Stories by subject area: Physics

Can something like a NOTHING really BE in existence? This story tells you about the german mayor von Guericke and his losing game to prove the existence of the vacuum.
Guericke and vacuum

In 1778, a strange line pattern in the grass leads Martin, Andreas and Michael to a talk of Georg Christoph Lichtenberg. He describes the geneation of these patterns in his laboratory in Goettingen and why these patterns form at all.
Lichtenberg and the electrophorus

What is the nature of heat – is it a substance or infinitesimal movement of matter? Among others, the Bavarian War Minister Benjamin Thompson, later known as Count Rumford, found an answer by analysing the drilling process for manufacturing cannons.
Rumford and calorics

The formulation of the mechanical equivalent of heat was instrumental in defining the first law of thermodynamics, which describes the conservation of energy. Two stories, which stress different aspects of the scientific work, will provide insight into Joule's set of experiments by which he determined the ratio of heat and mechanical work.
Joule and energy

The immediate use of solar energy is indeed known for quite some time already. This story tells you about the development of the first solar powered cookstove and the political and economical reasons, why it did not become a best practice model.
Mouchot and the solar cooker

Irene Joliot-Curie and her husband Frederic missed at least twice the chance to report a new discovery, which, when reported by their adversaries, won those a Nobel Prize. In 1935, their accurate observation skills finally earned them a Nobel Prize of their own, when they presented how man was able to generate new radioactive elements.
Joliot-Curie and artificial radioactivity