|BOLTZMANN, Ludwig. Weitere Studien über
das Wärmegleichgewicht unter Gasmolekülen. In Sitzungsberichte der
Akademie der Wissenschaften, Mathematische-Naturwissenschaftliche Klasse,
Bd. 66, Dritte Heft, Zweite Abteilung, pp. 275-370. Vienna: Gerold,
1872. Octavo, original yellow printed wrappers; largely unopened; custom
half-leather box. $3600.
edition, first printing in original wrappers of Boltzmann’s most important paper,
explanation of the phenomenon of irreversibility in nature.
"Despite the variety and sheer quantity of [his] work, there is no
difficulty in identifying Boltzmann’s most important contribution to
physics: it is surely his explanation of the irreversibility of natural
processes, the irreversibility expressed in the second law of
thermodynamics. It was Boltzmann who showed how one could understand
macroscopic irreversibility by applying statistics to a gas composed of
a vast number of molecules, even though the individual molecular motions
are described by the reversible laws of mechanics. This demonstration
– that thermodynamic irreversibility is, in Erwin Schrödinger’s
words, 'the pure embodiment of the statistical law itself,' and that 'events move in the direction in which they are most likely to move'
– is one of the greatest achievements of nineteenth century science”
(Klein, The Development of Boltzmann’s Statistical Ideas). Provenance:
ink stamp on front wrapper of the Vienna
Academy of Sciences, the publisher of the journal. Tear to upper wrapper
and first leaf (not affecting text); very light wear and minor soiling
to edges of wrappers.
Rare, particularly in original wrappers.