Scientific Papers of J. Willard Gibbs ...: Thermodynamics

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Longmans, Green and Company, 1906 - Science
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This is extraordinary, supernatural in the the sense of a grace delivered to unexpected recipiients. I wish, hope that I could be in that group.

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One of the greatest publications in all of human literature, nearly unprecedented in rival, in which can be found the buried treasure, as unearthed by Gilbert Lewis in 1923, that the inequality: ΔG < 0, or what has come to be called the Lewis inequality for natural processes, governs human existence, interpersonal reactions, past, present, and future.
Numbered with exactly 700-equations, written over a period of three years, during which time, in Gibbs own words “I had no sense of the value of time, of my own or others, when I wrote it.” The following opinions express the majestic difficulty steeped in this great work:
“Your Equilibrium is too difficult and too condensed for most, I might say all, readers.”
– John Strutt (Lord Rayleigh), "Letter to Gibbs" (1892)
“It was a number of years before its value was generally known; this delay was due largely to the fact that its mathematical form and rigorous deductive processes make it difficulty reading for anyone, and especially so for students of experimental chemistry whom it concerns most.”
– Henry Bumstead, “Josiah Willard Gibbs”, American Journal of Science (1903)
“The works of Willard Gibbs can only be attacked with profit by the expert mathematician.”
– William Bayliss, Principles of General Physiology (1915)
“Although Gibbs’ treatment of thermodynamics has been accessible in English, French, and German for many years, its highly condensed and abstract form has repulsed the great majority of students, with the result that the science of thermodynamics has been recast in many different moulds during the last fifty years.”
– Frededrick Donnan, Irish physical chemist (1932)
“The original source is, of course, Gibbs, but his discussion is difficult reading.”
– Edward Guggenheim, Modern Thermodynamics by the Methods of Willard Gibb (1933)
“Reading Gibbs' Equilibrium is something like reading Laplace, who frequently omits but the conclusion, with the optimistic remark ‘it is easy to see’, shorthand for things ‘seen’ following hours—sometimes days—of hard work.”
– E.T. Bell, Scottish mathematician (c.1940)
“There is a considerable testimony from eminent men that they found the Equilibrium of Heterogeneous Substances very difficult reading. But that it is obscure or lacking in clarity of style is untrue. It is logical, terse, and requires unrelieved concentration of thought.”
– Lynde Wheeler, Josiah Willard Gibbs: the History of a Great Mind (1951)
“Very few experts in thermodynamics have the ability to read this from cover-to-cover.”
– David Bottomley, Japanese physicist (1999)
“The intrepid reader who takes on Gibbs’ Equilibrium can expect months of ‘blind work’.”
– William Cropper, Greatest Physicists (2001)

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Page xxi - ... of perfectly transparent media, the theory not only accounts for the dispersion of colors (including the "dispersion of the optic axes" in doubly refracting media), but also leads to Fresnel's laws of double refraction for any particular wave-length without neglect of the small quantities which determine the dispersion of colors. He proceeds in the second paper to show that circular and elliptical polarization are explained by taking into account quantities of a still higher order, and that these...
Page 437 - Again, the consideration of the electrical potential in the electrolyte, and especially the consideration of the difference of potential in electrolyte and electrode, involves the consideration of quantities of which we have no apparent means of physical measurement, while the difference of potential in "pieces of metal of the same kind attached to the electrodes " is exactly one of the things which we can and do measure.
Page 362 - For the equilibrium of any isolated system it is necessary and sufficient that in all possible variations of the state of the system which do not alter its energy, the variation of its entropy shall either vanish or be negative.
Page 93 - If to any homogeneous mass in a state of hydrostatic stress we suppose an infinitesimal quantity of any substance to be added, the mass remaining homogeneous and its entropy and volume remaining unchanged, the increase of the energy of the mass divided by the quantity of the substance added is the potential for that substance in the mass considered.
Page 96 - A system of r coexistent phases, each of which has the same n independently variable components is capable of n + 2— r variations of phase. For the temperature, the pressure, and the potentials for the actual components have the same values in the different phases, and the variations of these quantities are by (97) subject to as many conditions as there are different phases.
Page 260 - ... the addition of a little salt. The analytical conditions which determine the stability or instability of the system are easily found, when the temperature and potentials of the system are regarded as known, as well as the fundamental equations for the interior mass and the surface of discontinuity. The study of surfaces of discontinuity throws considerable light upon the subject of the stability of such phases of fluids as have a less pressure than other phases of the same components with the...
Page 372 - The second part of the paper* commences with a discussion of the conditions of internal and external equilibrium for solids in contact with fluids with regard to all possible states of strain of the solids.
Page xxv - Outside of his scientific activities, Professor Gibbs's life was uneventful ; he made but one visit to Europe, and with the exception of those three years, and of summer vacations in the mountains, his whole life was spent in New Haven, and all but his earlier years in the same house, which his father had built only a few rods from the school where he prepared for college and from the university in the service of which his life was spent.
Page 369 - The stability of any phase with respect to continuous changes depends upon the same conditions with respect to the second and higher differential coefficients of the density of energy regarded as a function of the density of entropy and the densities of the several components, which would make the density of energy a minimum, if the necessary conditions with respect to the first differential coefficients were fulfilled.
Page 115 - Any other kind of fundamental equation for a substance of invariable composition will suggest an analogous geometrical method. Thus, if we make m constant, the variables in any one of the sets (99)-(103) are reduced to three, which may be represented by rectangular co-ordinates. This will, however, afford but four different methods, for, as has already (page...

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