Article ID: CBB000850324

Wilhelm Ostwald's Energetics 2: Energetic Theory and Applications, Part I (2007)


This is the second of a series of essays on the development and reception of Wilhelm Ostwald's energetics. The first essay described the chemical origins of Ostwald's interest in the energy concept and his motivations for seeking a comprehensive science of energy. The present essay and the next discuss his various attempts, beginning in 1891 and extending over almost 3 years, to develop a consistent and coherent energetic theory. A final essay will consider reactions to this work and Ostwald's replies, and will also seek to evaluate his program of research. Ostwald's project -- to reconstruct physics and chemistry ``as a pure energetics'' -- is worth attending to for several reasons: first, because Ostwald did ground-breaking work in chemistry (he was awarded a Nobel Prize in 1909 for his studies in catalysis and rates of reaction); second, because an important school of physical chemistry formed around him at Leipzig, a school that promoted his ideas; and, finally, because he was a prominent and vigorous participant in debates at the end of the nineteenth century concerning the proper course of physical theory.


Description First of three essays on Ostwald's nearly 3-year effort at Leipzig beginning in 1891 to develop a consistent, coherent energetic theory.

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Article Deltete, Robert J. (2008) Wilhelm Ostwald's Energetics 3: Energetic Theory and Applications, Part II. Foundations of Chemistry (p. 187). unapi

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Authors & Contributors
Schlote, Karl-Heinz
Beyer, Lothar
Hansel, Karl
Altena, James A.
Boeck, Gisela
Brakel, Jaap van
Bulletin for the History of Chemistry
Foundations of Chemistry
NTM: Zeitschrift für Geschichte der Naturwissenschaften, Technik und Medizin
Historia Scientiarum: International Journal of the History of Science Society of Japan
Mitteilungen der Gesellschaft Deutscher Chemiker, Fachgruppe Geschichte der Chemie
Leipziger Universitäts-Verlag
Wilhelm-Ostwald-Gesellschaft zu Grossbothen e.V.
Plaidswede Publishing
Sächsische Akademie der Wissenschaften
Primary literature (historical sources)
Philosophy of science
Science education and teaching
Ostwald, Friedrich Wilhelm
Duhem, Pierre
Avogadro, Amedeo
Debye, Peter Joseph William
Heisenberg, Werner
Hertz, Gustav
Time Periods
19th century
20th century, early
20th century
21st century
Leipzig (Germany)
United States
Great Britain
Universität Leipzig
Sächsischen Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Leipzig

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