Ludwig Boltzmann 100 years

On 5 September 1906 Ludwig Boltzmann died in Duano, Italy

Ludwig Boltzmann: 20 February 1844 – 5 September 1906

Ludwig Boltzmann (20 February 1844 – 5 September 1906) is our company’s founder’s great grandfather – and one of our company’s great inspiration. We are working hard to continue his tradition of innovation and excellence and diligent work.

Ludwig Boltzmann died exactly 100 years ago today, on September 5, 1906.

On the 170th Anniversary day of Ludwig Boltzmann’s birth, on February 20, 2014, a ceremony was held at the “Ples” Building (Duino no. 76), the building in which Boltzmann passed away on September 5, 1906, to unveil a commemorative plate. See details of the ceremony here.

Ludwig Boltzmann worked in many different areas and found the first explanations for many phenomena. He did not just create one single invention, but he created very many.

Boltzmann is best known for his work in gas theory: using complex mathematical tools, many of which he had developed himself, Boltbmann linked the macroscopic “Entropy” of gases with the microscopic forces between atoms and molecules in gases. “Entropy” was initially just a useful macroscopic concept similar to temperature and pressure of a gas developed during the early days of industrialization in England to optimize steam engines. Boltzmann showed that Entropy is a much much deeper fundamental concept, and showed how Entropy is related to the collissions between atoms and molecules in a gas and that Entropy expresses the probability that a body is found in a certain state.

In Boltzmann’s days, it was not generally accepted that atoms and molecules exist. Actually, in Vienna in those days, in order to survive socially, Boltzmann had to use very careful words: he usually did not say directly that he is convinced that atoms and molecules exist: he said that they are just a useful concept, whether they exist or not.

Ludwig Boltzmann was the last great classical physicist. He knew of several unexplained puzzles: Brown’s motion, the discrete spectra of atoms, curvature of space, but he could not explain them with the classical methods he mastered. Today Boltzmann’s methods, the Boltzmann constant, the Boltzmann Equation and much of his work is used every day in telecoms, information technology, electronics, chemical industry and many other areas.

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