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Jacob Hermann and the Kinetic Theory

  • W. E. Knowles Middleton

The beginning of the kinetic theory of gases is usually assigned to the year 1738, when Daniel Bernouilli's Hydrodynamica appeared at Strasbourg. The famous tenth section of this book pursued some of the consequences of the assumption that ‘elastic fluids’ consist of innumerable tiny particles in rapid motion. It was, as everyone knows, forgotten for many decades.

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1 Bernouilli, D., Hydrodynamica sive de vinhus & motibus fluidorum commentarii [etc.]. Argentorati, 1738.

2 The most important paragraphs of this are available in English in The World of Mathematics, ed. Newman, James R. (4 vols., New York, 1956), ii, 774777.

3 Hooykas, R., Arch. Int. Hist. Sci., 1948, 180184.

4 Euler, L., Comm. Acad. Sci. Imp. Petropol., ii (1727), 347.

5 Hermann, J., Phoronomia sive de viribus et matibus corporum solidarum et fluidorum libri duo (Amsterdam, 1716), 376377.

6 Partington, J. R., An Advanced Treatise on Physical Chemistry (London, 1949), i, 131.

7 Oehler, E., Ann. der Phys., ix (1880), 512.

8 Not, be it noted, the root mean square.

9 Fig. 149 in the original.

10 Hoppe, Edmund, Geschichte der Physik (Braunschweig, 1926), 176.

11 Amontons, Guillaume, Mém. Acad. roy. Sci. Paris, 1702, 155174.

12 Hydndynamica, 205206.

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The British Journal for the History of Science
  • ISSN: 0007-0874
  • EISSN: 1474-001X
  • URL: /core/journals/british-journal-for-the-history-of-science
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