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Volume 12: Pages 682-698, 1999
On W.E. Weber's “Grundprincip der Elektrodynamik” and Related Earlier and Contemporary Studies
Albert Gerard Gluckman
Institute for Physical Science and Technology, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland 20742 U.S.A.
This historical study reexamines the model that Weber used to derive his electrodynamic force equations, which was first published in 1846. The equations of his “new principle of electrodynamics” are built upon the postulated electric particles of the Fechner‐Weber model for electric circuits. In this research, he consulted with Gauss in his correspondence of 19 March 1845. Weber provided an atomistic theory for the newly discovered induction of electric currents due to relative motion of circuits and also due to current changes. I discuss the historical background concerning the experiments and theory proposed by Weber in his longer 1846 Maassbestimmung paper in which he published his reformulation of Ampère's 1822 electrodynamk force law and which he again published in a condensed version in 1848. I also consider the historical connections of the theoretical and experimental research of Weber with that of contemporary and earlier investigators, and bring to light where these reported historical connections relate directly to the research that he undertook, which led Weber to his force equations in the form in which they were published in 1846 and 1848.
Keywords: action‐at‐a‐distance, Weber's 1846 maassbestimmung paper, Fechner‐Weber model, Weber contemporaries relative to his 1846 paper, Weber's induction theory of voltaic (d.c.) currents, Weber's 1846 electro dynamometer experiments, Weber's force equations derivation, quaternionic development of Ampère's theory, one‐ and two‐fluid theories of electricity, Newtonian electrodynamics
Received: January 29, 1999; Published online: December 15, 2008