Scott A. Walter

Scott A. Walter
University of Nantes | UNIV Nantes · Faculty of Science and Technology

Professor

About

40
Publications
11,953
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343
Citations
Introduction
Scott A. Walter is a member of the science and technology faculty of Nantes University. His research projects focus on the history of the physical and mathematical sciences.
Additional affiliations
September 2015 - present
University of Nantes
Position
  • Professor (Full)
February 1999 - August 2015
University of Lorraine
Position
  • Professor (Associate)

Publications

Publications (40)
Chapter
Full-text available
The two greatest mathematicians of the early twentieth century, David Hilbert and Henri Poincaré transformed the mathematics of their time. Their personal interaction was infrequent, until Hilbert invited Poincaré to deliver the first Wolfskehl Lectures in Göttingen in the spring of 1909. A correspondence ensued, which fixed the content and timing...
Chapter
Full-text available
This chapter discusses the roles of ether and electrons in relativity theory. One of the most radical moves made by Albert Einstein was to dismiss the ether from electrodynamics. His fellow physicists felt challenged by Einstein's view, and they came up with a variety of responses, ranging from enthusiastic approval, to dismissive rejection. Among...
Book
This volume explores the interplay between mathematical and physical research and the interactions of twentieth-century scientists within their academic communities. Beginning with Einstein’s special theory of relativity, the authors investigate a series of dramatic discoveries and rival theories in physics that influenced the development of modern...
Chapter
Full-text available
Albert Einstein’s bold assertion of the form invariance of the equation of a spherical light wave with respect to inertial frames of reference (Einstein, Annalen der Physik 322:891–921) became, in the space of 6 years, the preferred foundation of his theory of relativity. Early on, however, Einstein’s universal light-sphere invariance was challenge...
Book
The letters in this volume cover Poincaré's multifaceted career in astronomy in its entirety, extending from the time of his first publications in 1880 to the end of his life in 1912. At a tender age, Poincaré established his authority in questions of celestial mechanics, and his counsel was soon sought out on technical points by the leading astron...
Article
Full-text available
Recently-discovered manuscripts throw new light on Poincaré׳s discovery of the Lorentz group, and his ether-based interpretation of the Lorentz transformation. At first, Poincaré postulated longitudinal contraction of bodies in motion with respect to the ether, and ignored time deformation. In April, 1909, he acknowledged time deformation due to tr...
Article
Full-text available
Depuis l'apparition des moteurs de recherche, les chercheurs ont trouvé de nouveaux lecteurs, pas comme les autres. Ces nouveaux lecteurs sont des robots, des automates qui parcourent les arborescences des sites web. Pour ceux qui cherchent à accroître leur lectorat, ces robots deviennent des lecteurs privilégiés. On sait que les appareils photo nu...
Chapter
Full-text available
The idea of spacetime investigated in this chapter, with a view toward understanding its immediate sources and development, is the one formulated and proposed by Hermann Minkowski in 1908. Until recently, the principle source used to form historical narratives of Minkowski’s discovery of spacetime has been Minkowski’s own discovery account, outline...
Chapter
The idea of spacetime investigated in this chapter, with a view toward understanding its immediate sources and development, is the one formulated and proposed by Hermann Minkowski in 1908. Until recently, the principle source used to form historical narratives of Minkowski’s discovery of spacetime has been Minkowski’s own discovery account, outline...
Article
Albert Einstein's bold assertion of the form-invariance of the equation of a spherical light wave with respect to inertial frames of reference (1905) became, in the space of six years, the preferred foundation of his theory of relativity. Early on, however, Einstein's universal light-sphere invariance was challenged on epistemological grounds by He...
Chapter
Full-text available
Henri Poincaré’s intellectual and institutional leadership in French physics at the turn of the twentieth century is reviewed, and related to the emergence of Paul Langevin as his successor. Drawing on quantitative data and previously-unexploited manuscripts from Parisian archives, the paper compares the fate in France of Poincaré’s theory of relat...
Chapter
