Ludwig Boltzmann

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In existographies, Ludwig Boltzmann (111-49 BE) (1844-1906 ACM) (IQ:190|#29) (ID:3.06|62) (RGM:483|1,350+) (PR:1886|65AE / physicist:43) (Kanowitz 50:44) (Cropper 30:1|SM) (GPE:26) (FTS:6) (EPD:F15) (TR:318) (LH:13) (TL:331) was an Austrian physicist, thermodynamicist, and philosopher, noted for []


In 1886, Boltzmann, in his lecture "On the the Second Law of Thermodynamics", outlined his views on the second law in respect to evolution.

Energy atoms

In 1891, Boltzmann conjectured that energy can be divided "atomically":

“I see no reason why energy shouldn’t also be regarded as divided atomically.”
— Ludwig Boltzmann (1891), Publication [1]

In 1897, Max Planck, while working the problem of finding a function of brightness of light bulbs as function of temperature, began to expand on Boltzmann's atomicity of energy conjecture, therein introducing the "energy element" model. This later led Einstein, in 1905, to begin thinking about light in terms of "quantums" or quantas, i.e. divided into particles of light within the light waves.

Gas Theory | Lectures

Many of Boltzmann's equations contain these Gothic letters, which are difficult to render in English. The following symbol "Helmholtz bound energy symbol.png" was used by Helmholtz for bound energy?[2] This letter presumably is a "B" but it is difficult to tell?

In 1898, Boltzmann, in his Lectures on Gas Theory, outlined his entire theory, specifically focused on his "H function", which correlated to Maxwell distribution (1859), which he shows decreases with time, which he conjectured could be connected with the increase of entropy with time..


Quotes | On

The following are quotes on Boltzmann:

Boltzmann played a leading role in the nineteenth-century movement toward reducing the phenomena of heat, light, electricity, and magnetism to ‘matter and motion’, in other words, to atomic models based on Newtonian mechanics. his only greatest contribution was to show how that mechanics, which had previously been regarded as deterministic and reversible in time, could be used to describe irreversible phenomena in the real world on a statistical basis. His original papers on the statistical interpretation of thermodynamics, the H-theorem, transport theory, thermal equilibrium, the equation of state of gases, and the similar subjects, occupy about 2000 pages and the proceedings of the Vienna Academy and other societies.”
— Stephen Brush (1964), “Translator’s Introduction” (pg. 1)[2]

Quotes | By

The following are quotes by Boltzmann:

“The general battle for existence[3] of living organisms is NOT one for the basic substances, these substances are abundant in the air, In water and on the ground, also NOT for energy that everybody contains abundantly in the form of heat, though unfortunately in a non-available form, but FOR entropy which becomes available by the transition of energy from the hot sun to the cold earth.”
— Ludwig Boltzmann (1886), “On the Second Law of Thermodynamics”, Lecture (Max Perutz [1987] translation; German and English)[4] ; note: this quote has historically been mistranslated[5], many English publications, to the effect that the struggle of existence is for "free energy", which is a term not used in the original quote.
“It is not a defect that the minimum theorem [H-theorem] is tied to the assumption of ‘disorder’, rather it is a merit that this theorem has clarified our ideas so that one recognizes the necessity of this assumption.”
— Ludwig Boltzmann (1896), Lectures on Gas Theory (pg. 42) [2]

End matter

See also


  1. Moriarty, Philip. (2003). “Thermal and Kinetic Physics”, University of Nottingham.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Boltzmann, Ludwig. (1896). Lectures on Gas Theory (translator: Stephen Brush) (Brush quote, pg. 1; Gothic letters, pg. 20; disorder, pg. 42). Dover, 1964.
  3. Struggle for existence – Hmolpedia 2020.
  4. Perutz, Max. (1987). “Schrodinger’s What is Life? and Molecular Biology”; in: Schrodinger: Centenary Celebration of a Polymath (§19:234-51, quote, pg. 241). Cambridge.
  5. Struggle for entropy – Hmolpedia 2020.


Further reading

  • Harris, Stewart. (1971). An Introduction: to the Theory of the Boltzmann Equation. Dover.
  • Broda, Englebert. (1983). Ludwig Boltzmann: Man, Physicist, Philosopher. Ox Bow Press.
  • Cercignani, Carlo. (1998). Ludwig Boltzmann: the Man Who Trusted Atoms. Oxford.
  • Lindley, David. (2001). Boltzmann's Atom: the Great Debate that Launched a Revolution in Physics. The Free Press.
  • Johnson, Eric. (2018). Anxiety and the Equation: Understanding Boltzmann's Entropy. MIT Press.


  • Anon. (2020). “Boltzmann’s Entropy Equation: a History from Clausius to Planck” (YT), Kathy Loves Physics and History, Jan 20.

External links

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