Energetics school

In thermodynamics schools, the energetics school or "school of energetics" was a school of thermodynamics logic focused on energy as the sole principle of universal operation. The energetics school used primarily energetics-based theories, publications, and logic, promoted from about 1890 to 1908, attributed to German chemist Wilhelm Ostwald (the founder), at the University of Leipzig, and Austrian physicist Ernst Mach, at the University of Vienna, that rejected the atomic hypothesis focusing instead on the law of conservation of energy and a belief that macroscopic energy levels were the only reality. [1]

With the discovery of the atom, between 1897 and 1909, this school of logic, however, soon became defunct. It does, to note, require a reading of the actual material being referred to as "energetics" to discern which parts are actual pure thermodynamics, i.e. using entropy concepts, and which are not, as much of what one calls "energetics" is actually Clausius-Gibbs based teachings.

in 1885, Ostwald published Lehrbuh der Allgemeinen Chemie (Textbook of General Chemistry), the first textbook on physical chemistry and

In 1887, Ostwald became professor of physical chemistry at the University of Leipzig, remaining there until 1906. [5]

in 1887, Ostwald, together with Dutch chemist Jacobus van't Hoff, founded Zeitschrift fur Physikalische Chemie (Journal of Physical Chemistry) the first periodical in physical chemistry. [2]

Austrian physicist Gustav Jaumann, a student of Mach, seems to also be associated with this school, although he is classified by Ilya Prigogine as being the leader of the Vienna school.

In 1900, Ludwig Boltzmann went to the University of Leipzig, owing to his dislike of Mach, on the invitation of Wilhelm Ostwald. After the retirement of Mach due to bad health, Boltzmann came back to Vienna in 1902.

The work of French physicist Pierre Duhem, likely his 1911 Treatise on Energetics (Traite d’Energetique), was said to have been given appreciation years later among German 'energeticists', such Ostwald and Georg Helm. [1]

In the 1890s, Ostwald, who had recently translated American mathematical engineer Willard Gibbs' 1876 On the Equilibrium of Heterogeneous Substances into French, styled Gibbs as the "founder of chemical energetics". [3] The term 'human energetics', a near synonym to 'human thermodynamics', seems to have been attributed to Ostwald's 1909 book Gross Manner. [4]

The seed the "energetics credo" of belief, possibly, may trace to the 1887 book The Doctrine of Energy by German physicist Georg Helm, a work read by Ostwald; but, to note, Helm's work is largely a thermodynamics treatise. With the discovery of the atom, between 1897 and 1909, this school, however, soon became defunct.

1. (a) Loeb, Leonard B. (2004). The Kinetic Theory of Gases (pg. 6). Dover.
(b) Feuer, Lewis S. (1982). Einstein and the Generations of Science (pg. 332). Transactions Publishers.
(c) Porter, Neil A. (1998). Physics in Conflict (pg. 88). CRC Press.
2. (a) Wilhelm Ostwald: the “Bruke” (Bridge) and other Connections to Other Bibliographic Activities at the Beginning of the Twentieth Century (PDF), 9-pages, by Thomas Hapke, [ChemHeritage.org]
(b) Baierlein, Ralph. (2000). “The Elusive Chemical Potential”, American Association of Physics Teachers, Oct.
3. Willard Gibbs - Encyclopedia Britannica article (1910).
(a) W.R. (1909). “How to Diagnose Genius: A Study of Human Energetics”, Nature, pgs. 121-22, Jul 29.
(b) Ostwald, Wilhelm. (1909). Gross Manner. Leipzig: Akademische Verlagsgesellshaft.
5. Laidler, Keith J. (1993). The World of Physical Chemistry (pg. 212). Oxford University Press.

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