Stephen Brush

Stephen Brush nsIn existographies, Stephen Brush (1935-) (CR:15) is an American physics historian noted for his 1978 The Temperature of History: Phases of Science and Culture in the Nineteenth Century, in which he discusses the thermodynamics of Henry Adams and Freud’s death wish, among other topics. [1]

Temperature of history
In 1967, Brush wrote “Thermodynamics and History”, wherein he outlines a study of how themes in thermodynamics are echoed by trends and fashions in nineteenth-century art (see: art thermodynamics) and literature (see: literature thermodynamics)—during the course of which he comments, according to Jeremy Campbell (1983), how his biggest surprise was to learn that he was “pioneering nearly virgin territory, where no scholarly foot had trod.” [5]

This article, according to Greg Myers (1985), was expanded into the result of Brush’s 1978 book The Temperature of History: Phases of Science and Culture in the Nineteenth Century. [7]

Interesting, as many of Ludwig Boltzmann's statistical mechanics works (in the original German) have yet to be fully translated into an English collected works set or even, for that matter, readily available a assessable individual English-translated articles, many, e.g. Jeffrey Wicken (1987), are forced to go through Brush in as a citation and interpretation of Boltzmann's views.

Kinetic theory and thermodynamics
In thermodynamics, Brush is noted for his in depth historical books on the kinetic theory of gases and on statistical thermodynamics as well as on biographical details of key thermodynamicists, such as Joule, Clausius, Maxwell, and Boltzmann; and for making English reprints of various famous publications available. [4] Brush was the 1964 English translator of Austrian physicist Ludwig Boltzmann’s Lectures on Gas Theory, giving a 17-page translator’s introduction. [3]

Brush's 1976 book The Kind of Motion We Call Heat, on the history of kinetic theory, won the Pfizer Award of History of Science Society. [2]

Brush completed his BA in physics and chemistry at Harvard in 1955 and his PhD in theoretical physics at Oxford in 1958. [2] In 1968, at the University of Maryland, Brush founded a new program in the history of science; retiring from there in 2006 as a professor emeritus.

1. (a) Papers of Stephen G. Brush (full biography) – University of Maryland Libraries.
(b) Brush, Stephen G. (1978). The Temperature of History: Phases of Science and Culture in the Nineteenth Century (Adams, 13+ pgs). New York: Burt Franklin.
(c) Campbell, Jeremy. (1982). Grammatical Man - Information, Entropy, Language, and Life (pgs. 278). New York: Simon and Schuster.
2. Stephen G. Brush, University of Maryland – Recipient of the 2009 Abraham Pais Prize for History of Physics.
3. Boltzmann, Ludwig. (1976). Lectures on Gas Theory (translated by Stephen G. Brush). Dover.
4. Brush, Stephen G. and Hall, Nancy S. (2003). The Kinetic Theory of Gases (contents). Imperial College Press, 2003.
5. (a) Campbell, Jeremy. (1983). “Observer and Object, Reader and Text: Some Parallel Themes in Modern Science and Literature”, Conference on Science, Technology, and Literature, Long Island University, Brooklyn, New York, Feb; in: Beyond the Two Cultures: Essays on Science, Technology, and Literature (editors: Joseph Slade and Judith Lee) (pg. 24). Iowa State University Press, 1990.
(b) Brush, Stephen. (1967). “Thermodynamics and History: Science and Culture in the Nineteenth Century”, The Graduate Journal, 7: 477-565.
6. (a) Brush, Stephen. (1983). Statistical Physics and the Atomic Theory of Matter. Princeton University Press.
(b) Wicken, Jeffrey S. (1987). “Entropy and Information: Suggestions for a Common Language” (abs), Philosophy of Science, 54(2): 176-93.
7. (a) Brush, Stephen G. (1978). The Temperature of History: Phases of Science and Culture in the Nineteenth Century. New York: Burt Franklin.
(b) Myers, Greg. (1985). “Nineteenth-Century Popularizations of Thermodynamics and the Rhetoric of Social Prophecy. Victorian Studies, 29: 35-66.

Further reading
● Brush, Stephen. (1965). Kinetic Theory: the Nature of Gases and of Heat: Volume One. Elsevier, 2016.
● Brush, Stephen. (1968). “Mach and Atomism” (abs), Synthese, 18(2-3):192-215.
● Brush, Stephen. (1976). “Irreversibility and Indeterminism: Fourier to Heisenberg” (abs), Journal of the History of Ideas, 37: 603-30.
● Brush, Stephen. (1976). The Kind of Motion We Call Heat: a History of the Kinetic Theory of Gases in the 19th Century. North-Holland.
● Maxwell, James. (1995). Maxwell on Heat and Statistical Mechanics (editors: Elizabeth Garber, Stephen Brush, Francis Everitt) (pgs. 59-60). Lehigh University Press.
● Brush, Stephen. (2003). Kinetic Theory of Gases: an Anthology of Classic Papers with Historical Commentary, Volume One. Imperial College Press.

External links
Stephen G. Brush – Wikipedia.
Stephen G. Brush (faculty) – University of Maryland.
Stephen Brush (about) – University of Minnesota, Archives.
Brush, Stephen G. – WorldCat Identities.
Stephen G. Brush –

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