Ludwig Boltzmann

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Ludwig Boltzmann

Ludwig Eduard Boltzmann (February 20, 1844September 5, 1906) was an Austrian physicist and philosopher famous for his founding contributions in the fields of statistical mechanics and statistical thermodynamics. He was one of the most important advocates for atomic theory which was still highly controversial.


  • Who sees the future? Let us have free scope for all directions of research; away with dogmatism, either atomistic or anti-atomistic!
    • "Lectures on Gas Theory", translated by Stephen George Brush (1971), p. 26
  • In my view all salvation for philosophy may be expected to come from Darwin's theory
    • "Theoretical Physics and Philosophical Problems, Selected Writings", Ludwig Boltzmann, ed. B. McGuinness, 1974, p. 193


  • Philosophy gets on my nerves. If we analyze the ultimate ground of everything, then everything finally falls into nothingness. But I have decided to resume my lectures again and look the Hydra of doubt straight into the eye, and it be quite ominous if one values one's life.
    • "Into the Cool: Energy Flow, Thermodynamics and Life", Eric D. Schneider and Dorion Sagan, 2005, p. 323
  • Eleganz sei die Sache der Schuster und Schneider
    • Elegance should be left to shoemakers and tailors
      • reported by Arnold Berliner, Curt Thesing (1946). Die Naturwissenschaften. Springer-Verlag. p. 36. 
      • also reported by Albert Einstein, translation by Robert W. Lawson (1921). Relativity. Plain Label Books. p. preface. ISBN 1-603-03164-2. 
  • O! immodest mortal! Your destiny is the joy of watching the evershifting battle!
  • Available energy is the main object at stake in the struggle for existence and the evolution of the world.
    • S. Rajasekar, N.Athavan, "Ludwig Edward Boltzmann"
  • Which is more remarkable fact about America: that millionaires are idealists or idealists become millionaires.
    • S. Rajasekar, N.Athavan, "Ludwig Edward Boltzmann"
  • Bring forward what is true, Write it so that it is clear, Defend it to your last breath!
    • S. Rajasekar, N.Athavan, "Ludwig Edward Boltzmann"
  • I am conscious of being only an individual struggling weakly against the stream of time. But it still remains in my power to contribute in such a way that, when the theory of gases is again revived, not too much will have to be rediscovered.
    • S. Rajasekar, N.Athavan, "Ludwig Edward Boltzmann"
  • The most ordinary things are to philosophy a source of insoluble puzzles. With infinite ingenuity it constructs a concept of space or time and then finds it absolutely impossible that there be objects in this space or that processes occur during this time.... the source of this kind of logic lies in excessive confidence in the so-called laws of thought.
    • S. Rajasekar, N.Athavan, "Ludwig Edward Boltzmann"

Quotes about Boltzmann[edit]

  • The influence of Quetelet's ideas spread throughout the sciences, even to the physical sciences. The two primary founders of the modern kinetic theory of gases, based on considerations of probability, were James Clerk Maxwell and Ludwig Boltzmann. Both acknowledged their debt to Quetelet. ...historians generally consider the influence of the natural sciences on the social sciences, whereas in the case of Maxwell and Boltzmann, there is an influence of the social sciences on the natural sciences, as Theodore Porter has shown.
    • I. Bernard Cohen, The Triumph of Numbers: How Counting Shaped Modern Life (2005)
  • Boltzmann... felt that all that we were really doing when we stated physical laws was using a series of linguistic representations of reality. To relate force and mass, as Newton had done in his laws of motion, was to relate labels in such a way that we could use the relations for predictive purposes. To read anything more into the terms force and mass was to presume more than we can know.
    • Brian L. Silver, The Ascent of Science (1998)

External links[edit]

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