Sunday, September 13, 2015

Rothman on Einstein's famous equation

Tony Rothman writes a SciAm article on Was Einstein the First to Invent E = mc2?:
According to scientific folklore, Albert Einstein formulated this equation in 1905 and, in a single blow, explained how energy can be released in stars and nuclear explosions. This is a vast oversimplification. Einstein was neither the first person to consider the equivalence of mass and energy, nor did he actually prove it.
I pointed out Rothman saying similar things in 2011 and 2013. He once claimed that Einstein did everything credited to him, and changed his mind in the light of all the evidence that Einstein got his famous big ideas from others.

Robert A. Herrmann wrote a 2000 paper explaining why the equation is not Einstein's discovery.

SciAm has a whole issue on the 100th anniversary of general relativity. Not much is new. I may comment on more of it. In the meantime, you can read previous blog postings on the subject, or my book, How Einstein Ruined Physics.

Rothman also has a new paper on Cardano v Tartaglia: The Great Feud Goes Supernatural. There was a hot 16th century rivalry between two mathematicians trying to solve cubic equations. The myth is that one had the other arrested on charges of heresy for having cast a horoscope of Jesus Christ. Rothman tries to get to the bottom of it, and finds this and related stories to be improbable.

1 comment:

  1. It's nice when popular venues actual get around to correcting the record. Team Schlafly scores another point.

    The "Great Feud" sounds like the melodrama of depressed cubical workers.