Documentary Night: Ludwig Boltzmann

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Ludwig Boltzmann - The Genius of Disorder!

Ludwig Eduard Boltzmann (20 February 1844 – 5 September 1906) was an Austrian physicist and philosopher. His greatest achievements were the development of statistical mechanics, and the statistical explanation of the second law of thermodynamics.

Statistical mechanics is one of the pillars of modern physics. It describes how macroscopic observations (such as temperature and pressure) are related to microscopic parameters that fluctuate around an average. It connects thermodynamic quantities (such as heat capacity) to microscopic behavior, whereas, in classical thermodynamics, the only available option would be to measure and tabulate such quantities for various materials.

Ludwig Boltzmann's contributions to physics and philosophy have left a lasting impact on modern science. His pioneering work in statistical mechanics and thermodynamics laid the foundation for some of the most fundamental concepts in physics.  In 1877 he provided the current definition of entropy, Max Planck named the constant kB the Boltzmann constant. Max Planck in quantizing resonators in his Black Body theory of radiation used Boltzmann’s constant to describe the entropy of the system to arrive at his formula in 1900. However, Boltzmann's work was not always readily accepted during his lifetime, and he faced opposition from some of his contemporaries, particularly in regards to the existence of atoms and molecules. Nevertheless, the validity and importance of his ideas were eventually recognized, and they have since become cornerstones of modern physics. Here, we delve into some aspects of Boltzmann's legacy and his influence on various areas of science. 

AFTER the documentary - we can have a brief discussion session. NOTE: You must supply your own soda pop and popcorn! :-) Trivia may also follow, so bring your Jeopardy hats too!


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  Date and Time




  • Date: 28 Feb 2024
  • Time: 06:00 PM to 07:15 PM
  • All times are (UTC-05:00) Eastern Time (US & Canada)
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  • Starts 18 January 2024 06:09 PM
  • Ends 28 February 2024 02:00 PM
  • All times are (UTC-05:00) Eastern Time (US & Canada)
  • No Admission Charge



Documentary Night: Ludwig Boltzmann


There is plenty of material publicly available on the history of this famous scientist. A good starting point can be:

Some links:

Reading Material:

Ruth Lewin Sime, Lise Meitner: A Life in Physics Chapter One: Girlhood in Vienna gives Lise Meitner's account of Boltzmann's teaching and career.


Address:Cyber City, Michigan, United States, 48309


6:00 PM - Welcome and Introductions, Chapter business update; (on your own) Pizza, Popcorn and Soda Pop
6:05 PM - Documentary
7:05 PM - End of Documentary; Start of Q & A; Group Discussion
7:15 PM - Wrap Up 

 ALL times are in EST/EDT (UTC-4 or UTC-5) depending upon local day light savings times in when effect

An IEEE Southeastern Michigan Section event. All are welcome. Consider becoming an IEEE member if such similar events are of professional/academic interest to you/


Boltzmann - FLYER Boltzmann - FLYER 373.38 KiB