University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Departmental Seminars in History and Philosophy of Science > Electricity and crystallography: the history and philosophy of Curie's Principle

Electricity and crystallography: the history and philosophy of Curie's Principle

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Many consider symmetry principles to be even more fundamental than the laws of nature, and Curie’s Principle is often upheld as an example. In this talk I will argue that, on the contrary, Curie’s principle arose out of a heuristic rule of thumb, which Pierre Curie and his brother used to show how crystals generate electricity when twisted and compressed. The principle they applied was strictly false, but still managed to play a fruitful role in the discovery of new physics.

This talk is part of the Departmental Seminars in History and Philosophy of Science series.

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