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Archimedes NEW STUDIES IN THE HISTORY AND PHILOSOPHY OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY VOLUMES EDITOR JED Z.

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  • Archimedes Volume 5

  • Archimedes NEW STUDIES IN THE HISTORY AND PHILOSOPHY OF

    SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

    VOLUMES

    EDITOR

    JED Z. BucHWALD, Dreyfuss Professor of History, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, USA.

    ADVISORY BOARD

    HENK Bos, University of Utrecht MORDECHAI FEINGOLD, Virginia Polytechnic Institute

    ALLAN D. FRANKLIN, University of Colorado at Boulder KoSTAS GAVROGLU, National Technical University of Athens

    ANTHONY GRAFI'ON, Princeton University FREDERIC L. HOLMES, Yale University

    PAUL HOYNINGEN-HUENE, University of Hannover EVELYN Fox KELLER, MIT

    TREVOR LEVERE, University ofToronto }ESPER LOTzEN, Copenhagen University WILLIAM NEWMAN, Harvard University

    JDRGEN RENN, Max-Planck-lnstitutfiir Wissenschaftsgeschichte ALEX ROLAND, Duke University

    ALAN SHAPIRO, University of Minnesota NANCY SIRAISI, Hunter College of the City University of New York

    NOEL SWERDLOW, University of Chicago

    Archimedes has three fundamental goals; to further the integration of the histories of science and technology with one another: to investigate the technical, social and prac- tical histories of specific developments in science and technology; and finally, where possible and desirable, to bring the histories of science and technology into closer con- tact with the philosophy of science. To these ends, each volume will have its own theme and title and will be planned by one or more members of the Advisory Board in consultation with the editor. Although the volumes have specific themes, the series it- self will not be limited to one or even to a few particular areas. Its subjects include any of the sciences, ranging from biology through physics, all aspects of technology, bro- adly construed, as well as historically-engaged philosophy of science or technology. Taken as a whole, Archimedes will be of interest to historians, philosophers, and scien- tists, as well as to those in business and industry who seek to understand how science and industry have come to be so strongly linked.

  • Archimedes Volume 5

    New Studies in the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology

    Leadership and Creativity A History of the Cavendish Laboratory, 1871-1919

    by

    DONG-WON KIM

    Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Taejon, Korea

    SPRINGER-SCIENCE+BUSINESS MEDIA, B.V.

  • A C.I.P. Catalogue record for this book is available from the Library of Congress.

    ISBN 978-90-481-5956-7 ISBN 978-94-017-2055-7 (eBook) DOI 10.1007/978-94-017-2055-7

    Printed on acid-free paper

    All Rights Reserved © 2002 Springer Science+ Business Media Dordrecht

    Originally published by Kluwer Academic Publishers in 2002

    No part of the material protected by this copyright notice may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical,

    including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system, without written permission from the copyright owner.

  • Dedicated to my mentors,

    Erwin N. Hiebert and Silvan S. Schweber

  • TABLE OF CONTENTS

    ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

    LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS

    INTRODUCTION

    CHAPTER 1. THE BEGINNING OF THE CAVENDISH TRADITIONS, 1871-1879

    1.1. 1.2. 1.3.

    1.4.

    Preparing the Way Physics Education at Cambridge during the 1870s Three Cavendish Traditions: Maxwell ' s Legacy as Director of the Cavendish Laboratory Researchers and Researches

    CHAPTER 2. RAYLEIGH'S DIRECTORSHIP, 1880-1884

    2.l. 2.2. 2.3. 2.4. 2.5.

    The Election of Lord Rayleigh Organizational Changes Rayleigh's Determination of the Ohm Researchers and Researches Rayleigh and the Continuation of Maxwell's Guidelines for the Cavendish Laboratory

    IX

    XI

    XIII

    I 6

    10

    19

    26 29 38 44 48

    CHAPTER 3. J. J. THOMSON'S FIRST TEN YEARS AT THE CAVENDISH, 1885-1894

    3.1. 3.2.

    3.3.

    3.4. 3.5.

    The Election of 1.1. Thomson 1.1. Thomson as a Researcher 3.2.1. Books 3.2.2. Research Papers Consolidating the Organization of the Cavendish Laboratory 3.3.1. Glazebrook, Shaw, and 1.1. Thomson 3.3.2. Teaching Staff 3.3.3. Physics Teaching at the Cavendish Laboratory 3.3.4. Finance 3.3.5. Instruments Researchers and Researches Was there a "Cavendish School" in 1894?

