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Applications of the Kinetic Theory to Gases, Vapours, and Solutions

Nature volume 70, page 295 (28 July 1904) | Download Citation



THERE are probably few mathematicians who can follow the long and difficult investigations by which it has been attempted to dispense with the second law, and to represent thermodynamical properties of matter as the changes which must necessarily take place in a molecular system for which the principles of dynamics and the laws of probability are assumed to hold good. Such attempts have been found practically in every case to involve some further assumption, whenever a kinetic theory has been applied to the consideration of irreversible phenomena, and Mr. Burbury has unearthed this inevitable assumption when it has escaped the attention of writers of several recent papers. It is probably as impossible to build up an irreversible thermodynamical system out of reversible dynamical elements without any assumption as it is to build up a Euclidean geometry without some axiom of parallels.

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