from the attractions to the rotations? On the first point, the answer is certainly negative. Oersted's spiralling conflict and Wollaston's electromagnetic current both indicated a circular motion of a magnetic pole around the wire. Moreover, Faraday's observations with the vertical wire added nothing to Oersted's previous observations of the same kind, save the distinction between the poles and the extremities of a magnetic needle.

Ampere 1826b: 18--44, and 18-19 for the definition of intensity. 28 FoundatIOns unstable and hardly observable, and the apparatus for the fourth one was never built, on Ampere's own admission. 72 Could It be that Ampere's law rested on paper evidence? Certainly not: Ampere knew that the equivalence between magnets and systems of currents completely determined the values of nand k. 73 For the sake of a reductionist rhetoric, however, he preferred an ideal justification of his formula that would not depend on the complicated physics of magnets.

The ring did not move, and therefore did not seem to be the seat of induced currents. Ampere inferred that randomly oriented molecular currents existed in unmagnetized iron, and explained magnetization by an orientation of these currents. ' With this positive result, the experiment could no longer serve to support the existence of molecular currents in iron. Nor was it related to the fundamental law of electrodynamics. Hence Ampere had no theoretical motivation to pursue the subject. He did not even specify whether the effect was permanent or transient, left its direction undetermined.

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