Synthese

, 119:11

Gadflies and Geniuses in the History of Gas Theory

  • Stephen G. Brush
Article

Abstract

The history of science has often been presented as a story of the achievements of geniuses: Galileo, Newton, Maxwell, Darwin, Einstein. Recently it has become popular to enrich this story by discussing the social contexts and motivations that may have influenced the work of the genius and its acceptance; or to replace it by accounts of the doings of scientists who have no claim to genius or to discoveries of universal importance but may be typical members of the scientific community at a particular time and place. In this article I consider a different type of story, which further research might reveal to be more common than we now suspect: progress stimulated by gadflies – outspoken critics who challenge the ideas of geniuses, forcing them to revise and improve those ideas, resulting in new knowledge for which the genius gets the credit while the gadfly is forgotten.

REFERENCES

  1. Battimelli, G. M., G. Ianniello and O. Kresten (eds.): 1993, Proceedings of the International Symposium on Ludwig Boltzmann (Rome, February 9-11, 1989) Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Wien.Google Scholar
  2. Bernoulli, D.: 1738, Hydrodynamica, sive de viribus et motibus fluidorum commentarii, Dulseckeri, Argentorati. Translation/summary of section on kinetic theory in Brush (1965, pp. 57-65).Google Scholar
  3. Blackmore, J. (ed).: 1995, Ludwig Boltzmann: His Later Life and Philosophy, 1900-1906, Book One: A Documentary History; Book Two: The Philosopher (Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science, 168 and 174), Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht/Boston/London.Google Scholar
  4. Böhm, W.: 1973, 'Loschmidt, Johann Joseph (b. Putschirn, near Carlsbad, Bohemia [now Karlovy Vary, Czechoslovakia], 15 March 1821; d. Vienna, Austria, 8 July 1895), Physics, Chemistry', in C. C. Gillispie (ed.), Dictionary of Scientific Biography,Charles Scribner's Sons, New York, vol. 8, pp. 507-511.Google Scholar
  5. Boltzmann, L.: 1868, 'Studien über das Gleichgewicht der lebendiges Kraft zwischen bewegten materiellen Punkten', Wien, Ber. 58, 517-560.Google Scholar
  6. Boltzmann, L.: 1872, 'Weitere Studien über das Wärmegleichgewicht unter Gas-molekülen', Wien Ber. 66, 275-370. English translation in Brush (1966, pp. 88-175).Google Scholar
  7. Boltzmann, L.: 1876, 'Ñber die Aufstellung und Integration der Gleichungen, welche die Molecularbewegung in Gasen bestimmen', Wien. Ber. 74, 503-552.Google Scholar
  8. Boltzmann, L.: 1877a, 'Bemerkungen über einige Probleme der mechanischen Wärme-theorie', Wien. Ber. 75, 62-100. English translation of the second section (his reply to Loschmidt) in Brush (1966, pp. 189-193).Google Scholar
  9. Boltzmann, L.: 1877b, 'Ñber die Beziehung zwischen des zweiten Hauptsatze der mechan-ischen Wärmetheorie und der Wahrscheinlichkeitsrechnung, respectiv den Satzen über das Wärmegleichgcwicht', Wien. Ber. 76, 373-435.Google Scholar
  10. Boltzmann, L.: 1878, 'Weitere Bemerkungen über einige Probleme der mechanischen Wärmetheorie', Wien. Ber. 78, 7-46.Google Scholar
  11. Boltzmann, L.: 1886, 'Der zweite Hauptsatze der mechanische Wärmetheorie', Almanac der kaiserlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften in Wien 36, 225-259. Translation in McGuinness (1974, pp. 13-32)Google Scholar
  12. Boltzmann, L.: 1895, 'On Certain Questions of the Theory of Gases', Nature 51, 413-415.Google Scholar
  13. Boltzmann, L.: 1896, 'Entgegnung auf die wärmetheoretischen Betrachtungen des Hrn. E. Zermelo', Annalen der Physik[3] 57, 773-784. English translation in Brush (1966, pp. 218-228).Google Scholar
