•  49
    This paper traces the origins of Eugene Wigner's pioneering application of group theory to quantum physics to his early work in chemistry and crystallography. In the early 1920s, crystallography was the only discipline in which symmetry groups were routinely used. Wigner's early training in chemistry, and his work in crystallography with Herman Mark and Karl Weissenberg at the Kaiser Wilhelm institute for fiber research in Berlin exposed him to conceptual tools which were absent from the pedagog…Read more
  •  31
    J. J. Thomson: The discovery of the electron and the chemists
    Annals of Science 48 (6): 527-544. 1991.
    This article examines the origins and development of J. J. Thomson's chemical thought, and the reception of his theories by chemists. Thomson's interest in chemical combination and atomic theories of matter dates from his formative schooldays at Owens College, Manchester. These themes constituted a persistent leitmotif in the development of Thomson's style of thought, and provided a powerful stimulus which enabled him to enunciate the concept of electrons as fundamental particles. Thomson's infl…Read more
  •  9
    Tragedy and Science
    History of European Ideas 25 (4): 163-177. 1999.
    Tragic theater is a phenomenon both extremely rare and sadly ephemeral. Perusal of Nietzsche will lead to the proposal that tragic theater developed in periods marked by scientific revolutions, related here to sweeping and far-ranging changes in the social fabric and the myths — or world theories — underlying it. Tragic theater expresses an insoluble conflict between a mythology in decline and a new form of culture, epitomized by a new world theory. True tragic theater therefore exhibits the sam…Read more
  •  6
    Carothers's polymerisation theory, and Flory's enunciation of equal reactivities, were hybrids of ideas, extensions by analogy of the principles and methods of rigorous scientific disciplines into a new field, still in a state of conceptual unclarity. Their hybrid-ideas were radical innovations which contributed towards establishing polymer chemistry as a separate chemical discipline. Joseph Ben-David's theory of hybridisation can cast new light on the social and technological origins of signifi…Read more