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Ludwig BoltzmannThe Man Who Trusted Atoms$
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Carlo Cercignani

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780198570646

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198570646.001.0001

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A short biography of Ludwig Boltzmann

A short biography of Ludwig Boltzmann

(p.5) 1 A short biography of Ludwig Boltzmann
Ludwig Boltzmann


Oxford University Press

Gottfried Ludwig Boltzmann, born in Berlin, Germany in 1770, moved to Vienna, Austria in his early years to become a maker of musical boxes. There he married and had a son, Ludwig Georg, who became a taxation officer and married Maria Pauernfeind, the daughter of a Salzburg merchant, in 1837. Ludwig Georg's and Maria's eldest son was Ludwig Eduard Boltzmann, who was born in Vienna on February 20, 1844. He was to become a well-known physicist. The night of his birth marked the passage from Shrove Tuesday to Ash Wednesday and Boltzmann used to say that his birth date explained why his temper could suddenly change from great happiness to deep depression. This chapter presents a short biography of Ludwig Boltzmann, including his youth and happy years, the crisis that he experienced between January and July 1888 which had affected his life and personality, his bout with neurasthenia, dissatisfaction and restlessness, scientific debates and travels, his career as a teacher, inventions, personality, his suicide, and the poem he wrote entitled Beethoven im Himmel.

Keywords:   musical boxes, Berlin, Vienna, neurasthenia, neurasthenia, scientific debates

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