The Rise and Fall of the "Fifth Force": Discovery, Pursuit, and Justification in Modern Physics

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Overview

An article in the January 8, 1986 issue of The New York Times dramatically announced, "Hints of Fifth Force in Nature Challenge Galileo's Findings." Just four years later, many of those who had worked on the concept concluded that "the Fifth Force is dead." Reading like a detective story, The Rise and Fall of the Fifth Force discloses the curious history of the quick advance and swift demise of the "Fifth Force" - a proposed modification of Newton's Law of Universal Gravitation and one of the most publicized physics hypotheses in recent memory. While discussing the origin and fate of this short-lived concept, The Rise and Fall of the Fifth Force delivers a fascinating analysis of the ways in which scientific hypotheses in general are promulgated and pursued. What leads to the formulation of a hypothesis? How and why does a hypothesis become considered worthy of further investigation? These are some of the questions that The Rise and Fall of the Fifth Force pursues while unraveling the dynamics of this scientific search. Taking aim at the "social constructivist" view of science, which posits social and professional interests as the primary engine behind hypothesis-making, Allan Franklin proposes an "evidence model" of science. He emphasizes the crucial role that experimental evidence plays in the discovery, pursuit, and justification of scientific proposals and suggests a distinction between the reasons for scientific pursuit and the reasons used to justify hypotheses. Buttressing Franklin's model, The Rise and Fall of the Fifth Force provides a unique comparison of the published record and the private e-mail correspondence of the three major authors of the Fifth Force hypothesis during the first six months following the publication of their proposal. A fascinating inquiry into a scientific hypothesis and the forces that first advanced and then rejected it, The Rise and Fall of the Fifth Force is an outstanding account for physicists, historians and philosophers
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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Discloses the curious history of the quick advance and swift demise of the "Fifth Force," a proposed modification of Newton's Law of Universal Gravitation and one of the most publicized physics hypotheses in recent memory. While discussing the origin and fate of the short-lived concept, the author delivers an analysis of the ways in which scientific hypotheses in general are promulgated and pursued. Taking aim at the "social constructivist" view of science, which posits social and professional interests as the primary engines behind hypothesis-making, the author proposes an "evidence model" of science. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781563961199
  • Publisher: American Institute of Physics
  • Publication date: 9/1/1993
  • Pages: 150
  • Product dimensions: 6.39 (w) x 9.61 (h) x 0.66 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction 1
Ch. 1 The Rise ... 5
(a) K Mesons and CP Violation 5
(b) Modifications of Newtonian Gravity 10
(c) The Fifth Force 16
Ch. 2 ... and Fall 25
(a) The Immediate Reaction 25
(b) An Electronic Interlude (Ref. 56) 35
(c) Is It Rising or Falling? 48
(d) The Force is Falling 80
(e) The Force is Not With Us 93
(f) Some Reasons Why 97
(g) Epilogue 101
Ch. 3 Discussion 107
Conclusion 127
References 129
Index 139
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