STUDIES IN HISTORY AND PHILOSOPHY OF MODERN PHYSICS

TitleTo envision a new particle or change an existing law? Hypothesis formation and anomaly resolution for the curious spectrum of beta decay
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsGauderis, T
JournalSTUDIES IN HISTORY AND PHILOSOPHY OF MODERN PHYSICS
Volume45
Pagination27–45
ISSN1355-2198
Abstract

This paper addresses the question of how scientists determine which type of hypothesis is most suitable for tackling a particular problem by examining the historical case of the anomalous ß spectrum in early nuclear physics (1927-1934), a puzzle that occasioned the most diverse hypotheses amongst physicists at the time. It is shown that such determinations are most often implicitly informed by scientists’ individual perspectives on the hierarchical relations between various elements of the theory and the problem at hand. In addition to this main result, it is suggested that Wolfgang Pauli’s neutrino idea may well have been an adaptation of Ernst Rutherford’s original and older neutron idea, which would provide evidence that the adaptation of older ideas is a more common practice than is often thought.

DOI10.1016/j.shpsb.2013.11.002
Citation Key4341742
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