  14. Boltzmann, L.: 1896-1898, Vorlesungen über Gastheorie, 2 vols., Barth, Leipzig. English translation with introduction and notes by S. G. Brush, Lectures on Gas Theory, University of California Press, Berkeley, 1964.Google Scholar
  15. Boltzmann, L.: 1897, 'Zu Hrn. Zermelo's Abhandlung Ñber die mechanische Erklärung irreversibler Vorgänge', Annalen der Physik[3] 60, 392-398. English translation in Brush (1966, pp. 238-245).Google Scholar
  16. Boltzmann, L.: 1898, 'Ñber die sogennante H-Curve', Mathematische Annalen 50, 325-332.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Boltzmann, L.: 1905, Populäre Schriften, J. A. Barth, Leipzig. New edition, selected and edited by E. Broda, Vieweg, Wiesbaden, 1979.Google Scholar
  18. Boltzmann, L.: 1979, 'DeZur Erinnerung an Josef Loschmidt', in E. Broda (ed.), Boltzmann's Populäre Schriften, Vieweg, Wiesbaden, Germany.Google Scholar
  19. Boltzmann, L. and J. Nabl: 1905, 'Kinetisehe Theorie der Materie', Encycklopädie der mathematischen Wissenschaften, vol. 5, part 1, p. 494-558.Boltzmann Gesamtausgabe, see Sexl (1981).Google Scholar
  20. Boyle, R.: 1660, New Experiments Physico-Mechanical, Touching the Spring of the Air, and its Effects; made, for the most part in a new Pneumatical Engine; Written by Way of Letter to the Right Honorable Charles Lord Viscount of Dungarvan, eldest Son to the Earl of Corke. Oxford. Reprinted in The Works of the Honourable Robert Boyle, London, 1772. Extensive extracts are quoted in Conant (1950).Google Scholar
  21. Boyle, R.: 1662, A Defence of the Doctrine Touching the Spring and Weight of the Air, Proposed by Mr. R. Boyle in his New Physico-Mechanical Experiments; Against the Objections of Franciscus Linus, wherewith the Objector's Funicular Hypothesis is also Examined. Oxford.Google Scholar
  22. Broda, E.: 1955, Ludwig Boltzmann: Mensch, Physiker, Philosoph. Deutscher Verlag der Wissenschaften, Berlin. Translation by Larry Gay and the author, Ludwig Boltzmann: Man-Physicist-Philosopher, Ox Bow Press, Woodbridge, CT (1983).Google Scholar
  23. Brush, S. G. 1965, Kinetic Theory,Vol.1,The Nature of Gases and of Heat,Pergamon Press, Oxford.Google Scholar
  24. Brush, S. G.: 1966, Kinetic Theory,Vol.2,Irreversible Processes, Pergamon Press, Oxford.Google Scholar
  25. Brush, S. G.: 1971, 'Proof of the Impossibility of Ergodic Systems: The 1913 Papers of Rosenthal and Plancherel', Transport Theory and Statistical Physics 1, 287-311.Google Scholar
  26. Brush, S. G.: 1976, The Kind of Motion We Call Heat: A History of the Kinetic Theory of Gases in the 19th Century, North-Holland.Google Scholar
  27. Burbury, S. H.: 1894, 'Boltzmann's Minimum Function', Nature 51, 78, 320.Google Scholar
  28. Burstyn, H. L.: 1970, 'Buys Ballot, Christoph Hendrik Diederik (b. Kloetinge, The Netherlands, 10 October 1817; d. Utrecht, The Netherlands, 3 February 1890), meteorology, physical chemistry, in C. C. Gillispie (ed.), Dictionary of Scientific Biography,Vol.2, Scribner's Sons, New York, pp. 628.Google Scholar
  29. Buys Ballot, C. H. D.: 1858, 'Ueber die Art von Bewegung, weiche wir Wärme und Electricitat nennen', Annalen der Physik[2] 103, 240-259.Google Scholar
  30. Clausius, R.: 1857, 'Ueber die Art der Bewegung, welche wir Wärme nennen', Annalen der Physik[2] 100, 353-380. English translation in Brush (1965, pp. 111-134).Google Scholar
  31. Clausius, R.: 1858, 'Ueber die mittlere Länge der Wege, welche bei Molecularbewegung gasförmigen Körper von den einzelnen molecülen zurücklegen werden, nebst anderen Bemerkungen über der mechanisehen Wärmetheorie', Annalen der Physik[2] 105, 239-258. English translation in Brush (1965, pp. 135-147).Google Scholar
  32. Conant, J. B.: 1950, 'Robert Boyle's Experiments in Pneumatics', in J. B. Conant (ed.), Harvard Case Histories in Experimental Science, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass., pp. 1-63.Google Scholar
  33. Culverwell, E. P.: 1890a, 'Note on Boltzmann's Kinetic Theory of Gases, and on Sir W. Thomson's Address to Section A, British Association, 1884', Philosophical Magazine[5] 30, 95-99.Google Scholar
  34. Culverwell, E. P.: 1890b, 'Possibility of Irreversible Molecular Motions', Report of the 60th Meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, 744.Google Scholar
  35. Culverwell, E. P.: 1894, 'Dr. Watson's Proof of Boltzmann's Theorem on Permanence of Distributions', Nature 50, 617.Google Scholar
  36. Culverwell, E. P.: 1895a, 'Boltzmann's Minimum Theorem', Nature 51, 246.Google Scholar
  37. Culverwell, E. P.: 1895b, 'Professor Boltzmann's Letter on the Kinetic Theory of Gases', Nature 51, 581.Google Scholar
  38. Daub, E. E.: 1970, 'Maxwell's Demon', Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 1, 213-227.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Debus, A. G.: 1998, 'Chemists, Physicians, and Changing Perspectives on the Scientific Revolution', Isis 89, 66-81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Dugas, R.: 1959, La Théorie Physique au Sens de Boltzmann, Griffon, Neuchatel.Google Scholar
  41. Ehrenfest, P. and T. Ehrenfest: 1911, 'Begriffliche Grundlagen der statistischen Auffas-sung in der Mechanik', Encyklopädie der mathematische Wissenschaften, vol. 4, part 32.Google Scholar
  42. English translation by M. J. Moravcsik, The Conceptual Foundations of the Statistical Approach in Mechanics, Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY, 1959.Google Scholar
  43. Everin, C. W. F.: 1975, James Clerk Maxwell: Physicist and Natural Philosopher, Scribner, New York.Google Scholar
  44. Floderer, A.: 1971, 'Avogadro'sche oder Loschmidt'sche Zahl?', Bohemia: Jahrbuch des Collegium Carolinum 12, 377-384.Google Scholar
  45. Garber, E., S. G. Brush and C. W. F. Everitt: 1986, Maxwell on Molecules and Gases,The MIT Press, Cambridge, MA.Google Scholar
  46. Garber, E., S. G. Brush and C. W. F. Everitt: 1995, Maxwell on Heat and Statistical Mechanics, Lehigh University Press, Bethlehem, PA.Google Scholar
  47. Gibbs, J. W.: 1902, Elementary Principles in Statistical Mechanics, Scribner, New York.Google Scholar
  48. Guthrie, F.: 1873, 'Kinetic Theory of Gases', Nature 8, 67, reprinted in Garber, Brush and Everitt (1995, pp. 120-121).Google Scholar
  49. Guthrie, F.: 1874, 'Molecular Motion', Nature 10, 123; reprinted in Garber, Brush and Everitt (1995, pp. 143-44).Google Scholar
  50. Hann, J.: 1896, Obituary of Josef Loschmidt, Almanach der kaiserlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Wien 46, 258-262.Google Scholar
  51. Herapath, J.: 1821, 'A Mathematical Inquiry into the Causes, laws and Principal Phenomenae of Heat, Gases, Gravitation, etc.', Annals of Philosophy[2] 1, 273-293, 340-351, 401-406. Reprinted in 1972 with Herapath (1847).Google Scholar
  52. Herapath, J.: 1847, Mathematical Physics. Whittaker, London. Reprinted with Selected Papers by John Herapath, edited by S. C. Brush, Johnson Reprint Corp., New York, 1972.Google Scholar
  53. Kac, M.: 1959, Probability and related Topics in Physical Sciences, Interscience, New York.Google Scholar
  54. Klein, M. J.: 1970, Paul Ehrenfest, vol. 1, North-Holland, Amsterdam.Google Scholar
  55. Klein, M. J.: 1973, 'The Maxwell-Boltzmann Relationship', in J. Kestin (ed.), Transport Phenomena-1973, American Institute of Physics (Conference Proceedings, No.11), New York, pp. 297-308.Google Scholar
  56. Kohler, W.: 1931, 'Zur Boltzmannschen Theorie des zweiten Hauptsatzes', Erkenntnis 2, 336-353.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Linus, Franciscus: 1661, Tractatus de Corporam Inseparabilitate, in quo Experimenta de Vacuo tam Torricelliana quam Magdeburgica et Boyliana examinatur; veraque eorum causa detecta, ostenditur, vacuum naturaliter dan non posse: unde et Aristotel-ica de Rarefactione sententia tam contra Assertores Vacuitatum, quam Corpusculorum demonsiratur, Martin, London.Google Scholar
  58. Loschmidt, J.: 1865, 'Zur Grösse der Luftmolecüle', Wien. Ber. 52, 395-413.Google Scholar
  59. Loschmidt, J.: 1876, 'Ñber den Zustand des Wärmegleichgewichtes eines Systemes von Körpern mit Rucksicht auf die Schwerkraft', Wien. Ber. 73, 128-142, 366-372.Google Scholar
  60. Loschmidt, J.: 1877, 'Ñber den Zustand des Wärmegleichgewichtes eines Systemes von Körpern mit Rucksicht auf die Schwerkraft', Wien. Ber. 75, 287-298; 76, 209-225.Google Scholar
  61. Loschmidt, J.: 1878, 'Cosmicai Results of the Modern Heat Theory', Nature 18, 184-185.Google Scholar
  62. Mach, E.: 1894, 'On the Principle of Conservation of Energy', The Monist 5, 22-54. Reprinted in Popular Scientific Lectures, Open Court, LaSalle, Ill., 5th ed., 1943, pp. 137-185.Google Scholar
  63. Maxwell, J. C.: 1860, 'Illustrations of the Dynamical Theory of Gases', Philosophical Magazine,series4,19, 19-32; 20, 21-37; reprinted (with additional manuscript material and correspondence) in Garber, Brush and Everitt (1986, pp. 277-336).Google Scholar
  64. Maxwell, J. C.: 1866, 'On the Dynamical Theory of Gases', Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London 157, 49-88. Reprinted in Brush (1966, pp. 23-87) and (with additional manuscript material and correspondence) in Garber, Brush and Everitt (1986, pp. 387-472).Google Scholar
  65. Maxwell, J. C.: 1873a, 'Clerk Maxwell's Kinetic Theory of Gases', Nature 8, 84. Reprinted in Garber, Everitt and Brush (1995, pp. 122-3).Google Scholar
  66. Maxwell, J. C.: 1873b, 'On the Equilibrium of Temperature of a Gaseous Column Subjected to Gravity', Nature 8, 527-528, reprinted in Garber, Brush and Everitt (1995, 125-26).Google Scholar
  67. Maxwell, J. C.: 1873c, 'On the Final State of a System of Molecules in Motion Subject to Forces of any Kind', Report of the 42nd Meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, Transactions of Section A, 29-32; reprinted in Garber, Brush and Everitt (1995, 138-43); shorter version in Nature 8 (1873), 537-538.Google Scholar
  68. Maxwell, J. C.: 1874, Reply to Guthrie, 'Molecular Motion', Nature 10, 124, reprinted in Garber, Brush and Everitt (1995, 144-45).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Mayer, J. E.: 1964, 'The Death of an Ogre', in H. Craig, S. L. Miller and C. J. Wasserburg (eds.), Isotopic and Cosmic Chemistry, North-Holland, Amsterdam, pp. 8-15.Google Scholar
  70. McGuinness, B. (ed.): 1974, Ludwig Boltzmann: Theoretical Physics and Philosophical Problems, Reidel, Boston.Google Scholar
  71. Mehra, J.: 1975, 'Einstein and the Foundation of Statistical Mechanics', Physica 79A, 447-477.Google Scholar
  72. Newton, I.: 1687, Philosophia Naturahs Pnncipia Mathematica. London. An extract of the section on the repulsive model for gas pressure (Motte-Cajori translation of the third edition, 1726) is reprinted in Brush (1965, pp. 54-56).Google Scholar
  73. Peckhaus, V.: 1990, ' "Ich habe mich wohl gehutet, alle Patronen auf einmal zu verschiessen": Ernst Zermelo in Göttingen', History and Philosophy of Logic 11, 19-58.Google Scholar
  74. Poincaré, H.: 1890, 'Sur le Problème de trois Corps et les Équations de Dynamique', Acta Mathematica 13, 1-270. An excerpt on the recurrence theorem is translated in Brush (1966, pp. 194-202).Google Scholar
  75. Poincaré, H.: 1893, 'Le Mécanisme et l'Expérince', Revue de Metaphysique et de Morale 1, 534-537. English translation in Brush (1966, pp. 203-207).Google Scholar
  76. Porterfield, W. W. and W. Knise: 1995, 'Loschmidt and the Discovery of the Small', Journal of Chemical Education 72, 870-875.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Reichenbach, H.: 1956, The Direction of Time, University of California Press, Berkeley.Google Scholar
  78. Reilly, C.: 1962, 'Francis Line, Peripatetic (1595-1675)', Osiris 15, 222-253.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Reilly, C.: 1969, Francis Line, S. J. An Exiled English Scientist, 1595-1675, Institutum Historicum S. J., Rome.Google Scholar
  80. Rootselaar, B. Van: 1976, 'Zermelo, Ernst Friedrich Ferdinand (b. Berlin, Germany, 27 July 1871; d. Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany, 21 May 1953), mathematics', in C. C. Glliispie (ed.), Dictionary of Scicntific Biography, vol. 14, Scribner's Sons, New York, pp. 613-616.Google Scholar
  81. Scott, W. L.: 1970, The Conflict between Atomism and Conservation Theory 1644-1860, American Elsevier, New York.Google Scholar
  82. Sexl, R. U. (ed.): 1981-, Ludwig Boltzmann Gesamtausgabe, Akademische Druck-u. Verlagsanstalt, Graz and Friedr. Vieweg and Sohn, Braunschweig/Wiesbaden.Google Scholar
  83. Sexl, R. and J, Blackinore (eds.): 1982, Ludwig Boltzmann, Internationale Tagung an-lässlich des 75. Jahrestages seines Todes, 5-8 September 1981 (Ludwig Boltzmann Gesammtausgabe, 8), Akademisehe Druck-u. Verlagsnnstalt, Graz and Friedr. Vieweg and Sohn, Braunschwcig/Wicsbaden.Google Scholar
  84. Shapin, S. and S. Schaffer: 1985, Leviathan and the Air Pump: Hobbes, Boyle, and the Experimental Life, Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ.Google Scholar
  85. Snelders, H. A. M.: 1968, 'Het Materiebegrip bij Buys Ballot', Scientiarum Historia 10, 154-172.Google Scholar
  86. Stiller, W.: 1988, Ludwig Boltzmann: Altmeister der klassischen Physik, Wegbereiter der Quantenphysik und Evolutionstheorie,J.A.Barth, Leipzig.Google Scholar
  87. Stoney, G. J.: 1887, 'Curious Consequences of a Well-known Dynamical Theorem', Philosophical Magazine[5] 23, 544-547.Google Scholar
  88. Thomson, W.: 1874, 'The Kinetic Theory of the Dissipation of Energy', Proceedings of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 8, 325-334. Reprinted in Brush (1966, pp. 176-187).Google Scholar
  89. Tolman, R. C.: 1938, The Principles of Statistical Mechanics, Oxford University Press, London.Google Scholar
  90. Webster, C.: 1965, 'The Discovery of Boyle's Law, and the Concept of the Elasticity of Air in the Seventeenth Century', Archive for History of Exact Sciences 2, 441-502.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  91. Zermelo, E.: 1896a, 'Ueber ein Satz der Dynamik und die mechanische Wärmetheorie', Annalen der Physik[2] 57, 485-494. English translation in Brush (1966, pp. 208-217).Google Scholar
  92. Zermelo, E.: 1896b, 'Ueber mechanische Erklärungen irreversibler Vorgänge', Annalen der Physik[2] 59, 793-801. English translation in Brush (1966, pp. 229-237).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen G. Brush
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of History and Institute for Physical Science & TechnologyUniversity of MarylandCollege ParkU.S.A.

Personalised recommendations