TY - JOUR

T1 - How did Lorentz find his theorem of corresponding states?

AU - Janssen, Michel

PY - 2019/8

Y1 - 2019/8

N2 - I offer a reconstruction of how Lorentz found his theorem of corresponding states or, in modern terms, the Lorentz invariance of the source-free Maxwell equations. I show that, to arrive at Lorentz's theorem, both the approximate version of 1895 and the exact version of 1899/1904, Lorentz had to do little more than regroup terms and repeatedly apply the chain rule of differentiation. My reconstruction should thus help dispel the aura of complexity that still surrounds the theorem. I also show how the theorem can be extended to Maxwell's equations with sources and briefly review how Lorentz, after 1905, went from considering Lorentz-transformed quantities purely as auxiliary variables to recognizing them as the measured quantities for moving observers.

AB - I offer a reconstruction of how Lorentz found his theorem of corresponding states or, in modern terms, the Lorentz invariance of the source-free Maxwell equations. I show that, to arrive at Lorentz's theorem, both the approximate version of 1895 and the exact version of 1899/1904, Lorentz had to do little more than regroup terms and repeatedly apply the chain rule of differentiation. My reconstruction should thus help dispel the aura of complexity that still surrounds the theorem. I also show how the theorem can be extended to Maxwell's equations with sources and briefly review how Lorentz, after 1905, went from considering Lorentz-transformed quantities purely as auxiliary variables to recognizing them as the measured quantities for moving observers.

KW - Local time

KW - Lorentz invariance

KW - Special relativity

KW - Theorem of corresponding states

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85026633555&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=85026633555&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1016/j.shpsb.2017.06.006

DO - 10.1016/j.shpsb.2017.06.006

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:85026633555

VL - 67

SP - 167

EP - 175

JO - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B - Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics

JF - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B - Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics

SN - 1355-2198

ER -