Sketching the History of
Statistical Mechanics and Thermodynamics


1612 Sancorius Sanctorius's Commentariar in artem medicinalem Galeni makes mention of Galileo's thermoscope, the forerunner to the thermometer. 
1620 Johannes van Helmont defines "gas" (the Flemish word for chaos) for air-like substances. 
1638 Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) points out that simple pumps can only raise water about 32 feet, though this had been common knowledge to pump makers of the time. 
1641 Ferdinand II, Grand Duke of Tuscany, invents a thermometer using liquid in a glass tube with one end sealed, a slight improvement to Galileo's thermoscope. 
1643 Evangelista Torricelli (1608-1647) invents the barometer, also producing the first partial vacuum. 
1647 Gilles Personne de Roberval (1602-1675) performed an oft-quoted experiment on air pressure whereby a carp's swim-bladder is partially removed, squeezed of almost all air and tied shut. The carp is then placed in a Torricellian vacuum and the bladder is then observed to expand. 
1648 Florin Perrier experimentally shows that the height achieved by mercury in a barometer decreased as one scaled a mountain, a theoretical prediction of his brother-in-law, Blaise Pascal, and also known as the Puy de Dôme experiment. 
1651 Jean Pecquet's (1622-1674) book on psychology popularizes the Roberval experiment (English translation in 1653). He also introduces the term "elater" as the tendency of air to expand, and theorizes that air on the earth's surface is compressed by the weight of the atmospheric air. 
1654 Otto von Guericke's (1602-86) experiment with two iron hemispheres held together by a strong partial vacuum being strong enough to resist the pull of a train of horses on either side. 

Ferdinand II invents the sealed thermometer. 

1660 Robert Boyle (1627-91) publishes New Experiments Physio-Mechanicall, touching the Spring of the Air, and its Effects, One experiment clearly shows the dependency on Torricelli's vacuum on ambient air pressure. Also presented are discussions of both Pecquet's idea of air modelled by coiled-up wool-like or spring-like atoms (which was preferred by Boyle) and of Descarte's idea of whirling particles which repell one another at short distances. 

In response to Boyle's ideas, Franciscus Linus proposes a theory whereby a vacuum is explained by the creation of an invisible collection of thread-like "funniculus," which strive to hold nearby objects together. 

Richard Townley and Henry Power's experiments establishing the PV law for expansion (the so-called "Boyle's Law" or "Marriotte's Law"). 

1661 Boyle adds an appendix to his 1660 work, responding to the criticisms of Linus and Thomas Hobbes, presenting improved experimental results and giving a version of what is now known as "Boyle's Law" for the case of compression. 
1662 Boyle's "Defense of the Doctrine touching the Spring and Weight of the Air." 
1663 Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) writes On the Equilibrium of Liquids (published posthumously) suggesting that pressure is transmitted equally in all directions in a fluid (later known as Pascal's Law), probably discovered around 1648. 

Henry Power's book Experimental Philosophy, publishing early results on the PV law. 

