Article ID: CBB198631506

Early application of kinetic theory of gases to star clusters (2022)


This is a case of working by analogy to apply successful work from one field, the kinetic theory of gases, to another field, the distribution of stars in globular clusters. The origin of the analogy lies in Henri Poincaré reading a vague suggestion by Lord Kelvin and recognizing the interest and potential value of this suggestion. The result is the application of mechanics to the dynamics of clusters with very many stars. A good idea, even a very clever good idea, still takes significant work to elaborate in all its implications. Here we see assumptions that lead to partial success in providing a relation between the density of stars in a cluster and the distance from the center. Partial success motivated work using assumptions that were less restrictive. We follow the assumptions and work through 1916, when work paused for many years.

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Authors & Contributors
Heinzmann, Gerhard
Folina, Janet
Videira, Antonio Augusto Passos
Sanzo, Ubaldo
Granek, Galina
Dolecki, M.
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics
PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association
Revista da Sociedade Brasileira de Historia de Ciência
Physis: Rivista Internazionale di Storia della Scienza
Kwartalnik Historii Nauki i Techniki
Notes and Records: The Royal Society Journal of the History of Science
RSC Pub.
Oxford University Press
World Scientific
Springer Science + Business Media
Philosophy of science
Explanation; hypotheses; theories
Philosophy of science, as a discipline
Philosophy of mathematics
Poincaré, Jules Henri
Bruner, Ludwik
Crookes, William
Bryan, George Hartley
Boltzmann, Ludwig
Huxley, Thomas Henry
Time Periods
19th century
20th century, early
20th century
Great Britain
Cracow (Poland)

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