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By Edmund T. Whittaker

The aim of this quantity is to explain the revolution in physics which happened within the first region of the 20th century, and which integrated the discoveries of distinctive Relativity, the older Quantum thought, basic Relativity, Matrix Mechanics and Wave Mechanics.

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A history of theories of ether and electricity. The classical theories

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Extra resources for A history of theories of ether and electricity. The classical theories

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It is by recognizing that a finite and generally limited number of qualities, properties and laws may be adequate in given contexts, conditions, and degrees of approximation that we avoid the procedure of simply falling back into an arbitrary multiplication of qualities that was characteristic of the pre-mechanistic point of view, especially in the scholastic form of the Aristotelian philosophy that was prevalent in the Middle Ages. See Bohm, Causality and Chance in Modern Physics, Chs 3 and 4. This is suggested by the wave–particle duality in the general properties of matter, which implies, as we have seen, that we may have to deal with some new kind of thing that can, under suitable circumstances, act either like a localized particle or like an extended field.

We conclude, then, that we must finally reach a stage in every theory where we introduce the notion of something with unvarying and exhaustively specifiable modes of being, if only because we cannot possibly take into account all the inexhaustibly rich properties, qualities, and relationships that exist in the process of becoming. At this point, then, we are making an abstraction from the real process of becoming. Whether the abstraction is adequate or not depends on whether or not the specific phenomena that we are studying depend significantly on what we have left out.

Then, coming to the consideration of the origin of life, we have the hypothesis of Opharin, which gives at least the general outlines of how living matter could have come into existence on the earth. , would have led to a chance mixing of various organic compounds until at last a substance appeared that began to reproduce itself at the expense of the surrounding organic material. As a result, the contradictory character of the motions at the inorganic level created the conditions in which a whole new level could come into existence, the level of living matter.

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