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Atoms, Mechanics, and ProbabilityLudwig Boltzmann's Statistico-Mechanical Writings - An Exegesis$
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Olivier Darrigol

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198816171

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198816171.001.0001

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Constructing Thermal Equilibrium (1866–1871)

Constructing Thermal Equilibrium (1866–1871)

(p.69) 3 Constructing Thermal Equilibrium (1866–1871)
Atoms, Mechanics, and Probability

Olivier Darrigol

Oxford University Press

This chapter is the first subset of a set of critical summaries Boltzmann’s writings on kinetic-molecular theory. It covers a first period in which he tried to construct the laws of thermal equilibrium, including the existence of the entropy function and the Maxwell–Boltzmann law, by various means including the principle of least action, Maxwell’s collision formula, the ergodic hypothesis, and a procedure of adiabatic variation. This is an immensely fertile period in which Boltzmann introduced several of the basic concepts, problems, and difficulties of modern statistical mechanics.

Keywords:   entropy, mechanical analogy, collisions number, Maxwell’s distribution, Maxwell–Boltzmann distribution, ergodic hypothesis, microcanonical distribution, canonical distribution, polyatomic molecules

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