The construction of a theory of ensemble: precedents in Maxwell and Boltzmann

The purpose of this paper is to research the bases of the construction in James C. Maxwell (1831-79) and Ludwig Boltzmann's (1844-1906) work of what is now known as the theory of ensembles, after Willard Gibbs (1893-1903). It is a methodological perspective that stimulated the search for a statistical ground for the laws of thermodynamics.

statistical mechanics; Ludwig Boltzmann; James Clerk Maxwell; heuristics


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