Balazs Gyenis’ „Maxwell and the normal distribution: A colored story of probability, independence, and tendency toward equilibrium” is forthcoming in Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics.

The abstract of the paper:

We investigate Maxwell’s attempt to justify the mathematical assumptions behind his 1860 Proposition IV according to which the velocity components of colliding particles follow the normal distribution. Contrary to the commonly held view we find that his molecular collision model plays a crucial role in reaching this conclusion, and that his model assumptions also permit inference to equalization of mean kinetic energies (temperatures), which is what he intended to prove in his discredited and widely ignored Proposition VI. If we take a charitable reading of his own proof of Proposition VI then it was Maxwell, and not Boltzmann, who gave the first proof of a tendency towards equilibrium, a sort of H-theorem. We also call attention to a potential conflation of notions of probabilistic and value independence in relevant prior works of his contem- poraries and of his own, and argue that this conflation might have impacted his adoption of the suspect independence assumption of Proposition IV.

A recent paper by our colleague, Peter Andras Varga was published in the volume "»Alles Wesentliche lässt sich nicht schreiben« Leben und Denken Edith Steins im Spiegel ihres Gesamtwerks" (Herder Verlag, Germany, 2016). The paper, entitled "Edith Stein als Assistentin von Edmund Husserl: Versuch einer Bilanz im Spiegel von Husserls Verhältnis zu seinen Assistenten. Mit einem unveröffentlichten Brief Edmund Husserls über Edith Stein im Anhang," analyses Edith Stein's oft-discussed role in Edmund Husserl's philosophical oeuvre against the backdrop of Husserl's personal and intellectual relationships to his assistants (including Eugen Fink and Martin Heidegger). A hitherto unknown and unpublished letter by Husserl on Stein is published in the appendix of the paper.
The volume is published both in print and as an e-book (preview). The preprint version of the paper is available here. The author's research was supported by the Hungarian National Scientific Funds (OTKA) grant nr. PD105101.

MTA központi weboldala box

MTA kutatói pályázatai