Physics first became established in Australia and Japan at the same period, during the final quarter of the nineteenth and the first years of the twentieth century. A comparison of the processes by which this happened in these two developing countries on the Pacific rim shows that, despite the great cultural differences that existed, and that might have been expected to have been a source of major differences in national receptiveness to the new science, there were in fact many parallels between the patterns of development in the two cases. Identifying these enables us to draw attention to a number of significant features of the physics discipline more generally at this period. Such differences as emerge in the early history of physics in the two countries seem to have arisen more from the different political situations that prevailed than from anything else; in particular they reflect the fact that Australia was a part of the British Empire while Japan was an independent political power.
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Document Type: Research Article
Department of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, 3052, Australia
Tokyo Denki University, Kanda-Nishikicho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, 101, Japan
Publication date: 01 May 1987
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