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Mathematical Physics Essay

1339 words - 6 pages

The dates regarding the advent of Mathematical Physics vary just as how the dates concerning the advent of Mathematics and Physics vary from person to person and from tale to tale. There is an account which says that the methods of Mathematical Physics as a theory of mathematical model in Physics can be traced in the works of Newton and his contemporaries such as Lagrange, Euler, Laplace, Gauss and others who contributed in the advancement of methods of Mathematical Physics. However, there is a version especially that of which written in The Evolution of Mathematical Physics (1924) by Lamb laying the mark of its birth in 1807; the date after the French Revolution had subsided and later succeeded by the relative tranquility of the early empire, and the year when Laplace, Lagrange, and several other mathematicians used Newton’s scientific work to model, describe and predict the motion of celestial and terrestrial bodies. In this age, the methods of Mathematical Physics were successfully used in studying mathematical models of physical phenomena. These models have something to do with electrodynamics, acoustics, theory of elasticity, hydrodynamics, aerodynamics, and other related areas. The models used were usually described using partial differential equation, integral and integrodifferential equations, variational and probability theory methods, potential theory, the theory of functions of complex variable. Some of the dominant western mathematicians and scientist who succeeded in studying and describing the physical world by mathematical modeling are Lord Kelvin, George Stokes, James Clerk Maxwell, and Guthrie Tait.

The pioneers in this area of study made several formulations out of their studies and observations, and verified and tested their equation mathematically. While the formulation of the motion of bodies had ended successful, the behavior of other phenomena such as sound, heat, light, electricity, and magnetism had yet to be described in a mathematical sense. Poisson, in the same year, published his first scientific work. His first memoir has something to do with the waves. In 1811, he successfully laid the foundation of Electrostatics as a branch of the theory of attraction. In his thesis, he remarked that the resultant of electric force at any point in the interior of a conductor is zero.

A decade before, a French mathematician, physicist, Egyptologist, demographer and public servant named Fourier succeeded Lagrange in the chair of analysis and mechanics at the Ecole Polytechnique in Paris. Later, he joined Napoleon when the latter invaded Egypt as the former’s scientific advisor. When Fourier returned to France, he was appointed to an administrative position and during his free hours he usually carried out his mathematical research. In 1807, Fourier mounted the investigation about the conduction of heat which became the subject of debates and praises. It was argued as to whether the sun has inherent store of heat or it was...

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