Ludwig Boltzmann

Author: Carlo Cercignani
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 0191606987
Size: 65.50 MB
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This book presents the life and personality, the scientific and philosophical work of Ludwig Boltzmann, one of the great scientists who marked the passage from 19th- to 20th-Century physics. His rich and tragic life, ending by suicide at the age of 62, is described in detail. A substantial part of the book is devoted to discussing his scientific and philosophical ideas and placing them in the context of the second half of the 19th century. The fact that Boltzmann was the man who did most to establish that there is a microscopic, atomic structure underlying macroscopic bodies is documented, as is Boltzmann's influence on modern physics, especially through the work of Planck on light quanta and of Einstein on Brownian motion. Boltzmann was the centre of a scientific upheaval, and he has been proved right on many crucial issues. He anticipated Kuhn's theory of scientific revolutions and proposed a theory of knowledge based on Darwin. His basic results, when properly understood, can also be stated as mathematical theorems. Some of these have been proved: others are still at the level of likely but unproven conjectures. The main text of this biography is written almost entirely without equations. Mathematical appendices deepen knowledge of some technical aspects of the subject.

Boltzmanns Atom

Author: David Lindley
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 1501142674
Size: 50.82 MB
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In 1900 many eminent scientists did not believe atoms existed, yet within just a few years the atomic century launched into history with an astonishing string of breakthroughs in physics that began with Albert Einstein and continues to this day. Before this explosive growth into the modern age took place, an all-but-forgotten genius strove for forty years to win acceptance for the atomic theory of matter and an altogether new way of doing physics. Ludwig Boltz-mann battled with philosophers, the scientific establishment, and his own potent demons. His victory led the way to the greatest scientific achievements of the twentieth century. Now acclaimed science writer David Lindley portrays the dramatic story of Boltzmann and his embrace of the atom, while providing a window on the civilized world that gave birth to our scientific era. Boltzmann emerges as an endearingly quixotic character, passionately inspired by Beethoven, who muddled through the practical matters of life in a European gilded age. Boltzmann's story reaches from fin de siècle Vienna, across Germany and Britain, to America. As the Habsburg Empire was crumbling, Germany's intellectual might was growing; Edinburgh in Scotland was one of the most intellectually fertile places on earth; and, in America, brilliant independent minds were beginning to draw on the best ideas of the bureaucratized old world. Boltzmann's nemesis in the field of theoretical physics at home in Austria was Ernst Mach, noted today in the term Mach I, the speed of sound. Mach believed physics should address only that which could be directly observed. How could we know that frisky atoms jiggling about corresponded to heat if we couldn't see them? Why should we bother with theories that only told us what would probably happen, rather than making an absolute prediction? Mach and Boltzmann both believed in the power of science, but their approaches to physics could not have been more opposed. Boltzmann sought to explain the real world, and cast aside any philosophical criteria. Mach, along with many nineteenth-century scientists, wanted to construct an empirical edifice of absolute truths that obeyed strict philosophical rules. Boltzmann did not get on well with authority in any form, and he did his best work at arm's length from it. When at the end of his career he engaged with the philosophical authorities in the Viennese academy, the results were personally disastrous and tragic. Yet Boltzmann's enduring legacy lives on in the new physics and technology of our wired world. Lindley's elegant telling of this tale combines the detailed breadth of the best history, the beauty of theoretical physics, and the psychological insight belonging to the finest of novels.

Jo Ef Stefan His Scientific Legacy On The 175th Anniversary Of His Birth

Author: John C. Crepeau
Publisher: Bentham Science Publishers
ISBN: 1608054772
Size: 37.24 MB
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Most scientists and engineers are familiar with the name Josef Stefan primarily from the Stefan-Boltzmann law, which relates the amount of energy transferred by radiation to the absolute temperature raised to the fourth power. Stefan determined this law from experimental data, and it was later theoretically verified by his former student, Ludwig Boltzmann. However, it is interesting to know that this is the same Stefan who lent his name to the solid-liquid phase change problem, and concepts related to molecular diffusion and convective motion driven by surface evaporation or ablation. Stefan counted among his students Sigmund Freud, who was so inspired by his physics instructor that he incorporated scientific methods into psychoanalysis. This invaluable book details not only Josef Stefan’s original contributions in these areas, but the current state-of-the-art of his pioneering work.

