Kathy Joseph

Tricks for Solving Coulomb’s Law Problems

If you clicked on this link you know that Coulomb’s law often a bit of a bear to deal with, you have three variables that tend to have exponents, and squaring and a constant, not to mention that if you have more than one force you have to add vectors and that too can be …

Charles Coulomb Biography And History Of His Equation

When I looked into the history of Charles Coulomb and his famous equation, I found that even beyond “his” equation, Coulomb was one of the most influential engineers of the 1700s.  And his accomplishments are more impressive when you realize that his background was descent but not considered good enough, his father lost the family …

Max Planck Biography with Depth & Humor

Max Planck was notoriously unphotogenic.  I mean just look at him, as a viewer said he looks like he had his humor surgically removed.  But according to the people that knew him, Planck was actually a lovely person full of humor, energy and kindness.  As Albert Einstein put it in 1918, “living next to Planck …

Boltzmann’s Entropy Equation: A History from Clausius to Plank

Boltzmann’s entropy formula is possibly the one of the most difficult equations in Physics. Not because the equation itself is that confusing(it isn’t, it is just two variables one constant and a trig function), but because it relates two things, entropy and probability of being indifferent energy states, that are both difficult to really understand. …

The Origin of the Second Law of Thermodynamics

I remember when I learned about the second law of thermodynamics: that the total entropy of a closed system can only increase where entropy is a measure of the disorder of a system.  When I learned this I remember thinking: why did anyone make an equation to describe disorder?  How did they make an equation …

First Law of Thermodynamics: History of the Concept of Energy

The first law of thermodynamics is basically as follows: there are different types of energy, the energy of motion, the energy in a compressed spring, the energy of a rock lifted off the ground, the energy of heat, nuclear energy, etcetera.  Table Of Contents Emilie du Chatelet Emilie and Voltaire Newton’s Book Emilie du Chatelet’s …

Why The Third Law of Thermodynamics made Einstein Famous

In late October of 1911, 31-year-old Albert Einstein went to an elite and influential conference called the Solvay Congress to discuss quantum mechanics.  How elite?  Well, at the time 4 of the 23 scientists in attendance had already won a Nobel Prize (or 2), and a further 5 would eventually win a Nobel Prize, including …

Photoelectric Effect: History of Einstein’s Revolutionary View of Light

The photoelectric effect is taught in almost every physics class but we often forget to say why it is so important.  In my opinion, the photoelectric effect is important because Einstein’s photoelectric effect equation was based on a revolutionary new view of light.  And I use the word “revolutionary” because it was!  Even at the …

Alfred Nobel’s Obituary Calling him a “Merchant of Death” Never Happened & Never Inspired the Nobel Prize

If you read a biography of Alfred Nobel or of the Nobel Prize, including Wikipedia and the Encyclopedia Britannica, you will likely read a dramatic story.   Table Of Contents Alfred Nobel: The Merchant of Death Nobel: A Biography Who is Kenne Fant? Bertha Von Suttner: The Peace Activist References and Citations Alfred Nobel: The Merchant …

The Origin of The Photoelectric Effect: How Lenard Inspired and Then Terrorized Einstein

When we talk about the photoelectric effect, we usually only mention Albert Einstein.  After all, Einstein did win the Nobel Prize for creating the modern interpretation of the photoelectric effect.  But Einstein didn’t discover the photoelectric effect. In fact, Einstein didn’t do any photoelectric effect experiments!  Instead, Einstein was inspired by the experiments and theories …