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Physicists

History

About 330 B.C., when Aristotle was writing Physics, physics was considered a branch of philosophy. It wasn't until over a thousand years later that physics evolved into a mathematically based science.

Galileo is often called the first modern physicist. His most famous experiment, in which he dropped a 10-pound weight and a one-pound weight from the Leaning Tower of Pisa, proved that all weights fall at the same speed. Both weights hit the ground simultaneously. Galileo's later work in astronomy, with the aid of a telescope, proved that the moon was not smooth. Through mathematical calculations, he proved that the moon reflects the light of the Sun.

In the four centuries since Galileo demonstrated the value of conducting experiments to determine whether or not scientific theory may be valid, scholars have made great strides. Michael Faraday conducted experiments that made the modern age of electricity possible. A generation later, Thomas Edison took advantage of his studies to produce more than a thousand inventions, including the incandescent light and the motion picture. In 1897, Sir Joseph John (J.J.) Thompson proved the existence of the electron. A year later, Marie Curie and Pierre Curie discovered radium. Niels Bohr proposed a theory of atomic structure; Albert Einstein developed the mathematical theories that have led us into the atomic age.

Physicists have made great progress in recent years in probing the depths of the ocean and conducting research in nuclear energy, communications, and aerospace.

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