Ernst Mach

Ludwig Boltzmann and Statistical Mechanics

Ludwig Boltzmann and Statistical Mechanics

On February 20, 1844, Austrian physicist and philosopher Ludwig Boltzmann was born. His greatest achievement was in the development of statistical mechanics, which explains and predicts how the properties of atoms determine the physical properties of matter. “Who sees the future? Let us have free scope for all directions of research; away with dogmatism, either atomistic or anti-atomistic!” — Ludwig Boltzmann, “Lectures on Gas Theory”, translated by Stephen George Brush (1971), p.…
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Ernst Mach and the eponymous Mach Number

Ernst Mach and the eponymous Mach Number

On February 18, 1838, Austrian physicist and philosopher Ernst Mach was born. Mach is noted for his contributions to physics such as study of shock waves. The ratio of one’s speed to that of sound is named the Mach number in his honor. As a philosopher of science, he was a major influence on logical positivism and American pragmatism. “There is no problem in all mathematics that cannot be solved by direct…
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Bronisław Malinowski – the Founder of Social Anthropology

Bronisław Malinowski – the Founder of Social Anthropology

On April 7, 1884, Polish anthropologist Bronisław Kasper Malinowski was born. Malinowski is widely recognized as the founder of social anthropology and often considered one of the most important 20th-century anthropologists. Early Years Bronisław Malinowski was the son of the Krakow linguist Lucjan Malinowski. When he was thirteen years old, his father died. In his youth he received strong influences from Ernst Mach,[6] a philosopher oriented towards natural science, and from linguistics. Malinowski earned…
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Wolfgang Pauli and the Pauli Principle

Wolfgang Pauli and the Pauli Principle

On April 25, 1900, Austrian-born Swiss theoretical physicist Wolfgang Ernst Pauli was born. Pauli is one of the pioneers of quantum theory. In 1945, Pauli received the Nobel Prize in Physics for his “decisive contribution through his discovery of a new law of Nature, the exclusion principle or Pauli principle.” The discovery involved spin theory, which is the basis of a theory of the structure of matter. “At the dawn of religion,…
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