Examples of the Zeroth Theorem of the History of Science

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The zeroth theorem of the history of science, enunciated byE. P. Fischer, states that a discovery (rule,regularity, insight) namedafter someone (often) did not originate with that person. I present fiveexamples from physics: the Lorentz condition partial muAmu = 0 definingthe Lorentz gauge of the electromagnetic potentials; the Dirac deltafunction, delta(x); the Schumann resonances of the earth-ionospherecavity; the Weizsacker-Williams method of virtual quanta; the BMTequation of spin dynamics. I give illustrated thumbnail sketches of boththe true and reputed discoverers and quote from their "discovery"publications.

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Jackson, J.D. August 24, 2007.

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The zeroth theorem of the history of science, enunciated byE. P. Fischer, states that a discovery (rule,regularity, insight) namedafter someone (often) did not originate with that person. I present fiveexamples from physics: the Lorentz condition partial muAmu = 0 definingthe Lorentz gauge of the electromagnetic potentials; the Dirac deltafunction, delta(x); the Schumann resonances of the earth-ionospherecavity; the Weizsacker-Williams method of virtual quanta; the BMTequation of spin dynamics. I give illustrated thumbnail sketches of boththe true and reputed discoverers and quote from their "discovery"publications.

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  • Journal Name: American Journal of Physics; Journal Volume: 0; Journal Issue: 0; Related Information: Journal Publication Date: 0

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  • Report No.: LBNL--63374
  • Grant Number: DE-AC02-05CH11231
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 929336
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc899546

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

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  • August 24, 2007

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  • Sept. 27, 2016, 1:39 a.m.

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  • Oct. 31, 2016, 4:05 p.m.

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Jackson, J.D. Examples of the Zeroth Theorem of the History of Science, article, August 24, 2007; Berkeley, California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc899546/: accessed April 25, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.