1669 Johann Joachim Becher's Subterranean Physics, a tract on alchemy and experimental results on minerals, introduces the idea that a "terra pingus" (oily earth) causes fire. This idea is later picked up to the form flogiston theory of heat. 
1670 Boyle discovers that when acid interacts with certain metals a flammable gas is produced, known now as Hydrogen. 
1673 Christiaan Huygens (1629-95) builds a motor driven by the explosion of gunpowder. 
1674 John Mayow suggests that air may consist of two different gases from experiments done on mice and candles, reported in his Five Medico-Physical Treatises
1676 Edmé Mariotte independently finds relationship between pressure and volume, in his work On the Nature of Air. (Known as Mariotte's Law in France, and Boyle's Law elsewhere.) 
1685 Mariotte's The Motion of Water and Other Fluids published (posthumously). 
1690 Denis Papin (1647-1712) uses steam pressure to move a piston for the first time. 
1697 Georg Ernts Stahl introduces the idea of phlogiston as the agent of burning and rusting. 
1702 Guillaume Amontons extrapolates the idea of absolute zero from the observation that equal drops in temperature produce equal drops in pressure, and since pressure cannot become negative, there must be a lower limit to temperature. 
1705 Francis Hauksbee shows that sound needs air for propagation. 
1712 Thomas Newcomen's steam engine. 
1714 Gabriel Fahrenheit's mercury thermometer. 
1723 Stahl's Foundations of Dogmatic and Experimental Chemistry popularizes phlogiston and the ideas of Johann Becher
1724 Hermann Boerhaave proposes that heat is a fluid of some sort. 
1730 Johann Juncker's Conspectus of Chemistry systematically expands phlogiston theory. 
1738 Daniel Bernoulli (1700-1782), in a treatise on hydrodynamics, gives a derivation of the gas laws from a billiard ball model, derives the Boyle-Mariotte relation and used conservation of mechanical energy to show that as temperature changes the pressure will change proportionally to the square of the particle velocities. The paper is all but forgotten until 1859. 
1739 George Martine establishes that the volume of an object is not proportional to the amount of heat it have. 
1744 Mikhail Vasilievich Lomonossov publishes a paper on the causes of heat and cold, stating that heat is a form of motion. 
1748 Lomonosov formulates the laws of conservation of energy and mass. 
1756 William Cullen's An Essay on the Cold Produced by Evaporating Fluids and some Other Means of Producing Cold
1761 Joseph Black uses melting ice to discover latent heat. 
1765 James Watt invents his steam engine, which is over six times for effective than Newcomen's. 
1772 Johan Carl Wilcke calculates the latent heat of ice. 
1781 Wilcke comes up with the concept of specific heats. 
1782 Lavoisier establishes an early version of the conservation of matter through his finding of constancy of weight before and after chemical reactions. 
1783 Lavoisier's work, Reflections on Phlogiston, on the weaknesses of phlogiston theory with respect to combustion. 
1786 Lavoisier and Laplace's work Memoir on Heat
1787 Jackues-Alexandre Charles determines that at a given temperature change, different gases expand the same amount (known as Charles's Law). 
1789 Lavoisier's book Elementary Treatise on Chemistry, containing the law of mass conservation. 
1791 Richard Kirwan, previously a staunch defender of phlogiston theory, concedes that the experimental evidence says otherwise. 

Pierre Prévost's theory of heat and radiation exchange, stating that cold is the absence of heat, hot bodies radiate continually and that a lack of radiation indicates equilibrium with surroundings temperature. 

Jeremias Richter founds stoichiometry, the principle of fixed chemical reactions. 

1798 Cannon-boring experiments of Benjamin Thompson (Count Rumford) (1753-1814) demonstrating the conversion of work into heat in his work Enquiry Concerning the Source of Heat which is Excited by Friction, showing also that additional weight of an object due to heating (a prediction of caloric theory) was not detected. 
1799 Ice-rubbing experiments of Humphrey Davy (1778-1829) demonstrating the conversion of work into heat, and suggesting that an indefinite amount of heat could be generated from a body (whereas caloric theory severely limits its available amount). 

Joseph-Louis Proust formulates that elements in a compound always combin in definite mass ratios (Proust's Law). 

1800 William Herschel publishes "An investigation of the powers of prismatic colours to heat and illuminate objects" investigating the effects of different wavelengths of light on a thermometer, finding light just beyond the red to be the hottest. 
1801 Johann Ritter discovers ultraviolet radiation while doing work with silver chloride. 

John Dalton finds that two gases in the same region produce the same pressure as if they occupied the region alone, known as the law of partial pressures. 

1802 Joseph-Louis Gay-Lussac finds that, at a given pressure, the change in volume is proportional to the change in temperature. 
1803 John Dalton formulates his atomic theory of matter, stating that chemicals are formed by integer numbers of atoms, by studying the weights of chemicals and reactants. 

Claude-Louis Berthollet demonstrates that reaction rates depend on both the amount of substances present as well as their affinities in his work Essay on Static Chemistry

William Henry finds that a gas's mass when dissolved in a liquid is proportional to the pressure (later known as Henry's law). 

1804 John Leslie (1766-1832) writes An Experimental Inquiry into the Nature and Propagation of Heat, showing that light and radiated heat have similar properties. 
1805 Pierre-Simon Laplace (1749-1827) formulates his theory of capillary forces based on his studies of molecular forces in liquids. 
1806 Thomas Young formulates the physical concept of energy. 

Thomas Thomson's System of Chemistry contains the first published account of Dalton's ideas on atomic theory. 

1807 Jean Baptiste Joseph Fourier (1768-1830) publishes his On the Propagation of Heat in Solid Bodies, introducing many mathematical novelties, including his series expansion techniques. 
1808 (Dec 31st) Gay-Lussac states that gases chemically combine in exact proportions of volume. 
1811 Siméon-Denis Poisson (1781-1840) develops his mathematical theory of heat, based on the work of Fourier

Amedeo Avogadro formulates that all gases of a given volume have the same number of molecules, regardless of pressure or temperature (Avogadro's law). 

