our future: hot, flat, and crowded… celebrating Ludwig Boltzmann’s 165th birthday

Ludwig Boltzmann was one of the most important physicists and philosophers: it is almost impossible for any engineer, chemist or physicist to do a day’s work without using Boltzmann’s tools and results every day. Ludwig Boltzmann is this author’s and Eurotechnology Japan KK’s founder’s great grandfather – and his excellence is our company’s guiding light.

Ludwig Boltzmann was born 165 years ago on February 20, 1844, and last Friday, February 20, 2009 we celebrated by inviting several of Japan’s science and technology leaders to the First Ludwig Boltzmann Symposium in Tokyo with kind cooperation and hospitality by the Ambassador of Austria and the Austrian Embassy.

First speaker was Professor Hisashi Kobayashi, Founder of the IBM Tokyo Laboratory, former Dean of Engineering of Princeton University. He showed how Entropy and noise in communications is linked to Boltzmann’s generalized Entropy and the H-Theorem. Coming from Princeton, Hisashi also showed us elegantly how strongly Einstein’s work is linked to Boltzmann’s.

Professor Kiyoshi Kurokawa, former Dean of Medicine of Tokai University, former President of Japan’s Science Council and Advisor to two Japanese Prime Ministers and now Professor at Japan’s new Political Science University, gave an intense and passionate speech about which changes are necessary to live in our future which will be hot (as in global warming), flat (as in global communications and internet) and crowded (due do population growth). Kiyoshi also made a passionate appeal to Japanese organisations (including the S&T leaders participating at our Symposium) to change, open up and compete globally.

Kazu Ishikawa of Exa Japan gave a fantastic demonstration how Boltzmann’s equations are used to simulate airflow for the construction of cars, airplanes, jet engines … Boltzmann’s equations replace the macroscopic Navier-Stokes equations as numerical wind tunnels. Boltzmann’s equations are particularly needed for the simulation of transients.

Finally, Gerhard Fasol, Ludwig Boltzmann’s Great-Grandson, gave two talks: one talk about Ludwig Boltzmann’s scientific achievements, his search for understanding the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics with mechanics, the effects of collisions and the generalization to non-equilibrium – leading the H-Theorem, and the generalization of Entropy and Boltzmann’s philosophical work. The second talk introduced the human side of Ludwig Boltzmann: his life and his passions.

Photo: Hisashi Kobayashi shows why Boltzmann’s work is important for telecommunications, and how Einstein’s work is linked to Boltzmann’s. Her Excellency, the Austrian Ambassador follows closely:

Hisashi Kobayashi at the Ludwig Boltzmann Symposium - the Ambassador of Austria listens
Hisashi Kobayashi at the Ludwig Boltzmann Symposium – the Ambassador of Austria listens

Photo: Hot, flat and crowded. In a passionate speech, former science and tech advisor of two Japanese Prime-Ministers, Kiyoshi Kurokawa talks about the future, and how to be prepared to compete:

Kiyoshi Kurokawa
Kiyoshi Kurokawa: Hot, flat and crowded

Photo: The Austrian Ambassador invited the participants of the Ludwig Boltzmann Symposium to the Austrian Residence:

Reception by the Ambassador of Austria
Reception by the Ambassador of Austria

More photos and a more detailed report here

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  • Gerhard,
    Some of your readers may be interested in the book by Thomas Friedman that launched the phrase “hot, flat and crowded.”

    Although written for an American audience primarily, it is a call to action for the global community. Here is a link to info on the book at Friedman’s site:


    Thanks for all your great information.