„It is possible to express the laws of thermodynamics in the form of independent principles, deduced by induction from the facts of observation and experiment, without reference to any hypothesis as to the occult molecular operations with which the sensible phenomena may be conceived to be connected; and that course will be followed in the body of the present treatise. But, in giving a brief historical sketch of the progress of thermodynamics, the progress of the hypothesis of thermic molecular motions cannot be wholly separated from that of the purely inductive theory.“

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„In thermodynamics as well as in other branches of molecular physics, the laws of phenomena have to a certain extent been anticipated, and their investigation facilitated, by the aid of hypotheses as to occult molecular structures and motions with which such phenomena are assumed to be connected.“

—  William John Macquorn Rankine civil engineer 1820 - 1872
Context: Hypothesis Of Molecular Vortices. In thermodynamics as well as in other branches of molecular physics, the laws of phenomena have to a certain extent been anticipated, and their investigation facilitated, by the aid of hypotheses as to occult molecular structures and motions with which such phenomena are assumed to be connected. The hypothesis which has answered that purpose in the case of thermodynamics, is called that of "molecular vortices," or otherwise, the "centrifugal theory of elasticity. (On this subject, see the Edinburgh Philosophical Journal, 1849; Edinburgh Transactions, vol. xx.; and Philosophical Magazine, passim, especially for December, 1851, and November and December, 1855.) p. 31

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„We must never forget that it is principles, not phenomena, — laws not insulated independent facts, — which are the objects of inquiry to the natural philosopher.“

—  John Herschel English mathematician, astronomer, chemist and photographer 1792 - 1871
Context: We must never forget that it is principles, not phenomena, — laws not insulated independent facts, — which are the objects of inquiry to the natural philosopher. As truth is single, and consistent with itself, a principle may be as completely and as plainly elucidated by the most familiar and simple fact, as by the most imposing and uncommon phenomenon. The colours which glitter on a soapbubble are the immediate consequence of a principle the most important, from the variety of phenomena it explains, and the most beautiful, from its simplicity and compendious neatness, in the whole science of optics. If the nature of periodical colours can be made intelligible by the contemplation of such a trivial object, from that moment it becomes a noble instrument in the eye of correct judgment; and to blow a large, regular, and durable soap-bubble may become the serious and praise-worthy endeavour of a sage, while children stand round and scoff, or children of a larger growth hold up their hands in astonishment at such waste of time and trouble. To the natural philosopher there is no natural object unimportant or trifling. From the least of nature's works he may learn the greatest lessons. The fall of an apple to the ground may raise his thoughts to the laws which govern the revolutions of the planets in their orbits; or the situation of a pebble may afford him evidence of the state of the globe he inhabits, myriads of ages ago, before his species became its denizens. And this, is, in fact, one of the great sources of delight which the study of natural science imparts to its votaries. A mind which has once imbibed a taste for scientific inquiry, and has learnt the habit of applying its principles readily to the cases which occur, has within itself an inexhaustible source of pure and exciting contemplations. One would think that Shakspeare had such a mind in view when he describes a contemplative man as finding

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„A physical theory, like an abstract science, consists of definitions and axioms as first principles, and of propositions, their consequences; but with these differences:—first, That in an abstract science, a definition assigns a name to a class of notions derived originally from observation, but not necessarily corresponding to any existing objects of real phenomena, and an axiom states a mutual relation amongst such notions, or the names denoting them; while in a physical science, a definition states properties common to a class of existing objects, or real phenomena, and a physical axiom states a general law as to the relations of phenomena; and, secondly,—That in an abstract science, the propositions first discovered are the most simple; whilst in a physical theory, the propositions first discovered are in general numerous and complex, being formal laws, the immediate results of observation and experiment, from which the definitions and axioms are subsequently arrived at by a process of reasoning differing from that whereby one proposition is deduced from another in an abstract science, partly in being more complex and difficult, and partly in being to a certain extent tentative, that is to say, involving the trial of conjectural principles, and their acceptance or rejection according as their consequences are found to agree or disagree with the formal laws deduced immediately from observation and experiment.“

—  William John Macquorn Rankine civil engineer 1820 - 1872
p. 121; Second paragraph

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