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Stellar Dynamics and Statistical Mechanics

Nature volume 100, pages 326327 (27 December 1917) | Download Citation



THE five papers referred to below do not form a logical sequence of discussion, but are related to one another in that they are all more or less directly concerned with the methods of statistical mechanics and their applications to the o problems of stellar dynamics. Since the positions and motions of individual stars are known only in a few instances, it is impossible to treat the motions of stars by the ordinary methods of classical mechanics, so that statistical methods have to be adopted. Important investigations in stellar dynamics have been made recently on this basis by several investigators, more particularly by Eddington and Jeans. There are two fundamentally different methods of treatment: (a) The stars may be compared with the molecules of a gas, and the effect of the various encounters considered, the discussion proceeding along the lines of gas theory, (b) It may be supposed that the encounters of stars have but small effect, so that the stars may be regarded as describing orbits under the general attraction of the stellar system as a whole, the discussion then proceeding along the lines of hydrodynamics. Both methods may be expected to give results of value for the general theory.


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    (1) “Statistical Mechanics, based on the Law of Newton," Lund Meddelande, Ser. ii., No. 16. (2) “Ueber den Satz von den Gleichen Verteilung der Energie," Lund Medd., Ser. i., No. 79; Arkiv för Mat. Astr. och Fysik, Bd. xii., No. 18. (3) “Ueber hydrodynamisches Glelchgewicht in Sternsystemen," Lund Medd., Ser. i., No. 82; Arkiv för Mat., etc., Bd. xii., No. 21. (4) “Conceptions Monistique et Dualistique de l'Univers Stellaire," Lund Medd., Sen i., No. 81; Scientia, vol. xxii., p. 77 (1917). (5) “Eine Studie über die Analyse der Sternbewegungen," Lund Medd., Ser. i., No. 78; Arkiv för Mat., etc., Bd. xii., No. 10. All by .

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