boltzmanns atom the great debate that launched a revolution in physics

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Boltzmanns Atom

Author : David Lindley
ISBN : 9781501142673
Genre : Science
File Size : 44. 34 MB
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In 1900 many eminent scientists did not believe atoms existed, yet within just a few years the atomic century launched into history with an astonishing string of breakthroughs in physics that began with Albert Einstein and continues to this day. Before this explosive growth into the modern age took place, an all-but-forgotten genius strove for forty years to win acceptance for the atomic theory of matter and an altogether new way of doing physics. Ludwig Boltz-mann battled with philosophers, the scientific establishment, and his own potent demons. His victory led the way to the greatest scientific achievements of the twentieth century. Now acclaimed science writer David Lindley portrays the dramatic story of Boltzmann and his embrace of the atom, while providing a window on the civilized world that gave birth to our scientific era. Boltzmann emerges as an endearingly quixotic character, passionately inspired by Beethoven, who muddled through the practical matters of life in a European gilded age. Boltzmann's story reaches from fin de siècle Vienna, across Germany and Britain, to America. As the Habsburg Empire was crumbling, Germany's intellectual might was growing; Edinburgh in Scotland was one of the most intellectually fertile places on earth; and, in America, brilliant independent minds were beginning to draw on the best ideas of the bureaucratized old world. Boltzmann's nemesis in the field of theoretical physics at home in Austria was Ernst Mach, noted today in the term Mach I, the speed of sound. Mach believed physics should address only that which could be directly observed. How could we know that frisky atoms jiggling about corresponded to heat if we couldn't see them? Why should we bother with theories that only told us what would probably happen, rather than making an absolute prediction? Mach and Boltzmann both believed in the power of science, but their approaches to physics could not have been more opposed. Boltzmann sought to explain the real world, and cast aside any philosophical criteria. Mach, along with many nineteenth-century scientists, wanted to construct an empirical edifice of absolute truths that obeyed strict philosophical rules. Boltzmann did not get on well with authority in any form, and he did his best work at arm's length from it. When at the end of his career he engaged with the philosophical authorities in the Viennese academy, the results were personally disastrous and tragic. Yet Boltzmann's enduring legacy lives on in the new physics and technology of our wired world. Lindley's elegant telling of this tale combines the detailed breadth of the best history, the beauty of theoretical physics, and the psychological insight belonging to the finest of novels.

Ludwig Boltzmann

Author : Carlo Cercignani
ISBN : 9780191606984
Genre : Science
File Size : 85. 62 MB
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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 substantial part 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 is documented, 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 mathematical theorems. 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.

Degrees Kelvin

Author : David Lindley
ISBN : 9780309167826
Genre : Science
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LORD KELVIN. In 1840, a precocious 16-year-old by the name of William Thomson spent his summer vacation studying an extraordinarily sophisticated mathematical controversy. His brilliant analysis inspired lavish praise and made the boy an instant intellectual celebrity. As a young scholar William dazzled a Victorian society enthralled with the seductive authority and powerful beauty of scientific discovery. At a time when no one really understood heat, light, electricity, or magnetism, Thomson found key connections between them, laying the groundwork for two of the cornerstones of 19th century science -- the theories of electromagnetism and thermodynamics. Charismatic, confident, and boyishly handsome, Thomson was not a scientist who labored quietly in a lab, plying his trade in monkish isolation. When scores of able tinkerers were flummoxed by their inability to adapt overland telegraphic cables to underwater, intercontinental use, Thomson took to the high seas with new equipment that was to change the face of modern communications. And as the world’s navies were transitioning from wooden to iron ships, they looked to Thomson to devise a compass that would hold true even when surrounded by steel. Gaining fame and wealth through his inventive genius, Thomson was elevated to the peerage by Queen Victoria for his many achievements. He was the first scientist ever to be so honored. Indeed, his name survives in the designation of degrees Kelvin, the temperature scale that begins with absolute zero, the point at which atomic motion ceases and there is a complete absence of heat. Sir William Thomson, Lord Kelvin, was Great Britain's unrivaled scientific hero. But as the century drew to a close and Queen Victoria's reign ended, this legendary scientific mind began to weaken. He grudgingly gave way to others with a keener, more modern vision. But the great physicist did not go quietly. With a ready pulpit at his disposal, he publicly proclaimed his doubts over the existence of atoms. He refused to believe that radioactivity involved the transmutation of elements. And believing that the origin of life was a matter beyond the expertise of science and better left to theologians, he vehemently opposed the doctrines of evolution, repeatedly railing against Charles Darwin. Sadly, this pioneer of modern science spent his waning years arguing that the Earth and the Sun could not be more than 100 million years old. And although his early mathematical prowess had transformed our understanding of the forces of nature, he would never truly accept the revolutionary changes he had helped bring about, and it was others who took his ideas to their logical conclusion. In the end Thomson came to stand for all that was old and complacent in the world of 19th century science. Once a scientific force to be reckoned with, a leader to whom others eagerly looked for answers, his peers in the end left him behind -- and then meted out the ultimate punishment for not being able to keep step with them. For while they were content to bury him in Westminster Abbey alongside Isaac Newton, they used his death as an opportunity to write him out of the scientific record, effectively denying him his place in history. Kelvin’s name soon faded from the headlines, his seminal ideas forgotten, his crucial contributions overshadowed. Destined to become the definitive biography of one of the most important figures in modern science, Degrees Kelvin unravels the mystery of a life composed of equal parts triumph and tragedy, hubris and humility, yielding a surprising and compelling portrait of a complex and enigmatic man.