Jöns Jakob Berzelius states that electrical and chemical forces are one and the same and that atoms are electrically charged, in his work Theory of Chemical Proportions and the Chemical Action of Electricity

1812 Davy writes Elements of Chemical Philosophy, including a hypothesis that in addition to the vibrational and undulatory motion of solids, gasses as well exhibit rotational motion about an axis. 

Delaroche and Bérard's measurements of specific heats at atmospheric pressure of a large number of gasses. Their measurements agreed with Laplace's predictions and remained a cornerstone for caloric theory. 

1819 Pierre-Louis Dulong and Aléxis Thérèse Petit (1791-1820) find constant specific heat at constant pressure for metals over wide range of temperatures, finding that the product of the specific heat and the atomic mass remains constant (known as the Law of Dulong and Petit). 
1821 John Herapath publishes an account of the kinetic theory of gas in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society (after being rejected the year before), influencing Joule's ideas. 

Thomas Johann Seebeck discovers a process by which heat is converted into electricity in the junction of some metals, known as theormoelectricity. 

1822 Charles Cagniard de la Tour, in liquification experiments, finds that both temperature and pressure must be appropriately controlled, and discovers what is now know as the critical point of a substance. 
1824 Sadi Carnot (1796-1832) publishes "Reflections on the Motive Power of Fire," introducing the ideal gas cycle analysis, showing that when heat passes between two bodies theormodynamic work (which he defines) is done, and proposes an idea for an internal combustion engine. 

Pierre-Simon Laplace (1749-1827) publishes several papers refining an idea of Newton's that gasses are formed through repulsive interactions. 

1827 Robert Brown discovers and studies, using a microscope, tiny particles suspended in liquid which are seen to be in constant motion. 
1829 Gustave-Gaspard Coriolis defines the term "kinetic energy" in his studies published as On the Calculation of Mechanical Action

Thomas Graham experimentally uncovers the law of gas diffusion, by which the rate of a gas's diffusion, squared, is proportional to its density. 

1833 Heinrich Friedrich Emil Lenz determines that resistence in metals increases with temperature. 
1834 Clapeyron formulates the first version of the second law of thermodynimcs, based on studies of steam engines. 

Jean-Charles-Athanase Peltier shows that heat can be absorbed or given off when current is passed one way or the other across a junction between two different metals (knows as the Peltier effect). 

1837 von Suerman's experiments on air at reduced pressures verifying Clappeyron's version of Carnot's formulas. 
1842 R.J. Mayer becomes the first to clearly formulate the conservation of energy, and that heat is a form of (mechanical) energy. 

William Thomson (Lord Kelvin)'s (1824-1907) On the Uniform Motion of Heat in Homogeneous Solid Bodies

1843 (through 1848) Through a series of experiments, James Prescott Joule (1818-1889) establishes the exact relationship between heat and mechanical work. 

John James Waterston anonymously publishes Thoughts on the Mental Functions containing in a note at the end a full and accurate account of the kinetic theory of gases. The work goes all but completely unread. 

1845 Waterston submits a papers on the kinetic theory of gases to the Royal Society, who rejects it. The paper precisely lays out the ideas of energy equipartition and introduced the notion of the mean free path. A short abstract appears in another journal, but the work is ignored. 
1847 Joule publishes "On Matter, Living Force, and Heat" in the Manchester Courier, stating the principle of the conservation of energy and giving the conversion from heat to kinetic energy. 

Hermann Ludwig Ferdinand von Helmholtz (1821-94) publishes his On the Conservation of Energy. (Independently of Joule's publications.) 

John William Draper finds that all substances begin to glow around 525°C, starting in the red and eventually becoming white. 

1848 Joule reads a paper using Herapath's kinetic theory. The paper contains the first numerical results from the kinetic theory. (Not published until 1851, and not well known until Clausius's reference to it in 1857.) 
1849 James Thomson, using Carnot's theories, predicts the lower of the freezing point of water under high pressures. 

Kelvin, in speaking of Carnot's theory, coins the term "thermodynamics." 

1850 Rudolf Clausius (1822-88) gives a verbal formulation of the second law, for which there is no mechanism whose only function is the transfer of heat. 
1851 Kelvin independently rediscovers the idea of absolute zero (149 years after Amontons), extrapolating from Charles' law that it must be about -273°C, and suggesting that the energy of the molecules would tend to zero. He also derives the second law of thermodynamics using Carnot's ideas. 
1852 Henri-Victor Regnault shows that gas behavior doesn't quite follow Boyle's law at low temperatures and extrapolates a value of -273°C for absolute zero. 

