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Top-down vs bottom-up innovation: Japan’s R&D leaders at the 8th Ludwig Boltzmann Forum

How to fast-track innovation in Japan

Shuji Nakamura’s invention of high efficiency LEDs enable us to reduce global energy consumption by an amount corresponding to 60 nuclear power stations by 2020, for which he was awarded the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics.

Still, a poster child for bottom-up innovation, Shuji Nakamura was sued by his employer, left for the USA, and is now building a company in Silicon Valley which might soon become bigger than his former Japanese employer.

Why does Shuji Nakamura’s bottom-up innovation not fit into top-down innovation narratives?

Why does Shuji Nakamura’s bottom-up innovation not fit into top-down innovation narratives? Would Japan be a better and faster growing place with a better balance between bottom-up and top-down innovation? Does top-down innovation work at all?

Shuji Nakamura came specially from the USA to address many of Japan’s science and technology R&D leaders at the 8th Ludwig Boltzmann Forum, and explain why it makes no sense to try squeezing his bottom-up inventions into a top-down narrative and why its better to overcome established top-down narratives.

Read how Shuji Nakamura tries to help Japan’s leaders to overcome top-down-only narratives, and understand what bottom-up innovation means.

The 8th Ludwig Boltzmann Forum brought together Nobel Prize Winner Shuji Nakamura, the leaders of Japan’s two major research and technology R&D funding organizations, Professor Nomura, who is working to overcome gender inequality for Japan’s (too few) medical doctors, and several of Japan’s technology leaders to discuss how to accelerate innovation in Japan.

Her Imperial Highness, Princess Takamado honored us by taking a very active part, and asking thoughtful questions to Nobel Winner Shuji Nakamura and other speakers.

Read and join the discussions with Japan’s R&D leaders’ talks held at the 8th Ludwig Boltzmann Forum.
[in Japanese 日本語]

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Japan's energy sector Leadership Ludwig Boltzmann Symposia

Ludwig Boltzmann – Energy, Entropy, Leadership by Gerhard Fasol (6th Ludwig Boltzmann Symposium)

Ludwig Boltzmann as leader

(Gerhard Fasol, CEO of Eurotechnology Japan KK. Served as Associate Professor of Tokyo University, Lecturer at Cambridge University, and Manger of Hitachi Cambridge R&D Lab.)

Keynote presented at the 6th Ludwig Boltzmann Symposium on February 20, 2014 at the Embassy of Austria in Tokyo.

Ludwig Boltzmann, the scientist

Ludwig Boltzmann’s greatest contribution to science is that he linked the macroscopic definition of Entropy which came from optimizing steam engines at the source of the first industrial revolution to the microscopic motion of atoms or molecules in gases, this achievement is summarized by the equation S = k log W, linking entropy S with the probability W. k is the Boltzmann constant, one of the most important constants in nature, linked directly to temperature in the SI system of physical units. This monumental work is maybe Boltzmann’s most important creation but by far not the only one. He discovered many laws, and created many mathematical tools, for example Boltzmann’s Equations, which are used today as tools for numerical simulations of gas flow for the construction of jet engines, airplanes, automobiles, in semiconductor physics, information technology and many other areas. Although independently discovered, Shannon’s theory of noise in communication networks, and Shannon’s entropy in IT is also directly related to Boltzmann’s entropy work.

Ludwig Boltzmann, the leader

Ludwig Boltzmann was not only a monumental scientist, but also an exceptional leader, teacher, educator and promoter of exceptional talent, and he promoted many women.

One of the women Ludwig Boltzmann promoted was Henriette von Aigentler, who was refused permission to unofficially audit lectures at Graz University. Ludwig Boltzmann advised and helped her to appeal this decision, in 1874, Henriette von Aigentler passed her exams as a high-school teacher, and on July 17, 1876, Ludwig Boltzmann married Henriette von Aigentler, my great-grand mother.

