First greatest physics experiment and observation in human history is the lodestone attracted to other lodestones and to iron. A date for this is Thales of Miletus 6th century before Lucretius's De Rerum Natura. Now the remarkable aspect of this history story is not so much the discovery, but that it takes until 2013 for any physicist to tell of how great a discovery it was. That not until I personally tell the story that you have magnetism, but that it is perpetual motion which means perpetual energy on the macroscale, not just the microscale of the internal atom.
In the history of physics, especially in the last centuries, the scientists have gone the opposite direction in teaching and instructing people of science. They bent over backwards to infuse everyone with the idea that perpetual motion, perpetual energy is non- existent, except for cases inside atoms of electrons in orbit. You see, these instructors were half-brains of physics trying to make people weary of scam artists selling perpetual motion devices. But in their zealous warnings, they forgot to teach that perpetual motion is everywhere and all around us. Sure, they did their job in warning us about scam artists of machines that were not perpetual motion, but they failed to teach people that every atom is a perpetual energy or perpetual motion machine of its electrons, or its protons. And the world's first and greatest Physics experiment was to see a lodestone that perpetually attracts other lodestones with never any loss of energy, nor input in energy to keep it doing what it does-- attract.
There is even a law of thermodynamics that forbids perpetual motion, but that law is fakery. Because it is denied by the Maxwell Equations. The Maxwell Equations does have a conservation of energy which is the Lenz's law, but the conservation laws of physics are sometimes supported by the Maxwell Equations and other times not supported. When the Maxwell Equations are the axioms over all of physics then conservation laws are merely the equal sign in the Maxwell Equations, but not the idea that Nature is conservation everywhere for the Maxwell Equations are not equal everywhere. What the Maxwell Equations always supports is perpetual motion and thus perpetual energy as seen by bar magnets, and the ancient lodestone experiment.
Now I need to dive into the permanent bar magnet theory in order to wrestle with the concept of spin in physics. What I want to accomplish in these pages before I reach page 1300 for New Physics textbook is at least a handle on rest-mass and spin and charge and Space. I do not want to start the 6th edition of this double text without a firm grasp of those concepts. I want to refine those concepts in the 6th edition and not have to fetch them first.
So the greatest first experiment or observation in the history of physics, and we can say that it starts physics, is the lodestone with its perpetual energy. And the most fascinating part of that history story is that not until 2013 has any physicist made mention of the enormous importance of perpetual energy due to perpetual motion due to spin of atoms, which is due to, finally, the Maxwell Equations. Not quantum mechanics, for QM is but a tiny subset of the Maxwell Equations.
So I have about 50 pages to have a settled view of rest-mass, spin, charge, Space, and I better make good use of those pages.
Google's archives are top-heavy in hate-spew from search-engine- bombing. Only Drexel's Math Forum has done a excellent, simple and fair archiving of AP posts for the past 15 years as seen here: