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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]

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    Abstract

    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.


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    Item Type: Preprint
    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 11:13
    Item ID: 2276
    URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/2276

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