Ludwig Boltzmann, the genius of disorder
Prof. Giuseppe Mussardo
SISSA, Scuola Internazionale Superiore di Studi Avanzati, Trieste
ABSTRACT: The 19th-century physicist Ludwig Boltzmann stirred up controversy by proposing that scientists could make intelligent guesses about the behavior of atoms, which, though they moved randomly, could be described by certain probabilistic generalizations. His suggestion, to explain thermodynamics by using statistical methods, went against the longstanding trend of assuming absolute fixed laws. These were profound and disturbing changes. The seminar discusses this enganging story of science and personal struggle of Ludwig Boltzmann, set against the intellectual climate of nineteenth-century Vienna, and shows how science has come to accept the reality of the invisible world.