By Edmund T. Whittaker
The aim of this quantity is to explain the revolution in physics which happened within the first sector of the 20th century, and which incorporated the discoveries of targeted Relativity, the older Quantum conception, normal Relativity, Matrix Mechanics and Wave Mechanics.
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Additional info for A history of theories of ether and electricity. The classical theories
I have indeed repeated the experiments, but have only found, as might be expected, that a simple repetition under the same conditions cannot remove the doubt, but rather increases it. A definite decision can only be arrived at by experiments carried out under more favorable conditions. More favorable conditions here mean larger rooms, and such were not at my disposal. I again emphasize the statement that care in making the observations cannot make up for want of space. If the long waves cannot develop, they clearly cannot be observed.
The details of my efforts, and those of my successors who were more successful, are not important. What I have said should be sufficient to illustrate what should be an uncontentious point. If experimental results constitute the facts on which science is based, then they are certainly not straightforwardly given via the senses. They have to be worked for, and their establishment involves considerable know-how and Experiment 31 practical trial and error as well as exploitation of the available technology.
So the observation statement "the apparent size of Venus does not change size during the course of the year" was straightforwardly confirmed, and was referred to 4ft the Preface to Copernicus's On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres as a fact confirmed "by all the experience uf the ages" (Duncan, 1976, p. 22). Osiander, who was the author of the Preface in question, was so impressed by the clash between the consequences of the Copernican theory and our "observable fact" that he used it to argue that the Copernican theory should not be taken literally.