Luwig Boltzmann - Physics, Music, Philosophy and Death

Ludwig Edward Boltzmann was born on February 20, 1844 in the Landstrasse district of Vienna, began studying physics at the University of Vienna in 1863 and received his doctorate in 1866. At the age of 25, Boltzmann became a professor of mathematical physics at the University. studied Graz and then returned to Vienna University in 1873. In 1876, Boltzmann married Henriette von Aigentler, a beautiful woman with long hair and blue eyes from Graz. During his 14 happy days in Graz, Boltzmann developed his ideas about the statistical concept of nature.

In 1885 Boltzmann became a member of the Royal Academy of Sciences, and in 1877 was rector of the University of Graz. Boltzmann was also invited to head the Munich Department of Theoretical Physics in 1890. After returning to the University of Vienna in 1894, Boltzmann found it difficult to find such a good group of friends and colleagues as in Munich. Unable to stay with Ernst Mach (1838-1916), especially after Mach became a professor of philosophy and history of science at the University of Vienna in 1895, he decided to go to Leipzig again and teach theoretical physics at there. After Mach retired, Boltzmann returned to Vienna in the autumn of 1902.

In addition to physics, Boltzmann also began teaching philosophy in 1903. As the dean of natural philosophy, he taught a series of lectures titled "Universal Methods and Theory of Science." Nature "replaces Mach's previous series of lectures called" History and Theory of Inductive Science ". At that time, the Boltzmann lectures on natural philosophy were very well known and attracted a great deal of attention. Even the first lecture has had great success. Although the largest hall was used for the lecture, attendees still stood packed with walkways and stairs. Students, assistants, professors and even ladies came. All the press reported on this event. Emperor Franz Joseph told Boltzmann that he was very happy about Boltzmann's return.

Protect atomic theory

At the end of the 19th century, Boltzmann was the person most credited with defending atomic theory. At that time, many scientists regarded atoms and molecules as metaphors - a useful fiction used to explain phenomena mathematically. But Boltzmann believes that Maxwell's statistical equations have described a real world of molecules and atoms. He studied the gases and their properties. He knew that the amount of gas that could be compressed would be explained if it was composed of so many very small entities. Boltzmann cannot see atoms but he can measure their properties.

Luwig Boltzmann (1844-1906)


His methods are based on statistics and measurement, which led him to "kinetic theory" about gases - an important foundation of thermodynamics. Boltzmann showed that the movement of molecules and atoms produces heat. He also found the law of velocity distribution of gas molecules. Boltzmann's discoveries built the basis of statistical physics, but few people realized their importance in his day.

Bridging for modern physics

Boltzmann was a classical physicist, but he had a tremendous influence on the formation of modern fields of physics. His theory of aerodynamics was the first prototype of statistical mechanics with significant applications to this day. Boltzmann equations are key ideas for unbalanced thermodynamics and reversible processes. They have become very important issues of modern physics as well as a great concern of philosophy. Boltzmann also contributed greatly to the construction and protection of the second law of thermodynamics, developing the definition of entropy from a purely statistical point of view and demolishing the concept of cosmic thermal death. Max Planck wrote: "Of all the physicists of the time, Boltzmann was the one who understood the most profound meaning of entropy."

In fact, in addition to Planck, there is also a man who has the first to propose ideas for quantum theory, which is Boltzmann. In Boltzmann's works in 1872 (28 years before Planck), he first divided the energy of a system into very small discontinuities. However, he only perceived this "quantization" as a mathematical trick that allowed the use of equations in probability calculations. Energy quanta no longer appear in the final equations, but one thing is for certain that Boltzmann himself made way for quantum theory.

Against Schopenhauer

In a lecture to the Vienna Philosophical Society on January 21, 1905, Boltzmann criticized all of Schopenhauer's philosophy. He wrote: "Schopenhauer's entire system does not have complete analysis but only fleeting thoughts on a topic." Boltzmann actually tried to show that the problem with Schopenhauer's philosophy was that the metaphysical basis of his thinking led to his deviation and all his beliefs. . One noteworthy point is that Boltzmann talked about the contradiction in Schopenhauer's definition of space and time. He emphasized Schopenhauer's carelessness in using "a priori". Boltzmann denies Schopenhauer's "a priori" that space can only be three dimensions by asserting that a space with more than three dimensions is completely understandable, even if it can be non-Euclidean. .

Boltzmann also details Schopenhauer's pointless attempt to apply his hypothesis to various arts. He explained that even Schopenhauer's categorization of the various arts did not include any possible art. Schopenhauer sees music as a direct representation of the will to the point where it is no longer an object. On the contrary, all other arts also exhibit willpower but are only indirect and regarded as a specific form of music.

The separation between Schopenhauer's music and other arts is thus a result of an unrealistic view, resulting in funny consequences as well as serious contradictions. According to Schopenhauer, music is a mirror that reflects the whole world, and the world is an expression of universal will and other music, obtained in different ways and independently of the sound. original music. As such, music can continue to exist if the world does not exist. This means that even in cases where there is no violin, no sound transmitting air, no ears or no cognitive mind, music still exists!

