Ludwig Boltzmann: The Man Who Trusted Atoms

Paperback | December 1, 2006

byCarlo Cercignani, Roger Penrose

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This book presents the life and personality, the scientific and philosophical work of Ludwig Boltzmann, one of the great scientists who marked the passage from 19th- to 20th-Century physics. His rich and tragic life, ending by suicide at the age of 62, is described in detail. A substantialpart of the book is devoted to discussing his scientific and philosophical ideas and placing them in the context of the second half of the 19th century. The fact that Boltzmann was the man who did most to establish that there is a microscopic, atomic structure underlying macroscopic bodies isdocumented, as is Boltzmann's influence on modern physics, especially through the work of Planck on light quanta and of Einstein on Brownian motion. Boltzmann was the centre of a scientific upheaval, and he has been proved right on many crucial issues. He anticipated Kuhn's theory of scientific revolutions and proposed a theory of knowledge based on Darwin. His basic results, when properly understood, can also be stated as mathematicaltheorems. Some of these have been proved: others are still at the level of likely but unproven conjectures. The main text of this biography is written almost entirely without equations. Mathematical appendices deepen knowledge of some technical aspects of the subject.

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This book presents the life and personality, the scientific and philosophical work of Ludwig Boltzmann, one of the great scientists who marked the passage from 19th- to 20th-Century physics. His rich and tragic life, ending by suicide at the age of 62, is described in detail. A substantialpart of the book is devoted to discussing his s...

Carlo Cercignani Dipartmento di Matematica Politecnico di Milano Piazza Leonardo da Vinci, 32 20133 Milano Italy

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:352 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.78 inPublished:December 1, 2006Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198570643

ISBN - 13:9780198570646

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Table of Contents

Sir Roger Penrose: ForewordPrefaceIntroduction1. A short biography of Ludwig Boltzmann2. Physics before Boltzmann3. Kinetic theory before Boltzmann4. The Boltzmann equation5. Time irreversibility and the H-theorem6. Boltzmann's relation and the statistical interpretation of entropy7. Boltzmann, Gibbs and equilibrium statistical mechanics8. The problem of polyatomic molecules9. Boltzmann's contributions to other branches of physics10. Boltzmann as a philosopher11. Boltzmann and his contemporaries12. The influence of Boltzmann's ideas on the science and technology of the twentieth centuryEpilogueChronologys"A German professor's journey to Eldorado"Appendices

Editorial Reviews

`I can warmly recommend the book to everybody who is interested in the history of science.'Dieter Flamm, Physics World