The Statistical Law in Nature


LUDWIG BOLTZMANN was born in Vienna in 1844. Of the Austrian tetrad of brilliant physicists (Loschmidt, Stefan, Mach, Boltzmann) he duly gained widest fame. I could begin by telling of the splendid, at that time daring, proof he gave of the fundamental law of radiation, by imagining a pintful of nothing to undergo a sequence of compressions and dilatations—a so-called Carnot cycle. I could tell of his grinding a crystal of sulphur to the shape of a neat marble, that was to serve him in an experimental confirmation of Maxwell's theory of electricity, of which he was one of the foremost champions on the Continent. But to indicate what he really meant to the development of human thought, I must start from a wider basis.

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    Boltzmann, L., "Populäre Sohriften" (Leipzig: J. A. Barth, 1905).

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SCHRÖDINGER, E. The Statistical Law in Nature. Nature 153, 704–705 (1944).

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