Person: Dingle, Herbert
Herbert Dingle was an English physicist and philosopher of science who wrote a number of influential books. He was involved in several long-running disputes with other physicists.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- Reginald Dingle became an editor and author, writing books such as Democracy in Spain (1905) and Russia's Work in France (1938).
- Herbert was not able to finish school and started working as a clerk at age 14.
- Dingle kept studying on his own, however, and earned a Royal Scholarship for Physics at Imperial College of Science and Technology, London, in 1915 at age 25.
- Studying under R H Fowler, Dingle became interested in spectroscopy and its applications to astronomy.
- Dingle participated in two failed expeditions to observe the Sun's spectrum during a total solar eclipse: the first in 1927 to Colwyn Bay when there was complete cloud cover and rain, and the second in 1932 to Montreal when again it was cloudy.
- Dingle also showed an early interest in relativity.
- Dingle had a great interest in the philosophy of science.
- Because of his philosophical ideas, Dingle clashed with some modern approaches to the study of cosmology.
- Dingle went so far as to say that Milne's method was completely separate from reality, and called it a treachery to Newton's methods.
- This was controversial and occasioned a special fifteen-page supplement of Nature (12 June 1937, No. 3528) in which sixteen scientists responded to Dingle's article, among which were Milne, Eddington and McCrea.
- Dingle's ideas eventually faded away and are not widely accepted today, while Milne's method became the norm (Milne was awarded the James Scott prize in 1943 and became the President of the Royal Astronomical Society in the same year).
- Dingle published the book Through Science to Philosophy (1937) in which he continued to put forward the ideas of his Modern Aristotelism article.
- Dingle scarcely recognises the existence of a route by which the scientific study of the universe has, through its own practical development, independently reached conclusions comparable with those of philosophy.
- Dingle rather goes out of his way to give the impression that his hand is against every man.
- The criticism that he received seemed only to encourage Dingle to double his efforts in putting his ideas across.
- It would seem that Dingle is still living in the afterglow of pre-Einstein physics, for his methods are intrinsically of a similar type to those of FitzGerald and Lorentz.
- During the Second World War, Dingle was in charge of the Physics Department at Imperial, in the absence of Sir George Thompson.
- Nineteen of Dingle's essays on the history and philosophy of science were published in 1952 under the title The Scientific Adventure.
- Throughout his life, Dingle held a great appreciation for English literature.
- Nevertheless, Dingle, not satisfied with the discussion, wrote Science at the Crossroads (1972), where he reinstated his questions about the paradox, considering they had been avoided by critics.
- After a lengthy correspondence, Synge concluded that the contradiction described by Dingle is due to the incompatibility of special relativity with "the concept of clocks that run regularly, as understood by Professor Dingle".
- McCrea's rejection of Dingle's argument was based, inter alia, on his contention that Dingle had invoked the notion of distant simultaneity which is illegitimate in special relativity.
- Now it is important to make the point that there remains controversy on points raised by Dingle.
- Dingle died in Hull, at 88 years of age.
Born 2 August 1890, Brixton, London, England. Died 4 September 1978, Hull, England.
View full biography at MacTutor
Tags relevant for this person:
Astronomy, Origin England
Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive