PhilSci Archive

Probability and Statistics in Boltzmann's Early Papers on Kinetic Theory

Badino, Massimiliano (2006) Probability and Statistics in Boltzmann's Early Papers on Kinetic Theory. [Preprint]

This is the latest version of this item.


Download (1MB)


Boltzmann’s equilibrium theory has not received by the scholars the attention it deserves. It was always interpreted as a mere generalization of Maxwell’s work or, in the most favorable case, a sketch of some ideas more consistently developed in the 1872 memoir. In this paper, I try to prove that this view is ungenerous. My claim is that in the theory developed during the period 1866-1871 the generalization of Maxwell’s distribution was mainly a mean to get a more general scope: a theory of the equilibrium of a system of mechanical points from a general point of view. To face this issue Boltzmann analyzed and discussed probabilistic assumptions so that his equilibrium theory cannot be considered a purely mechanical theory. I claim also that the special perspective adopted by Boltzmann and his view about probabilistic requirements played a role in the transition to the non equilibrium theory of 1872.

Export/Citation: EndNote | BibTeX | Dublin Core | ASCII/Text Citation (Chicago) | HTML Citation | OpenURL
Social Networking:
Share |

Item Type: Preprint
Badino, Massimiliano
Additional Information: Submitted for publication to "Archives for the history of exact science"
Keywords: Boltzmann, ergodic hypothesis, kinetic theory, probability
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Statistical Mechanics/Thermodynamics
Depositing User: Dr. Massimiliano Badino
Date Deposited: 16 Aug 2006
Last Modified: 07 Oct 2010 15:13
Item ID: 2276

Available Versions of this Item

Monthly Views for the past 3 years

Monthly Downloads for the past 3 years

Plum Analytics

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item