For purchase of this item, please read the instructions.
Volume 12: Pages 614-628, 1999
Energy, Entropy: On the Occasion of the 100th Anniversary of Josef Loschmidt's Death in 1895: Is Loschmidt's Greatest Discovery Still Waiting for Its Discovery?
Fritz‐Heckert‐Str. 2, 16321 Bernau, Germany
In 1868, J.C. Maxwell proved that a perpetual motion machine of the second kind would become possible if the equilibrium temperature in a vertical column of gas subject to gravity were a function of height. However, Maxwell claimed that the temperature had to be the same at all points of the column. So did Boltzmann. Their opponent was Loschmidt, who died more than 100 years ago, in 1895. He claimed that the equilibrium temperature declined with height, and that a perpetual motion machine of the second kind operating by means of such a column was compatible with the second law of thermodynamics. Thus, he was convinced that he had detected a never‐ending source of usable energy for humankind. In this article, new proof is given for the hypothesis that the equilibrium temperature is indeed a function of height. Thus, the 100th anniversary of Loschmidt's death shall be commemorated.
Keywords: entropy, Loschmidt, Boltzmann, second law, Maxwell, temperature gradient, perpetual motion
Received: August 16, 1996; Published online: December 15, 2008