Joule and Kelvin shows that expanding gases become cooler in the process. 

1854 Hendrik Roozeboom experimentally determines the phase law, later derived mathematically by Gibbs
1856 Karl Krönig (1822-79) writes a paper suggesting that gas molecules in equilibrium travel in straight lines until they collide with something, published in Poggendorfs Annalen der Physik
1857 Clausius publishes a paper on a mathematical kinetic theory, explaining evaporation and establishing heat as energy distributed statistically among particles. 
1858 Clausius introduces the idea of the mean free path of a particle in working out a kinetic theory of diffusion. 
1859 James Clerk Maxwell (1831-79) reads a paper on kinetic theory, printed in 1860 as "Illustrations of the Dynamical Theory of Gases," using random velocity distributions for gases, and showing viscosity to be independent of temperature. 

Gustav Robert Kirchhoff (1824-1887) derives from the second law of thermodynamics that objects cannot be distinguished by their thermal radiation at a given uniform temperature, one must also use reflected light. 

Bernoulli's paper republished due to renewed interest in kinetic theory. (Herapath henceforth goes into obscurity.) 

1860 Michael Faraday's paper "Pressure Melting Effect" describing the lowering of the freezing point of water using pressure. 
1861 Thomas Andrew, in a series of experiments with CO 2 through 1869, finds that at low temperatures Boyle's law breaks down, and there are regions on a PV chart where, for a given isotherm, changes in volume produce no change in pressure. This region is recognized to be the liquid-vapour equilibrial state. He rigorously finds the critical point and triple point. 
1863 John Tyndall's Heat as a mode of Motion, popularizing Maxwell's ideas on heat. 
1865 Clausius uses Carnot's techniques to derive entropy (and shows the two laws of thermodynamics expressible in the same ways as the older caloric theory). 
1871 Maxwell comes up with his parabol of the daemon to conceptually explain heat statistics. 
1872 Ludwig Boltzmann's (1844-1906) derives his H-Theorem, showing explicitly that isolated systems must always evolve in such a way that entropy increases. (He introduces a number of mathematical innovations, including a of technique of discretizing the allowed energy levels for a molecule, and allowing this energy bin to go to zero.) The paper meets with wide-spread opposition. 
1873 Josiah Willard Gibbs (1839-1903) publishes Graphical Methods in the Thermodynimcs of Fluids and A Method of Geometrical Representation of the Thermodynamic Properties of Substances by Means of Surfaces

Van der Waals creates theory for the liquid to gas transition. 

1876 Gibbs publishes the first part of On the Equilibrium of Heterogeneous Substances (the 2nd part in 1878). 

Josef Loschmidt's (1821-95) "reversibility paradox" formulated, pointing out the irreversibility of Boltzmann's kinetic theory despite the underlying classical laws of physics remaining time-invariant. 

(Karl Paul Gottfried von Linde builds the first practical refrigerator using liquid ammonia.) 

1877 Boltzmann formulates a statistical mechanical version of the second law of thermodynamics in the paper, "On the Relation Between the Second Law of the Mechanical Theory of Heat and the Probability Calculus with Respect to the Theorems on Thermal Equilibrium". There he formulates that the entropy of a system is proportional to the log of the phase space volume occupied by the macrostate of the system, S = k ln O, making use of his mathematical innovation of using finite areas of phase space. 

Liquification of oxygen achieved, after nearly one hundred years of trying, by Cailletet (on Dec 2nd) and Raoul Pictet (on Dec 22nd). 

1879 Josef Stephan (1835-1893) determines that the amount of radiation given off by a body through heating is proportional to the fourth power of its temperature (known as the Stephan-Boltzmann law), RT = sT^4. 
1884 Boltzmann (1844-1906) succeeds in theoretically deriving the radiation law found by Stephan

Gibbs coins the term "statistical mechanics" for the kinetic theory's treatment of thermodynamic issues. 

1893 Wilhelm Carl Werner Otto Fritz Franz Wien (1864-1928) experimentally finds that the wavelength of maximum radiation of thermal body is proportional to the inverse of its temperature (known as Wien's law) using an oven with a small hole as an approximation to a theoretical black-body. 
1895 Pierre Curie shows that magnets loses their magnetic properties as their temperature is increases, eventually losing it completely above a certain temperature for that material (knows as the Curie point). 
1896 Ernst Zermelo's (1871-1953) recurrence paradox formulated. 
1899 Lummar and Alfred Pringsheim complete the first accurate measurements of the spectral radiancy of blackbodies, sharply contrasting the prediction made by the Rayleigh-Jeans radiation law (the so-called "ultraviolet catastrophe"). 