A person of science, art and beauty

Music and art played an important role in Boltzmann's life. He was an excellent pianist and studied music with Anton Bruckner, the famous 19th-century symphony composer Boltzmann once pointed out that Schopenhauer's work - sorting art to read out their rules are just a ridiculous, silly and ridiculous trick.

Boltzmann's admiration for art and beauty can be seen from what he wrote: "I once laughed out loud when I read that an artist spent days and nights searching for a single color I don't cry about it anymore, I cried when I saw the color of the sea; I didn't know why I cried for just one color. The light of the sea in a dark night, if there is something we admire more than the beauty of nature, it is the art of man ... The greatest wonder of nature is the mind of mankind! "

Boltzmann is an excellent teacher and is very kind to his students. One of his famous students, Lise Meitner wrote: "He has a pure, pure heart and a kind heart. His relationship with the students is very humane. He often plays The piano tells us and this talented pianist also tells us about his life stories. "

Boltzmann still has good relations with his rivals, although he has many fierce conflicts with them on philosophical and scientific views. Boltzmann and Wilhelm Ostwald (1853-1932) were often against each other in philosophy and science but personally they were still good friends. Boltzmann, for example, once went to Leipzig because of an invitation from Ostwald. Boltzmann was greatly annoyed by Mach's ideology, even leaving his beloved Vienna in 1900 just because of Mach's existence here. But in fact, these two people still behave very politely and respect each other. In fact, one of the important reasons Boltzmann criticized Schopenhauer so strongly was that Schopenhauer used rude words against other philosophers. Boltzmann said that for a great scholar it is impossible to use those words.

But Boltzmann's friend often finds in him characteristics like a child, innocence, simplicity and holiness. Ostwald once called Boltzmann a "stranger in this world." The reason why people call him a good child is because he unconditionally protects and adheres to traditions and conventions, that is, to approach problems in science and in life in an open way. . His achievements have shown that, even in daily life he is well aware of his goals, but his actions are often unusual compared to others. For example, it is said that, after buying a cow for a suburban house, he went to ask a friend of his, a zoology professor to advise him on how to get milk.

Boltzmann's ability to work is truly amazing. He used to be a professor of mathematics, mathematical physics, theoretical physics and experimental physics. He lectures on a wide range of fields such as mechanics, heat theory, elasticity, mathematical theory for acoustics, capillaries, methods of calculation, differential and integral calculus, number theory, special topics. in particular, advanced analytics, analytic geometry, function theory, analytic mechanics, gas theory, the theory of electricity and magnetism, thermodynamics and principles in natural philosophy.

The famous theoretical physicist HA Lorentz greatly admires Boltzmann and wrote about him as follows: "You are a wise physicist, his words brought him closer to our hearts ... In Here, he shared with us the joys and the worries, he led us through the logical scientific view of Nature. "

"Spiritual energy" and God

In philosophical argument, Boltzmann once analyzed the physical and mental energies. He said that it is impossible to consider these two types of energy in the same world. "In natural science, energy is a measurable quantity with appropriate units and always maintains its value so that if it is annihilated here and then there will be an equal amount. So if you want to build a concept of mental energy equivalent to physical energy, you have to prove that mental energy is also measured in units like physical energy and its amount is born, the amount of physical energy that is exactly the same amount will have to be lost, but proving this claim is impossible, because it's completely wrong. The mental image and physical processes of the brain generate the ability that all energy is d Constant constant in its physical form within the brain mass.All mental processes are only equivalent side phenomena and perhaps only a second picture of the physical processes. from a different perspective, that certainly doesn't contain any new energy of any physical significance. "

According to Boltzmann, it is not true to spread the so-called theory of mental energy in physical science. "Physical energy and what I call mental energy are two completely different things, called by the same name just because there is a superficial analogy. I think it's wrong when people say it. cannot distinguish concepts of energy theory in mechanics, chemistry with mental phenomena such as fun and the like. "

Boltzmann's philosophy is considered to be realism (materialis) on his stone tomb engraved with the equation entropy S = k log W (Photo: m). He wrote: "Certainly, only a madman denies the existence of God. But this is equivalent to the case that, all our ideas about God are mere conjectures. (anthropomorphism) is not based on the formal scientific methodology, so that way, the things we imagine about God will not exist. If one person believes that God exists and another does not believing that God exists, maybe both of you think the same thoughts without even doubting it. We are not asked if God exists unless we can imagine anything. that is what we mean by that in which way we can get closer to the highest concept that can cover everything. "


In the last years of his life, Boltzmann's health seriously deteriorated. He was often involved in his tiring debates. His eyesight deteriorated to the point that he had to hire a reader for scientific papers for him. His wife also had to write the works for him. In addition to suffering from night-to-day asthma, he has a severe headache due to working too much. Boltzmann, however, never focused on health, sacrificing it for his hard work.

Luwig Boltzmann, one of the greatest minds of all nations and all eras on September 5, 1906. Many famous scientists of the time attended his funeral with respect and mourning. Boltzmann's death was even more sad because in his own life, he once said that he did not want to die because death would prevent him from witnessing the remarkable development of science. Boltzmann is buried in the central cemetery of Vienna. On his stone tomb is the entropy S = k log W. This equation is Boltzmann's greatest scientific achievement. It has been, and will remain, imprinted in stone through dust for centuries and has become one of the most classic and valuable equations in the history of science.

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