Article ID: CBB111296476

Poincaré and the Origins of Special Relativity (2016)


After introductory surveys of Poincaré’s role in the Dreyfus case and of his “Fourth Geometry,” I turn to the main question. The problem confronting both Poincaré and Einstein was how to reconcile the phenomena of electrodynamics, notably the optical principle of relativity, with the principles of Newtonian mechanics. I show that, on such questions as the existence and role of the ether and the relation between kinematics and dynamics, Poincaré and Einstein held diametrically opposed views. Poincaré did everything to preserve the old viewpoint, while Einstein abandoned the absolute time and proposed a new mechanics.

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Authors & Contributors
Ginoux, Jean-Marc
Christian Gerini
Polak, Paweł
Ferdinand Verhulst
Tavel, Morton
Stachel, John J.
Archive for History of Exact Sciences
Studia Historiae Scientiarum
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics
Revue d'Histoire des Sciences
Revue d'Histoire des Mathématiques
Physis: Rivista Internazionale di Storia della Scienza
World Scientific
American Mathematical Society
Springer Science + Business Media
Rutgers University Press
Relativity, special
Relativity, general
Poincaré, Jules Henri
Einstein, Albert
Zawirski, Zygmunt
Weber, Heinrich
Popper, Karl Raimund
Mach, Ernst
Time Periods
20th century
20th century, early
19th century
18th century
Cracow (Poland)
United States
Uniwersytet Lwowski (Lwów, Poland)

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