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Atoms, Mechanics, and ProbabilityLudwig Boltzmann's Statistico-Mechanical Writings - An Exegesis$
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Olivier Darrigol

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198816171

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198816171.001.0001

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The Critical Turn (1895–1899)

The Critical Turn (1895–1899)

Chapter:
(p.366) 8 The Critical Turn (1895–1899)
Source:
Atoms, Mechanics, and Probability
Author(s):

Olivier Darrigol

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198816171.003.0008

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 the H theorem. Boltzmann also acted as a critic of other authors. He ridiculed Joseph Bertrand’s attack on Maxwell’s kinetic-molecular reasoning and, after much pounding on Max Planck’s early radiation theory, he managed to convince Planck to alter his approach to irreversibility. Boltzmann also gave a last critical review of the problem of specific heats. During the same period, he was working on his Gastheorie and this prompted him to discuss Johannes Diderik van der Waals’s theory in the light of the Maxwell–Boltzmann theory, with similar reasoning adapted to the problem of chemical dissociation.

Keywords:   Edward Culverwell, Samuel Burbury, Ersnt Zermelo, Diderikvan der Waals, energy equipartition, reversibility paradox, H theorem, molecular chaos, virial theorem

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