    51 59

    67

    86 90

  • Vlll

    CHAPTER 4. THE EMERGENCE OF THE CAVENDISH SCHOOL, 1895-1900

    4.1. 4.2.

    4.3 . 4.4. 4 .5.

    The 1895 Regulation J.J. Thomson and the Newcomers 4.2 .1. J.J. and the First Wave of Advanced Students 4.2.2. J.J., Advanced Students, and the Discovery

    of the Electron Organization Researchers and Researches The Emergence of the Cavendish School

    93 97

    107 110 114

    CHAPTER 5. J.J. THOMSON'S LEADERSHIP AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE CAVENDISH SCHOOL, 1901-1914

    5.1. 5.2.

    5.3.

    5.4. 5.5.

    J.J. Thomson's Research in the New Century J.J. Thomson's Leadership and the Cavendish School 5.2.1. J.J.'s Intellectual Leadership 5.2.2. The Emergence of Research Subgroups and

    a New Cavendish Style 5.2.3 . J.J.'s Charisma 5.2.4. The Growth of the Cavendish School Organization 5.3.1. Physics Teaching in the New Century 5.3.2. Finance 5.3.3 . Instruments Researchers and Researches The Decline of J. J. Thomson's Leadership

    CHAPTER 6. THE END OF AN ERA, 1914-1919

    6.1. 6.2.

    W or1d War I and the Cavendish Laboratory The End of the Thomson Era

    REFERENCES

    INDEX

    119 129

    143

    160 169

    175 180

    187

    217

  • ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

    The ambition to write a decent history of the Cavendish Laboratory at the University of Cambridge first struck me in the fall of 1985, my first semester at Harvard graduate school. As a foreign student from a non-Western developing country, South Korea, I was frightened and somewhat doubtful that I could survive in Harvard's competitive environment. Although the history of physics had long been my favorite subject for study, my experience and knowledge were naturally quite limited. For a course taught by Erwin N. Hiebert on the history of physical sciences during the twentieth century, I read an article by George P. Thomson about his father's discovery of the electron. This article, "J.J. Thomson and the Discovery of the Electron (Physics Today 9 (1956): 19-23)," focused on Joseph John Thomson's greatness as a physicist and his charisma as a teacher. Fascinated by this account of J.J. Thomson's charming character, I devoted my term paper to an examination of his role as director of the Cavendish Laboratory. When Professor Hiebert encouraged me to delve further into the history of J.J. Thomson's achievements, I quickly discovered that the available histories of the Cavendish Laboratory depended heavily on the reminiscences and memoirs of former directors and researchers of the Cavendish and that these histories lacked systematic analysis. I was especially bothered by the apparent consensus that an 1895 regulation change at Cambridge permitting non-Cambridge graduates to enter the University for post- graduate research was the chief cause of the Cavendish's sudden success at the turn of the twentieth century. I simply could not accept this idea. Thus began a long research project. The subject for a term paper developed into a doctoral dissertation (in 1991) and finally matured into this book, which represents a thorough condensation and revision of my dissertation along with the addition of two new chapters.

    My deepest gratitude is directed to Erwin N. Hiebert and to Silvan S. Schweber. Erwin led me to this wonderful subject and has given my research efforts considerable attention ever since. I am very proud of the fact that he accepted me as his last doctoral candidate. He and Mrs. Elfrieda Hiebert offered myself and my family unfailing kindness, which was my secret source of strength as I worked to overcome many difficulties I encountered as a graduate student in the United States as well as a scholar and teacher in Korea. Sam Schweber, who generously took over the role of my dissertation advisor when Erwin retired in 1989, has looked after me ever since we met in a departmental colloquium in 1987. He read almost every word I wrote about the Cavendish and offered me incisive critiques. His encouragement was invaluable to me. It was he who urged me to publish my first paper about the Cavendish (which appeared in the British Journal for the History of Science in 1995) and who pushed me to extend my dissertation into a book. Sam also offered me wise counsel when I was confronted with personal difficulties after returning to

  • X ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

    Korea in 1991. It was truly my great good fortune to have encountered- at the same point in time-two such exceptional mentors as Erwin Hiebert and Sam Schweber.

    A number of other scholars contributed valuable criticism and advice to the writing of this book. Among them, I would like to especially thank Simon Schaffer, Andrew Warwick, Isobel Falconer, Peter Harman, and Jeff Hughes. I am also deeply grateful to Jed Z. Buchwald, who carefully read the entire draft of this book and recommended that I submit the manuscript to the Kluwer Academic Publishers for publication. I am very happy to see that this manuscript survived his sharp scrutiny. I al