Prof. Van der Waals on the Continuity of the Liquid and Gaseous States


SINCE my letter which was published in your last issue was written, I have found that the first edition of Maxwell's “Theory of Heat” contains a diagram, intended to represent the isothermals of carbonic acid substance, with all, or almost all, the faults of the diagram of Prof. Van der Waals; and from this, no doubt, Van der Waals's diagram was taken. Consequently I beg leave to withdraw absolutely the words used in my letter, viz. “The curves seem certainly not taken from Maxwell,” and also a succeeding sentence which gave my reason for this opinion. I am sorry for my error; but I was not aware, or rather had quite forgotten, that Maxwell's first edition contained this faulty diagram.

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.

Author information

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

BOTTOMLEY, J. Prof. Van der Waals on the Continuity of the Liquid and Gaseous States. Nature 43, 437 (1891) doi:10.1038/043437b0

Download citation


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.