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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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The influence of Boltzmann’s ideas on the science and technology of the twentieth century

The influence of Boltzmann’s ideas on the science and technology of the twentieth century

(p.214) 12 The influence of Boltzmann’s ideas on the science and technology of the twentieth century
Ludwig Boltzmann


Oxford University Press

The influence of Ludwig Boltzmann's ideas on physics as well as science and technology during the 20th century is obvious, even if it often appears as interpreted in the writings of different authors; mainly through those of Josiah Willard Gibbs, Max Planck, Albert Einstein, and the Ehrenfests. In the last years of his life, Boltzmann devoted himself more to defending his theories and his viewpoint on theoretical physics than to expounding systematically his discoveries and methods or applying these methods to new areas that were opening up, including the theory of electrons, black-body radiation, and Brownian motion. Even his published lectures, and in particular the second volume, are devoted more to demonstrating the usefulness of the basic concepts of the kinetic theory of gases than to underlining the role played by their author in the development of that theory. Some applications of which Boltzmann was well aware he never developed, perhaps the most evident case being that of Brownian motion.

Keywords:   Ludwig Boltzmann, physics, Albert Einstein, Brownian motion, black-body radiation, kinetic theory, theory of electrons, gases

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