How Do You Know

Author: Russell Hardin
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 1400830664
Size: 37.50 MB
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How do ordinary people come to know or believe what they do? We need an account of this process to help explain why people act as they do. You might think I am acting irrationally--against my interest or my purpose--until you realize that what you know and what I know differ significantly. My actions, given my knowledge, might make eminently good sense. Of course, this pushes our problem back one stage to assess why someone knows or believes what they do. That is the focus of this book. Russell Hardin supposes that people are not usually going to act knowingly against their interests or other purposes. To try to understand how they have come to their knowledge or beliefs is therefore to be charitable in assessing their rationality. Hardin insists on such a charitable stance in the effort to understand others and their sometimes objectively perverse actions. Hardin presents an essentially economic account of what an individual can come to know and then applies this account to many areas of ordinary life: political participation, religious beliefs, popular knowledge of science, liberalism, culture, extremism, moral beliefs, and institutional knowledge. All of these can be enlightened by the supposition that people are attempting reasonable actions under the severe constraints of acquiring better knowledge when they face demands that far outstretch their possibilities.

Great Physicists

Author: William H. Cropper
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
ISBN: 9780195173246
Size: 69.14 MB
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Presents profiles of thirty scientists, including Isaac Newton, Michael Faraday, Albert Einstein, Marie Curie, Richard Feynman, and Edwin Hubble.

Critical Mass

Author: Philip Ball
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
ISBN: 1466806834
Size: 13.18 MB
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Are there any "laws of nature" that influence the ways in which humans behave and organize themselves? In the seventeenth century, tired of the civil war ravaging England, Thomas Hobbes decided that he would work out what kind of government was needed for a stable society. His approach was based not on utopian wishful thinking but rather on Galileo's mechanics to construct a theory of government from first principles. His solution is unappealing to today's society, yet Hobbes had sparked a new way of thinking about human behavior in looking for the "scientific" rules of society. Adam Smith, Immanuel Kant, Auguste Comte, and John Stuart Mill pursued this idea from different political perspectives. Little by little, however, social and political philosophy abandoned a "scientific" approach. Today, physics is enjoying a revival in the social, political and economic sciences. Ball shows how much we can understand of human behavior when we cease to try to predict and analyze the behavior of individuals and instead look to the impact of individual decisions-whether in circumstances of cooperation or conflict-can have on our laws, institutions and customs. Lively and compelling, Critical Mass is the first book to bring these new ideas together and to show how they fit within the broader historical context of a rational search for better ways to live.

Photonics Essentials

Author: Thomas Pearsall
Publisher: McGraw Hill Professional
ISBN: 0071501134
Size: 55.32 MB
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SHEDDING LIGHT ON THE SUBJECT This unique new book teaches photonics-- electronic devices that manage light and electricity-- through hands-on measurement techniques common to all photonic devices. Learn these techniques and you can characterize and understand any device and master the field. Lasers, Photodiodes, LEDs, and Photoconductors This practice-based tutorial, perfect for students and engineers looking for practical expertise rather than abstract theory, does more than explain the workings of photonic applications in common devices like lasers and photodetectors. It offers worked examples of measurement and characterization problems faced in everyday encounters with commercial photonic equipment. HANDS-ON PHOTONICS * All experiments can be done with commonly available devices * Experiments enable solid engineering judgment * Develop real-world problem-solving skills * Math for device analysis, not theory * Get characterization basics that apply to all photonics Analyze, characterize, and handle any kind of photonic device using the fundamental measurement techniques in this book.

Chemistry

Author: J. J. Lagowski
Publisher: MacMillan Reference Library
ISBN: 9780028657226
Size: 27.95 MB
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"Although written for the high school student, this concise, readable, and authoritative source presents any science learner with a clear introduction to chemistry. The 480 entries cover all aspects of chemistry and its practical applications. A running glossary explains words as they are encountered in the text, and most entries have accompanying diagrams and photographs."--"Reference that rocks," American Libraries, May 2005.

Science

Author: John Michels
Publisher:
ISBN:
Size: 32.37 MB
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Is Nature Supernatural

Author: Simon L. Altmann
Publisher: Pyr Books
ISBN:
Size: 35.44 MB
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Mathematical truths are often so compelling that some mathematicians, scientists, and philosophers posit a purely nonmaterial realm of eternal truths accessible to the mind alone. Mathematical physicist Simon Altmann carefully criticizes this revival of dualistic philosophy ß la Plato in this highly stimulating book. Has mathematics and physics discovered a new supernatural world, or is this mental cosmos simply an outgrowth of natural evolutionary processes? This is the crucial philosophical issue that Altmann elucidates. Altmann provides a thorough philosophical basis to understand the meaning of natural law, the scientific method, and causality in science. He reviews the classical approach to time, space, and the laws of mechanics, and discusses the implications of relativity theory. Key modern concepts, like randomness, probability, and time's arrow are explained, and the nature of mathematics and G÷del's theorems is discussed in depth. A mystery-free treatment of quantum mechanics, Schr÷dinger's cat, and the famous Bell inequalities follows. He also assesses the reactions of various philosophical schools to these developments - idealism, physicalism, cultural relativism and social constructivism. The book concludes with a fascinating dialogue on science and belief. Educated lay readers will welcome Altmann's engaging and lucid exposition.