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Boltzmanns Atom: The Great Debate That Launched a Revolution in Physics
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Boltzmanns Atom: The Great Debate That Launched a Revolution in Physics

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  64 Ratings  ·  5 Reviews
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 ...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published January 18th 2001 by Free Press
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Arvind Balasundaram
Jan 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is a well-written biography of the tragic life of the brilliant scientist, Ludwig Boltzmann. Lindley paints a very intimate portrait of the scientist from within, rather than without, providing the reader with a close-up view of the peaks and ebbs of Boltzmann's checkered career and personal life.

The author provides a cogent review of Boltzmann's contributions to thermodynamics, especially the development of kinetic theory. Most significantly, Boltzmann introduced a probabilistic interpret
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Roy White
Jul 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
Strange to see how persistent the opposition to atomic theory was, and how people like Mach turned into a sort of philosophy, not allowing physics to talk about anything that could not be dobserved directly. Also interesting how hard it was to assimilate the use of statistics to understand the behavior of large numbers of atoms. It's always worth being reminded how the most obvious ideas once seemed threatening.
George Dimitrov
Mar 24, 2016 rated it liked it
Good introduction of a time when 'atom' was a questionable entity, scientists were larger than life, Europe was at peace. It was nice to learn some personal information about people who's names we now associate only with constants, theories and scientific units.
dejah_thoris
Jul 21, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: history, non-fiction
I think I liked Uncertainty more but I felt like I had to read this one because he refers to it so often in his later book. Again it's interesting to see how scientists' personalities influence their research but I found this one a little drier than his other book.
M
Aug 10, 2013 added it
Too much biography, not enough science. In fact, hardly any science. "Atom" is prominent in the title but very little in this book about what he did or discovered or why it was important.
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