British participation in the first Solvay Councils on physics
University of California, Berkeley, USA, and Worcester College, Oxford, UK
Received: 10 June 2015
Revised: 10 July 2015
Published online: 10 September 2015
Analysis of the makeup and contributions of the British contingents to the first two Solvay Councils can elucidate the character of British mathematical physics and its internal dynamics at a critical time in its development.
The paper provides this analysis, outlines the process of selection of the participants, parses the meaning of “international” in the Solvay context, and offers an explanation of the differential attendance of the British at the two Councils. Most of those invited to the first refused whereas all but one of those invited to the second accepted. The unusual social and scientific views of Ernest Solvay help to explain this divergence.
© EDP Sciences, Springer-Verlag, 2015