Reinhold Furth

photo neededIn human physics, Reinhold Henry Furth (1893-1979), sometimes listed as Färth, Fürth, or Fuerth, was a Czechoslovakian-born English physicist noted for his 1951 BAAS lecture “Physics of Social Equilibrium”, in which he gave an outlined recommendation that sociology students should use both the sciences of crystallography and statistical mechanics as their models for the study of society, the latter of which he says holds great possibilities. [1] Furth comments, as discussed by Austrian social economist Werner Stark, that: [2]

“The principle field of application [of statistical mechanics] is the physics of systems consisting of a very large number of particles of the same kind, so-called ‘assemblies’ of particles. Social communities are also assemblies consisting of individuals who in many ways show similar behavior. It may therefore be expected that the assemblies of statistical mechanics could be used as adequate models of social communities.”

Furth goes on to comment that:

“The question of social stability appears now in a new light. Instead of being comparable to the equilibrium of a rigid mechanical structure or an oscillator, like a pendulum under the action of external forces, it is now seen to be the analogue to the equilibrium of a close assembly of particles like a piece of crystal, under the opposing influences of interatomic forces and the thermal agitation of constituent particles.”

Furth was a co-author with Albert Einstein and Alfred Cowper in the 1915 book Investigations on the Theory of Brownian Movement and co-author with James Jeans in the 1926 book Dynamische Theorie der Gase (Dynamical Theory of Gases). Furth is also noted for his 1834 theory that stars may be comprised of anti-particles. [4]

Furth was a physics professor at the German University of Prague before WWII. Later he spent some years at Edinburg University as a research fellow and lecturer. From 1947 to at least 1958 he was a reader in theoretical physics at London University. [3]

See also
Vera Daniel

1. (a) Furth, Reinhold. (1951). “Physics of Social Equilibrium” (abs), before the British Association, Edinburgh, Aug 15; in Nature, 168: 1048-49.
(b) Furth, Reinhold. (1952). “Physics of Social Equilibrium”, in The Advancement of Science, Vol. VIII, No. 32, Mar, pgs. 429-32.
2. Stark, Werner. (1962). The Fundamental Forms of Social Thought. (pgs. 261-65). Routledge.
3. (a) Anon. (1958). “Contributor: Reinhold Henry Furth”, CMJ New Music Report (pg. 1,080), Oct. 16.
(b) Furth, Reinhold H. (1958). “The Philosophy of Niels Bohr” (Ѻ) , CMJ New Music Report (pg. 1,076), Oct. 16.
4. Kragh, Helge. (1990). Dirac: a Scientific Biography (pg. 104). Cambridge University Press.

Further reading
● Simey, T.S. (1951). “Letter: Physics of Social Equilibrium”, Nature, 168: 1049.
● Anon. (1980). “Obituary: Reinhold Henry Fürth”, The Royal Society of Edinburg (pgs. 55-56).

External links
Fürth, R. (Reinhold) (1893-) – WorldCat Identities.

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