Another woman Ludwig Boltzmann promoted was his student Lise Meitner (Nov 1878 – Oct 27, 1968), who later was part of the team that discovered nuclear fission, work for which Otto Hahn was awarded the Nobel Prize. Lise Meitner was also the second woman to earn a Doctorate degree in Physics from the University of Vienna. Element 109, Meitnerium, is named after Lise Meitner.

Nagaoka Hantaro, First President of the University of Osaka – Ludwig Boltzmann’s pupil

The first President of Osaka University (1931-1934), Nagaoka Hantaro (1865 – 1950) was Ludwig Boltzmann’s pupil around 1892 – 1893 at Muenchen University.

Ludwig Boltzmann, a leader of science

Ludwig Boltzmann was connected in intense discussions with all major scientists of his time, he travelled extensively including three trips to the USA in 1899, 1904 and 1905, about which he wrote the article “Die Reise eines deutschen Professors ins El Dorado”, published in the book “Populäre Schriften”.

Ludwig Boltzmann published his first scientific publication at the age of 21 years in 1865. He was appointed Full Professor of Mathematical Physics at the University of Graz in 1869 at the age of 25 years, later in 1887-1888 he was Rektor (President) of the University of Graz at the age of 43 years.

He spent periods of his professional work in Vienna, at Graz University (1869-1873 and 1876-1890), at Muenchen University (1890-1894). When working at Muenchen University, he discovered that neither he nor his family would not receive any pension from his employment at Muenchen University after an eventual retirement or in case he dies before retirement, and therefore decided to return to Vienna University in 1894, where he and his family were assured of an appropriate pension. During 1900-1902 he spent two years working in Leipzig, where he cooperated with the Nobel Prize winner Friedrich Wilhelm Ostwald.

Ludwig Boltzmann did not shy away from forceful arguments to argue for his thoughts and conclusions, even if his conclusions were opposite to the views of established colleagues, or when he felt that philosophers intruded into the field of physics, i.e. used methods of philosophy to attempt solving questions which needed to be solved with physics measurements, e.g. to determine whether our space is curved or not. Later in his life he was therefore also appointed to a parallel Chair in Philosophy of Science, and Ludwig Boltzmann’s work in Philosophy of Science is also very fundamentally important.

I discovered the unpublished manuscripts of Boltzmann’s lectures on the Philosophy of Science, stimulated and encouraged by myself, and with painstaking work my mother transcribed these and other unpublished manuscripts, and prepared them for publication, to make these works finally accessible to the world, many years after Ludwig Boltzmann’s death.

Ludwig Boltzmann was a down to earth man. He rejected the offer of Nobility by His Majesty, The Emperor of Austria, i.e. the privilege to be named Ludwig von Boltzmann (or a higher title) instead of commoner Ludwig Boltzmann. Ludwig Boltzmann said: “if our common name was good enough for my parents and ancestors, it will be good enough for my children and grand children…”

Summary: understanding Ludwig Boltzmann.

Boltzmann’s thoughts and ideas are a big part of our understanding of the world and the universe.

His mathematical tools are used every day by today’s engineers, bankers, IT people, physicists, chemists… and even may contribute to solve the world’s energy problems.

Ludwig Boltzmann stood up for his ideas and conclusions and did not give in to authority. He rejected authority for authority’s sake, and strongly pushed his convictions forward.

What can we learn from Ludwig Boltzmann?

  • empower young people, recognize and support talent early.
  • exceptional talent is not linear but exponential.
  • move around the world. Connect. Interact.
  • empower women.
  • don’t accept authority for authority’s sake.
  • science/physics/nature need to be treated with the methods of physics/science.
  • no dogmas.
  • support entrepreneurs, Ludwig Boltzmann did.
Gerhard Fasol
Gerhard Fasol

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Ludwig Boltzmann Symposia

Energy – 5th Ludwig Boltzmann Symposium, Tokyo, Feb 20, 2013

Energy

5th Ludwig Boltzmann Symposium – speakers: Robert Geller, Gerhard Fasol, Kiyoshi Kurokawa, Shuji Nakamura

Wednesday, 20th February 2013, Embassy of Austria, Tokyo

  • 14:00 Welcome by Dr. Bernhard Zimburg, Ambassador of Austria to Japan
  • 14:10 Gerhard Fasol, “today’s agenda”
  • 14:20 – 14:40 Robert Geller
    Professor of Geophysics University of Tokyo, seismologist. First ever tenured non-Japanese faculty member at the University of Tokyo
    “A seismologist looks at nuclear power plant safety issues”
  • 14:40 – 15:20 Gerhard Fasol
    Physicist. CEO of Eurotechnology Japan KK, served as Assoc Professor at Tokyo University and Lecturer at Cambridge University and Manager of Hitachi Cambridge R&D lab
    “Ludwig Boltzmann – the disrespectful revolutionary”
  • 15:40 – 16:20 Kiyoshi Kurokawa
    Academic Fellow of GRIPS and former Chairman of Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission by National Diet of Japan
    “Creativity, Crazy Ones and Power of Pull”
  • 16:40 – 17:20 Shuji Nakamura
    Professor, University of California, Santa Barbara. Inventor of GaN LEDs and lasers, which are the basis for the global LED lighting revolution.
    “The global lighting revolution and the changes I want for Japan”
  • 17:20 – 17:30 Gerhard Fasol “Summary”
  • Followed by reception (private, invitation only)

Registration: latest 10 February 2013 (by invitation only)

Further information:

Peter Storer, Minister for Cultural Affairs, Embassy of Austria

Summary by Gerhard Fasol

Robert Geller: “A seismologist looks at nuclear power plant safety issues”

Robert Geller gave an overview of large scale earthquakes and tsunamis in different regions of earth, and in history, and explained that large “Tohoku-2011” scale earth quakes and tsunamis do have a finite probability of striking Japan, and need to be taken in to account in the construction of structures such as nuclear power plants. Robert Geller in particular explained and emphasized the risks on the northern coast of Japan, facing the Sea of Japan.

Gerhard Fasol: “Ludwig Boltzmann – the disrespectful revolutionary”

Gerhard Fasol reviewed Ludwig Boltzmann’s life and work, and particular Boltzmann’s efforts to promote open discussion and to destroy dogmatic views, most importantly the rejection of atoms by Oswald’s school of “energetics” and Mach. Ludwig Boltzmann’s work is fundamental in many areas of today’s physics, technology, IT, energy and in many other fields. As a demonstration of Ludwig Boltzmann’s work linking the macrosopic face of Entropy with the statistical properties of atoms and molecules, Gerhard Fasol explained today’s state of development of electrical power production from the entry of mixing of water with different concentrations of salts, from salinity gradients. “Osmotic powerplants”, which are directly based on Boltzmann’s work on the Entropy of mixing, have the potential to be developed into a very important contribution to our future renewable energy mix, although much research still remains to be done, especially in the area of semipermeable membranes.

Kiyoshi Kurokawa: “Creativity, Crazy Ones and Power of Pull – Uncertain Times: Changing Principles”

Kiyoshi Kurokawa laid out the rapid and dramatic changes we are currently facing in our world: the development of the global information revolution, revolutions towards democracy in the arab world, the Sept-11 terror attacks, and the triple disaster in Tohoku in March 2011. As short summary of the information revolution, linked with other major developments of global impact:

web 1.0: 1991-2000 – end of cold war, world wide web, globalization and financial crises: 1990, 1992, 1997

web 2.0: 2001-2010 – 9.11, digital age, wireless, touch panel, growth of emerging economies, BRICs, global financial crisis 2007, and President Barak Obama

web 3.0: 2011- – Arab Spring, and March-11 Tohoku disaster

Paradigm shift of The Principles (Joi Ito, MIT Media Lab, and Kiyoshi Kurokawa, GRIPS):

The principles 1:
RESILIENCE instead of strength
RISK instead of safety
SYSTEMS instead of objects

The principles 2:
COMPASSES instead of maps
PULL instead of push
PRACTICE instead of theory

The principles 3:
DISOBEDIENCE instead of compliance
CROWDS instead of experts
LEARNING instead of education

For his work as former Chairman of Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission by National Diet of Japan, Kiyoshi Kurokawa was recently awarded the “Scientific Freedom and Responsibility Award” by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Kiyoshi Kurokawa paid particular attention for the deliberations and fact finding by the Independent Investigation Commission was open and transparent, and published globally in Japanese and in English in many different forms. The report itself can be downloaded here: http://warp.da.ndl.go.jp/info:ndljp/pid/3856371/naiic.go.jp/index.html

Kiyoshi Kurokawa emphasised the contribution of “Regulatory Capture” to the Fukushima nuclear disaster. Important work on “Regulatory Capture” was done by US economist George Stigler, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1982. Kiyoshi Kurokawa emphasized that Regulatory Capture is not specific to Japan, there are many examples throughout the world.

Shuji Nakamura: “The global lighting revolution and the changes I want for Japan”

Shuji Nakamura briefly outlined his inventions of a long series of GaN based devices, GaN LEDs and lasers, which are the basis for the global lighting revolution, and for bluray storage technology. Shuji Nakamura gave us a passionate personal view of his work as a researcher, how he created and experienced the breakthroughs, and some consequences on his personal life. Shuji Nakamura explained how he was accused in a US court by his former employer, and how as a consequence in order to defend himself and his family, he saw himself forced to countersue his former employer in Japanese courts. Shuji Nakamura compared his situation as a researcher in Japan, and now in Santa Barbara, and made some suggestions for change for the position of researchers.

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Japan's energy sector Ludwig Boltzmann Symposia

4th Ludwig Boltzmann Symposium Tokyo (Feb 20, 2012, Embassy of Austria)

Energy

4th Ludwig Boltzmann Symposium on Energy in Tokyo. Speakers: Tatsuo Masuda, Kiyoshi Kurokawa, Hideaki Watanabe, Robert Geller, Gerhard Fasol, Jonathan Dorfan

  • on Monday, 20th February 2012
  • 14:00 Welcome by Thomas Loidl, Chargé d’affaires ad interim of the Austrian Embassy
  • 14:10 Gerhard Fasol: today’s agenda”
  • 14:20 – 14:40 Tatsuo Masuda
    Professor at Nagoya University of Commerce and Business, served as Director of Oil Markets and Emergency Preparedness of IEA
    “New energy architecture for Japan”
  • 14:40 – 15:20 Kiyoshi Kurokawa (schedule permitting)
    Chairman of Japan’s Parliamentary Commission on the Fukushima Disaster, served as Special Cabinet Advisor on Science, Technology and Innovation
    “Fukushima crisis fueling the third opening of Japan”
  • 15:50 – 16:10 Hideaki Watanabe
    Corporate Vice-President, Nissan Motor Company, in charge of Electric Vehicles and Zero Emission Business
    “The new energy management supported by Electric Vehicles”
  • 16:10 – 16:30 Robert Geller
    Professor of Geophysics University of Tokyo, seismologist. First ever tenured non-Japanese faculty member at the University of Tokyo
    “Understanding earthquakes: let’s put the physics back into geophysics!”
  • 16:50 – 17:30 Gerhard Fasol
    Physicist. CEO of Eurotechnology Japan KK, served as Assoc Professor at Tokyo University and Lecturer at Cambridge University and Manager of Hitachi Cambridge R&D lab
    “Ludwig Boltzmann and the laws governing energy”
  • 17:30 – 17:50 Jonathan M Dorfan
    Particle physicist
    President, Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University, OIST. Served as Director of the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center
    “New Solutions for Energy – OIST’s R&am;D Program”
  • Followed by reception (private, invitation only)

Registration: latest 15 February 2011
Further information:

Peter Storer, Minister for Cultural Affairs, Embassy of Austria

Summary

Tatsuo Masuda: “New energy architecture for Japan”

Tatsuo Masuda described how Japan’s energy strategy and policy was until recently determined more or less behind closed doors by a group of about 100 insiders, of which Tatsuo Masuda has been one. This situation could continue as long as nothing went wrong.

Atomic energy was introduced to Japan via the USA, and instead of growing nuclear technology over an extended period of time within Japan, policians decided on a very short time schedule, which made it impossible to develop nuclear technology within Japan, and left purchase of ready-made nuclear power-plants and adoption of nuclear power technology from the USA as the only option.

Tatsuo Masuda predicts the “democratization” of electrical power generation in Japan. While at present almost all electrical power in Japan is produced by regional monopoly companies, in the future a development is likely, where many organizations, corporations, and private citizens will take part, or even may take over the main task or producing electrical energy in Japan.

Hideaki Watanabe: “The new energy management supported by Electric Vehicles”

Hideki Watanabe explained Nissan’s Leaf electrical vehicle program, and the associated energy technologies and businesses. During the coffee break, participants studied a Lead car, and an animated discussion took place about advantages and disadvantages of electrical cars, and in particular the Lead with respect to cold weather performance and other extreme conditions

Mr Watanabe explained that the Leaf electric car is the center of an energy management system, where the battery of Leaf electric car is an integral part of the energy management of the owner’s household.

Robert Geller: “Understanding earthquakes: let’s put the physics back into geophysics!”

Robert Geller calls for an return to the principles of physics in understanding earth quakes and in preparing for future disasters, instead of following positions based on political or funding priorities.

Robert Geller for a long time has been arguing for the view, that the timing, location and strength of earthquakes cannot be predicted due to fundamental principles of physics, and the nature of the earth. Robert demonstrated his arguments by bending a pencil in front of us (see photos below). While the stress distribution and other details can be calculated with precision, it is not possible to predict the time and the way the pencil breaks with accuracy. Robert argues that in a similar way, earth quakes can also not be predicted, because earth quakes are essentially in the mathematical sense chaotic phenomena.

Robert explained how a group of earth scientists years ago promised that they could predict earth quakes with the purpose of obtaining politically motivated funding for their research. They were successful in obtaining continuous research funding with the explicit purpose of developing methods to predict earthquakes. Once this funding started flowing for many years now, it is very difficult for scientists obtaining this funding to put the possibility of earthquake prediction in question.

Robert also discussed official earth quake risk maps, and explained that many of the strongest earth quakes occur in areas which are officially designated as low risk areas.

Robert called for a reassessment of earth quake policies and preparations for future disasters, using the most up-to-date results of earth-science, and to review outdated positions, and abandon those positions, which have been shown to be invalid using established methods of physics.

Gerhard Fasol: “Ludwig Boltzmann and the laws governing energy”

Gerhard Fasol reviewed Ludwig Boltzmann’s life and work, and particular his life-long work on the fundamental laws of physics governing energy.

Jonathan M Dorfan: “New Solutions for Energy – OIST’s R&D Program”

Jonathan Dorfan introduced OIST, The Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology, which has just recently been accredited as a Graduate University by the Japanese Ministry of Education, and introduced several research programs in the field of energy generation.

Jonathan explained the history of OIST, and OIST’s pioneering position as an English speaking international Graduate University in Japan. In particular, OIST has no Departments which would create barriers between research groups, instead the emphasis is on cross-disciplinary cooperation supported by the latest instrumentats and research tools. According to Jonathan, OIST succeeds in attracting most outstanding staff and students – surprisingly current market conditions seem to make it easier to attract outstanding research staff than students – the market for attracting outstanding students seems to be more competitive than for research staff. OIST offers scholarships for students, many or all of which are graduates from top ranking undergraduate schools.

Photos

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

First Ludwig Boltzmann Forum Tokyo on February 20th, 2009

Speakers: Hisashi Kobayashi, Gerhard Fasol, Kazu Ishikawa, Kiyoshi Kurokawa

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 Gerhard Fasol‘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 the first event of the Ludwig Boltzmann Forum by inviting several of Japan’s science and technology leaders 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

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Ludwig Boltzmann Symposia

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.

Read more about Ludwig Boltzmann…

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