Herbert Dingle

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Herbert Dingle

Herbert Dingle (August 2, 1890September 4, 1978) was a British physicist. He was born in London on 1890 August 2, he died in Hull on 1978 September 4 at the age of 88.

He was elected FRAS (Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society) in 1922. After the Second World War he was appointed Professor and Head of the Department of History and Philosophy of Science at University College London, a post he held for nine years until his retirement in 1955. From 1951 to 1953 he was President of the Royal Astronomical Society. He was one of the founders of the British Society for the History of Science and served as its President from 1955 to 1957.

He is the author of many scientific publications, including the following textbooks:

  • Relativity for All (1922)
  • Modern astrophysics (1924)
  • Science and Human experience (1931)
  • Through Science to Philosophy (1937)
  • Science at the Crossroads (1972)

In his textbook Science at the Crossroads (1972) a refutation of Einstein's special theory of relativity is published. In the introduction of his book, Dingle gives the following warning:

"Directly or indirectly - at present chiefly the latter, though none the less inseparably - special relativity is involved in all modern physical experiments, and these are known to be attended by such dangerous possibilities, should something go wrong with them, that the duty of ensuring as far as possible that this shall not happen is imperative. It is certain that, sooner or later, experiments based on false theories will have unexpected results, and these, in the experiments of the present day, may be harmless or incalculably disastrous. In these circumstances an inescapable obligation is laid on experimental physicists to subject their theories to the most stringent criticism. As this book will show, their general practice is to leave such criticism to mathematical theorists who either evade or ignore it, and the possible consequences are evident and unspeakably menacing."

In 1986, the Chernobyl disaster tragically confirmed the importance of Dingle's warning.


Whitrow, G. J. (1980) Obituary - Dingle, Herbert, ROYAL ASTRON. SOC. QUARTERLY JOURNAL V. 21, P. 333, 1980.

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