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Biography of Ludwig Boltzmann

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Back? Ever! 20 February 1844
October 5, 1906

Who is Ludwig Boltzmann?


Austrian physicist born in Vienna on 20 February 1844, proposed a fundamental discussion of the kinetic theory of gases according to the methods of statistical physics.

He completed his studies in Linz and Vienna University teaching, from 1896, mathematical physics at the University of Graz. Here he worked with Helmholtz and Kirchhoff, occupying from 1876 until 1890 the Chair of experimental physics.

Around 1870 published a series of works in which establishes a clear link between the energy possessed by a gas and its absolute temperature, providing a more general definition of entropy. This result allowed him to overcome the apparent paradoxes of the second law of thermodynamics and to give an explanation on the basis of microscopic.

In collaboration with Joseph Stefan took charge of the black body spectrum and formulated the law, known as "Stefan-Boltzmann", which States that the total energy radiated by a black body, an ideal surface that absorbs all the incident radiation is proportional to the fourth power of its absolute temperature.

According to his most deeply rooted philosophical beliefs, natural phenomena are behaving in such a way that it is clear the distinction between past and future. In fact, in his famous declaration is clearly enunciated this concept: "Now, if the natural world is made of atoms, and we too are made of atoms, and we obey physical laws, the most obvious interpretation of this obvious distinction between past and future and this irreversibility of all phenomena, it would be that some of the laws of motion of atoms go in only one direction and not both of us. "

These beliefs typically 19th century Austrian scientist, can be added to complete the picture, those concerning cosmogony and the study of the universe. The starting point is represented by the so-called "Copernican assumption", i.e. the assumption that we actually observe the universe from outside, but from some particular point.

The modern origin of the multiuniversi discussion starts from the question asked by Fitzgerald, along with other British physicists, Ludwig Boltzmann. According to the laws of Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution, the universe would undergo a State of thermodynamic equilibrium. Because the Sun and the stars show us that we find ourselves in a universe that is far from heat death?

The answer given by Boltzmann, through an Assistant, imagery, the problem can be solved by assuming a fluctuation (in other words, the universe is homogeneous). We live in a particular region (an isolated universe) that is far from thermodynamic equilibrium but other regions may be located in that State.

In today's debate the answer given by Boltzmann is recovering from more than a cosmological model. For the various theories of inflation, proposals in order to solve certain problems within the Big Bang theory (and especially in the chaotic inflation of Linde), the idea of multiuniversi becomes a necessary solution. Even so it is used in physics of singularities and black holes that would be none other than doors to other universes.

The work of Boltzmann, much disputed by scientists of the time, was largely confirmed by experimental data soon after his suicide on October 5, 1906.

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