Skip to main content
8 votes

When did the name “Boltzmann constant” prevail, and how?

Community-wiki timeline of relevant literature: By year written, sources where $k$ is named after... Author Dated Published Denoted Called Boltzmann 1877 (e) — S ein constanter Factor 1 ...
7 votes
Accepted

Did Maxwell discover the distribution of velocities in a gas during an exam set by Stokes?

No, he did not. Stokes could not have offered a problem of the distribution of velocities of gas particles for the simple reason that he never thought of fluids as consisting of particles. He was a ...
Conifold's user avatar
  • 77.1k
6 votes
Accepted

Interpretation of $W$ in Boltzmann's entropy formula

One should remember the context of the time when Boltzmann wrote his 1877 paper. Weierstrass just created a rigorous version of mathematical analysis and probability theory was not even close to ...
Conifold's user avatar
  • 77.1k
6 votes
Accepted

History of XY model - Plane Rotator model

Finally found! This evening I was reading an article by Silver et al: Silver, H., N. E. Frankel, and B. W. Ninham. “A Class of Mean Field Models.” Journal of Mathematical Physics 13, no. 4 (April 1, ...
fdesmond's user avatar
  • 121
6 votes
Accepted

What is the etymology of "phase space" of a dynamical system?

Here is a direct link to Nolte's Tangled Tale of Phase Space on Physics Today. Big takeaways: the name did not come from Liouville's oft-cited 1838 paper, and Boltzmann used "phase" without &...
Conifold's user avatar
  • 77.1k
5 votes
Accepted

What did people understand heat and temperature to be in Clausius' time?

Until 1850s the dominant theory was that the heat is caloric fluid, and the phrasing reflected that. The caloric theory was a revision by Lavoisier of the earlier phlogiston theory, and Carnot and ...
Conifold's user avatar
  • 77.1k
4 votes
Accepted

Why is the H theorem called the big Eta theorem?

@kimchi lover, gave the answer. The article: Brush, Stephen G. "Boltzmann's “Eta Theorem”: Where's the Evidence?." American Journal of Physics 35.9 (1967): 892-892. talks about the problem of the ...
Mauricio's user avatar
  • 3,927
4 votes

When did the name “Boltzmann constant” prevail, and how?

Q: When did the name “Boltzmann constant” prevail, and how? In Herzfeld's review article from 1920 for the Encyklopädie der Mathematischen Wissenschaften the symbol $k$ is called Boltzmann's constant ...
Carlo Beenakker's user avatar
4 votes

Who introduced the partition function?

I think the name "partition function" was first used, and therefore introduced, by Charles George Darwin and R.H. Fowler in their article "On the partition of energy" Phil. Mag. 44(...
OlafZ's user avatar
  • 41
3 votes

Who introduced the partition function?

From the reading I have done, it is mainly Gibbs. Boltzmann introduced the idea of a factor having the form of $\exp(-\alpha E)$ in his re-derivation of Maxwell's distribution for the speeds of gases ...
drobb006's user avatar
3 votes

History of XY model - Plane Rotator model

As far as I know, this model (well, the quantum version of it) was introduced in the following paper: Two soluble models of an antiferromagnetic chain, Elliott Lieb, Theodore Schultz and Daniel ...
Yvan Velenik's user avatar
3 votes

Who introduced the partition function?

But also see Hajime Inaba's paper "Reading Elementary Principles: Gibbs and the origin of statistical mechanics" ( https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/andp.201500256 ) where, after ...
Raymond Puzio's user avatar
3 votes

Did Maxwell discover the distribution of velocities in a gas during an exam set by Stokes?

Who am I to cast doubt on what Kapitsa wrote? But I thought Maxwell's first work on kinetic theory, including his first argument for the Maxwellian distribution, was presented in 1859 and had been ...
Philip Wood's user avatar
3 votes
Accepted

What is the origin of the name "degeneracy" pressure and "degenerate" Fermi gas?

Just an informed hunch, seconding @Jon Custer's suggestion. The physics usage follows the older math usage, which signifies degeneracy as a limiting simplification which stretches a definition to an ...
Cosmas Zachos's user avatar
2 votes
Accepted

Why are microcanonical, canonical and macrocanonical ensembles called that way?

People often expect names and notations to have some deep meanings, or at least a story behind them, but in more cases than not all there is are some loose associations, if that, described as "...
Conifold's user avatar
  • 77.1k
2 votes
Accepted

Einstein's Objection to Drude Model

In the paper Einstein's controversy with Drude and the origin of statistical mechanics: A new glimpse from the "Love Letter" by J. Renn, (1997), we read: The nature of Einstein's objections ...
nwr's user avatar
  • 6,879
1 vote

What is the difference between Einstein's and Boltzmann's definitions of probability?

He's saying that the hypothesis of "cases of equal probability" is taken in situations ("instances") where the "theoretical picture" used is "definite" enough ...
Mozibur Ullah's user avatar
1 vote
Accepted

Distinguishability of particles in statistical mechanics

The discovery was made in trying to explain the spectrum of black body radiation, using statistical mechanics. See Wikipedia articles on History of Bose-Einstein statistics and Ultraviolet ...
Alexandre Eremenko's user avatar
1 vote

When did the name “Boltzmann constant” prevail, and how?

Community-wiki timeline (continued, 1917–): After 1920, a vast majority of papers call $k$ Boltzmann’s constant. So (with few exceptions) mention is only made of sources calling it another name, plus ...

Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible