Each individual fact, taken by itself, can indeed arouse our curiosity or our astonishment, or be useful to us in its practical applications.
A moving body whose motion was not retarded by any resisting force would continue to move to all eternity.
You all know how powerful and varied are the effects of which steam engines are capable; with them has really begun the great development of industry which has characterised our century before all others.
Not that I wish by any means to deny, that the mental life of individuals and peoples is also in conformity with law, as is the object of philosophical, philological, historical, moral, and social sciences to establish.
I then endeavoured to show that it is more especially in the thorough conformity with law which natural phenomena and natural products exhibit, and in the comparative ease with which laws can be stated, that this difference exists.
The older view of the nature of heat was that it is a substance, very fine and imponderable indeed, but indestructible, and unchangeable in quantity, which is an essential fundamental property of all matter.
Iron which is brought near a spiral of copper wire, traversed by an electrical current, becomes magnetic, and then attracts other pieces of iron, or a suitably placed steel magnet.
A raised weight can produce work, but in doing so it must necessarily sink from its height, and, when it has fallen as deep as it can fall, its gravity remains as before, but it can no longer do work.
What appeared to the earlier physicists to be the constant quantity of heat is nothing more than the whole motive power of the motion of heat, which remains constant so long as it is not transformed into other forms of work, or results afresh from them.
But heat can also be produced by the friction of liquids, in which there could be no question of changes in structure, or of the liberation of latent heat.
Windmills, which are used in the great plains of Holland and North Germany to supply the want of falling water, afford another instance of the action of velocity. The sails are driven by air in motion - by wind.
The law in question asserts, that the quantity of force which can be brought into action in the whole of Nature is unchangeable, and can neither be increased nor diminished.
Now, the external work of man is of the most varied kind as regards the force or ease, the form and rapidity, of the motions used on it, and the kind of work produced.
Heat can also be produced by the impact of imperfectly elastic bodies as well as by friction. This is the case, for instance, when we produce fire by striking flint against steel, or when an iron bar is worked for some time by powerful blows of the hammer.
Reason we call that faculty innate in us of discovering laws and applying them with thought.
More Hermann von Helmholtz Quotations (Based on Topics)
Work & Career - Nature - Quantity - Law & Regulation - Actions - Water - Reasoning - Man - Eternity - Business & Commerce - Thought & Thinking - Philosophy - Mind - Facts - Change - Time - Morality - Conformity - View All Hermann von Helmholtz Quotations
Albert Einstein - Roger Penrose - Richard P. Feynman - Niels Bohr - James Prescott Joule - J. Robert Oppenheimer - Ilya Prigogine - Hermann von Helmholtz - Freeman Dyson - Andrei Sakharov