Olivier Darrigol

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In 1887 Helmholtz discussed the foundations of measurement in science as a last contribution to his philosophy of knowledge. This essay borrowed from earlier debates on the foundations of mathematics (Grassmann/Du Bois), on the possibility of quantitative psychology (Fechner/Kries, Wundt/Zeller), and on the meaning of temperature measurement(More)
In late 1900, the German theoretical physicist Max Planck derived an expression for the spectrum of black-body radiation. That derivation was the first step in the introduction of quantum concepts into physics. But how did Planck think about his result in the early years of the twentieth century? Did he assume that his derivation was consistent with the(More)
Once upon a time, a spirited horse was dragging a boat along a peaceful canal of Northern Scotland. Suddenly, a ferocious dog charged from the bushes. The horse took fright and ran off, drawing the boat after him. To the horse's surprise, the boat offered almost no resistance at this high speed. A clever naval engineer, who chanced to witness the scene,(More)
In music, harmony refers to a pleasant combination of sounds. In mathematics, a harmonic function is a sine function obtained by projecting a circular motion on a diameter, and harmonic analysis is the theory of the development of periodic functions into harmonic components, or the theory of similar developments. The occurrence of the same word in musical(More)
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