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The Analogical Turn (1884–1887)

Olivier Darrigol.

in Atoms, Mechanics, and Probability

February 2018; p ublished online March 2018 .

Chapter. Subjects: Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics; History of Science and Technology. 22734 words.

This chapter recounts how Boltzmann reacted to Hermann Helmholtz’s analogy between thermodynamic systems and a special kind of mechanical system (the “monocyclic systems”) by grouping all...

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Atoms, Mechanics, and Probability

Olivier Darrigol.

February 2018; p ublished online March 2018 .

Book. Subjects: Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics; History of Science and Technology. 640 pages.

One of the pillars of modern science, statistical mechanics, owes much to one man, the Austrian physicist Ludwig Boltzmann (1844–1906). As a result of his unusual working and writing...

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The Boltzmann Equation and the H Theorem (1872–1875)

Olivier Darrigol.

in Atoms, Mechanics, and Probability

February 2018; p ublished online March 2018 .

Chapter. Subjects: Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics; History of Science and Technology. 24861 words.

This chapter covers Boltzmann’s writings about the Boltzmann equation and the H theorem in the period 1872–1875, through which he succeeded in deriving the irreversible evolution of the...

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Boltzmann’s Theory

Olivier Darrigol.

in Atoms, Mechanics, and Probability

February 2018; p ublished online March 2018 .

Chapter. Subjects: Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics; History of Science and Technology. 58875 words.

In this last chapter, the reader will find synthetic reflections on Boltzmann’s sources, on the basic components of his theory, and on the ways it was received. The basic components are...

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Consolidation (1887–1895)

Olivier Darrigol.

in Atoms, Mechanics, and Probability

February 2018; p ublished online March 2018 .

Chapter. Subjects: Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics; History of Science and Technology. 23381 words.

This chapter covers a period in which Boltzmann returned to the collision-based approach and consolidated it in answer to criticism and suggestions by William Thomson, Hendrik Lorentz,...

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Constructing Thermal Equilibrium (1866–1871)

Olivier Darrigol.

in Atoms, Mechanics, and Probability

February 2018; p ublished online March 2018 .

Chapter. Subjects: Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics; History of Science and Technology. 32382 words.

This chapter is the first subset of a set of critical summaries Boltzmann’s writings on kinetic-molecular theory. It covers a first period in which he tried to construct the laws of thermal...

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The Critical Turn (1895–1899)

Olivier Darrigol.

in Atoms, Mechanics, and Probability

February 2018; p ublished online March 2018 .

Chapter. Subjects: Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics; History of Science and Technology. 26368 words.

In the writings of this period, we see Boltzmann responding to criticism by British kinetic theorists and by the German mathematician Ernst Zermelo regarding the equipartition of energy and...

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Lectures on Gas Theory (1896, 1898)

Olivier Darrigol.

in Atoms, Mechanics, and Probability

February 2018; p ublished online March 2018 .

Chapter. Subjects: Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics; History of Science and Technology. 21001 words.

This chapter is devoted mostly to the two volumes of Boltzmann’s Lectures on gas theory, published in 1896 and 1898, with special attention to the novel elements in Boltzmann’s...

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Life and Works: A Sketch

Olivier Darrigol.

in Atoms, Mechanics, and Probability

February 2018; p ublished online March 2018 .

Chapter. Subjects: Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics; History of Science and Technology. 13856 words.

This is a brief scientific biography of Boltzmann, including the vicissitudes of his uncommon life and the principal developments of his works about the kinetic-molecular theory. Boltzmann...

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The Probabilistic Turn (1876–1884)

Olivier Darrigol.

in Atoms, Mechanics, and Probability

February 2018; p ublished online March 2018 .

Chapter. Subjects: Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics; History of Science and Technology. 45138 words.

This chapter deals with writings in which Boltzmann expressed the statistical nature of the entropy law and temporarily made the relation between entropy and combinatorial probability a...

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