Lectures On Gas Theory

Author : Ludwig Boltzmann
ISBN : 9780486152332
Genre : Science
File Size : 50. 98 MB
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A masterpiece of theoretical physics, this classic contains a comprehensive exposition of the kinetic theory of gases. It combines rigorous mathematic analysis with a pragmatic treatment of physical and chemical applications.

Black Body Theory And The Quantum Discontinuity 1894 1912

Author : Thomas S. Kuhn
ISBN : 0226458008
Genre : Science
File Size : 60. 60 MB
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"A masterly assessment of the way the idea of quanta of radiation became part of 20th-century physics. . . . The book not only deals with a topic of importance and interest to all scientists, but is also a polished literary work, described (accurately) by one of its original reviewers as a scientific detective story."—John Gribbin, New Scientist "Every scientist should have this book."—Paul Davies, New Scientist

Einstein Defiant

Author : Edmund Blair Bolles
ISBN : 9780309167819
Genre : Science
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"I find the idea quite intolerable that an electron exposed to radiation should choose of its own free will, not only its moment to jump off, but also its direction. In that case, I would rather be a cobbler, or even an employee in a gaming house, than a physicist." -Albert Einstein A scandal hovers over the history of 20th century physics. Albert Einstein -- the century's greatest physicist -- was never able to come to terms with quantum mechanics, the century's greatest theoretical achievement. For physicists who routinely use both quantum laws and Einstein's ideas, this contradiction can be almost too embarrassing to dwell on. Yet Einstein was one of the founders of quantum physics and he spent many years preaching the quantum's importance and its revolutionary nature. The Danish genius Neils Bohr was another founder of quantum physics. He had managed to solve one of the few physics problems that Einstein ever shied away from, linking quantum mathematics with a new model of the atom. This leap immediately yielded results that explained electron behavior and the periodic table of the elements. Despite their mutual appreciation of the quantum's importance, these two giants of modern physics never agreed on the fundamentals of their work. In fact, they clashed repeatedly throughout the 1920s, arguing first over Einstein's theory of "light quanta"(photons), then over Niels Bohr's short-lived theory that denied the conservation of energy at the quantum level, and climactically over the new quantum mechanics that Bohr enthusiastically embraced and Einstein stubbornly defied. This contest of visions stripped the scientific imagination naked. Einstein was a staunch realist, demanding to know the physical reasons behind physical events. At odds with this approach was Bohr's more pragmatic perspective that favored theories that worked, even if he might not have a corresponding explanation of the underlying reality. Powerful and illuminating, Einstein Defiant is the first book to capture the soul and the science that inspired this dramatic duel, revealing the personalities and the passions -- and, in the end, what was at stake for the world.

Ludwig Boltzmann

Author : Engelbert Broda
ISBN : UOM:39015017191902
Genre : Biography & Autobiography
File Size : 71. 98 MB
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Quantum Einstein Bohr And The Great Debate About The Nature Of Reality

Author : Manjit Kumar
ISBN : 9780393080094
Genre : Science
File Size : 29. 62 MB
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“A lucid account of quantum theory (and why you should care) combined with a gripping narrative.”—San Francisco Chronicle Quantum theory is weird. As Niels Bohr said, if you weren’t shocked by quantum theory, you didn’t really understand it. For most people, quantum theory is synonymous with mysterious, impenetrable science. And in fact for many years it was equally baffling for scientists themselves. In this tour de force of science history, Manjit Kumar gives a dramatic and superbly written account of this fundamental scientific revolution, focusing on the central conflict between Einstein and Bohr over the nature of reality and the soul of science. This revelatory book takes a close look at the golden age of physics, the brilliant young minds at its core—and how an idea ignited the greatest intellectual debate of the twentieth century.

The Oxford Guide To The History Of Physics And Astronomy

Author : J. L. Heilbron
ISBN : 9780195171983
Genre : Science
File Size : 39. 83 MB
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The history of physics and astronomy from the Renaissance to the present day is traced in this collection of more than one hundred and fifty entries about key scientists, concepts, discoveries, technological innovations, and learned institutions.

Atomic Age America

Author : Martin V. Melosi
ISBN : 9781315509754
Genre : History
File Size : 37. 63 MB
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Atomic Age America looks at the broad influence of atomic energy¿focusing particularly on nuclear weapons and nuclear power¿on the lives of Americans within a world context. The text examines the social, political, diplomatic, environmental, and technical impacts of atomic energy on the 20th and 21st centuries, with a look back to the origins of atomic theory.

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