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The phenomenal response to Minkowski’s 1908 lecture in Cologne has tested the historian’s capacity for explanation on rational grounds. What was it about Minkowki’s lecture that so schocked the sensibilities of his public? In this essay, Minkowski’s spacetime theory is considered as a solution in search of a problem. After physicists rejected his f...
Chapter
Full-text available
My discussion of Schlick's view of Poincaré's theory begins with a review of the difference between Einstein's and Poincaré's theories, that turns on the form of light-waves as judged by observers in inertial frames of reference. I summarize the evolution of Poincaré's philosophy of geometry in the early years of relativity theory, which Schlick ig...
Article
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According to the conventionalist doctrine of space elaborated by the French philosopher-sci- entist Henri Poincarin the 1890s, the geometry of physical space is a matter of defini- tion, not of fact. Poincar¤'s Hertz-inspired view of the role of hypothesis in science guided his interpretation of the theory of relativity (1905), which he found to be...
Article
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Hermann Minkowski’s contributions to relativity theory are extraordinary from a disciplinary standpoint, in that so few mathematicians in Wilhelmine Germany took an interest in theoretical physics. Based on correspondence, lectures, research notes and the accounts of his students and colleagues, Minkowski’s interest in mechanics and physics is retr...
Article
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Dans les années 1890, Henri Poincaré élabora une doctrine de l'espace selon laquelle la géométrie de l'espace physique est conventionnelle. Suite à la découverte de la théorie de la relativité en 1905, Poincaré a été amené à affirmer la nécessité d'une nouvelle convention, dans laquelle la géométrie de l'espace est remplacé par celle de l'espace-te...
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Hermann Minkowski's spacetime theory scandalized physicists, in part because of its challenge to received notions of the geometric nature of physical space and time.
Book
Full-text available
L'intérêt que portait Henri Poincaré (1854-1912) à des questions d'ordre physique a été durable et profond; il couvre presque toute sa carrière, et marque l'histoire de la physique tout au long du XXe siècle. Sa correspondance avec cinquante-et-un physiciens, cinq chimistes, et cinq ingénieurs commence dès 1879, lorsqu'il s'engage activement dans l...
Chapter
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In July, 1905, Henri Poincaré (1854–1912) proposed two laws of gravitational attraction compatible with the principle of relativity and all astronomical observations explained by Newton’s law. Two years later, in the fall of 1907, Albert Einstein (1879–1955) began to investigate the consequences of the principle of equivalence for the behavior of l...
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A succinct scientific biography of Henri Poincaré is presented, as a complement to the essay by J. Dieudonné in the DSB.
Article
Overview of Henri Poincaré's contribution to relativity theory
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His findings, taken for granted now, were fiercely contested during his life.
Article
The concept of ether recurs often in the history of physics from the 17th century up to the present day.
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The emergence and early history of a rival mathematical formalism to the Sommerfeld-Laue spacetime calculus for use in relativity theory is described.
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The importance of the theory of relativity for twentieth-century physics, and the appearance of the Göttingen mathematician Hermann Minkowski at a turning point in its history have both attracted significant historical attention. This paper explores an important and unstudied aspect of Minkowski's role in the history of the theory of relativity: hi...
Article
Full-text available
An overview is presented of the origin and contents of seventeen notebooks kept by Henri Poincaré while a student in Nancy and in Paris, from 1870 to 1878. Étudiant au Lycée de Nancy et à l'École des mines de Paris, Henri Poincaré rédigea dix-sept cahiers de notes, dont nous résumons l'origine et le contenu.
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Ultrasonic pulse-echo devices have shown utility for obstacle detection in numerous mobile robot research efforts, as well as in commercial automatic guided vehicles (AGVs). A method for quickly obtaining multiple sonar range readings is presented. Thirty ultrasonic transducers are arranged in a ring and controlled by a computer. The system is pred...

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