Boltzmann's H-theorem, its discontents, and the birth of statistical mechanics

  title={Boltzmann's H-theorem, its discontents, and the birth of statistical mechanics},
  author={H. Brown and Wayne C. Myrvold and J. Uffink},
  journal={Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics},
  • H. Brown, Wayne C. Myrvold, J. Uffink
  • Published 2009
  • Physics
  • Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics
  • A comparison is made of the traditional Loschmidt (reversibility) and Zermelo (recurrence) objections to Boltzmann's H-theorem, and its simplified variant in the Ehrenfests’ 1912 wind-tree model. The little-cited 1896 (measure-theoretic) objection of Zermelo (similar to an 1889 argument due to Poincare) is also analysed. Significant differences between the objections are highlighted, and several old and modern misconceptions concerning both them and the H-theorem are clarified. We give… CONTINUE READING
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