Emile Hilaire Amagat publishes The Laws of Gases of extensive experiments with gases under very high pressures. 

1900 Max Karl Ernst Ludwig Planck (1858-1947), studying blackbody radiation and following Boltzmann's techniques of dividing the energy continuum into cells, proposes fixing cell sizes to be proportional to oscillator frequency, and in so doing derives the correct radiation spectrum for blackbodies. Planck proposes the constant, h (Planck's constant), as a quantum of action in phase space. (Though the derivation is technically only valid for hn << kT it stands until corrected by Einstein in 1909. In 1908, derivations appear in Planck's work involving an assumption of energy quantization.) 
1902 Gibbs publishes Elementary Principles in Statistical Mechanics, his treatise on the subject. 
1905 Marian von Smoluchowski and Albert Einstein (1879-1955) independently investigate Brownian motion, convincing many of the atomic hypothesis. 
1906 Walther Nernst formulates his "heat theorem," stating that in the limit of absolute zero temperature, both the entropy change and the heat capacity go to zero (subsequently recognized as the Third law of thermodynamics). 

Weiss creates general theory of paramagnetic to ferromagnetic transitions. 

1907 Andrei Andreyevich Markov (1856-1922) develops his theory of linked probabilities. 

Pierre Weiss explains ferromagnetism by way of small domains of magnetic polarization within a material. 

1908 Jean-Baptiste Perrin calculates the approximate size of a water molecule using early work on Brownian motion. 
1909 Constantin Carathéodory publishes a purely mathematical and axiomatic account of thermodynamics. 
1911 Planck's first paper explicitly quantizing the allowed radiation of oscillators in a blackbody. 

Otto Sackur suggests at the Solvay Conference that phase space be divided into cells of volume h^3

Ladislaw Natanson proposes that Planck's law is the result of the indistinguishability of states of light quanta. 

Niels Henrik David Bohr (1885-1962) begins constructing atomic models which try to forge a connection with Planck's constant as a fundamental constant of quantization. 

Heike Kamerlingh Onnes experimentally finds that mercury will become superconductive when cooled very close to absolute zero. 

1912 Otto Sackur and H Tetrode independently solve Boltzmann's Law to obtain 
S = Nk ln[ (2pmkT)^(3/2) V / N h^3 ] + (5/2) Nk 
showing the need for quantization in classical gas laws. 
1916 Robert Andrews Millikan, in experiments with the photoelectric effect, both confirms the theoretical work of Einstein and confirms the value of Planck's constant independent of work done with blackbodies. 
1922 Louis Victor Pierre Raymond duc de Broglie (1892-1987) applies Sackur's technique of quantizing phase space to derive the Wien distribution law for energy density: 
du = (8ph/c^3) exp(-hn/kT) n^3 dn 
Charles Darwin and Ralph Fowler publish a work on methods of evaluating statistical probabilities. 
1923 Gilbert N Lewis's Thermodynamics and the Free Energy of Chemical Substances, bringing thermodynamics in closer contact with chemistry. 
1924 (June) Satyendranath Bose (1894-1974) sends Einstein a copy of his paper, containing a new derivation of Planck's radiation law based purely on photon statistics, after it was rejected by Philosophical Magazine. Einstein translates it into German and submits it to the Zeitschrift für Physik for him with a recommendation. 

Einstein presents a paper showing that in the limit of high temperatures, a gas of indistinguishable Bose particles approaches the characteristics of a Boltzmann gas. 

de Broglie writes two papers in the Comptes rendus of the Paris Academy elaborating on a fundamental principle of wave-particle duality. The works mature into his 1925 doctoral thesis. 

1925 Max Born (1882-1970), Werner Karl Heisenberg (1901-1976), and Pascual Jordan formulate quantum mechanics based on the mathematics of matrix algebra. 

Einstein, citing works by Bose and de Broglie, suggests that the analogy between quantum gases and molecular gases are complete, and that both photons and molecules have both particle and wave characteristics. He also points out that molecules at low temperatures cannot be considered independent entities, even in the absence of intermolecular forces. 

Samuel Goudsmit hypothesis an extra degree of freedom to electrons termed "spin" due to the mathematical similarity to classical spin. Later, with George Eugene Uhlenbeck (1900-1988), half-integer quantum numbers are introduced in the theory of the hydrogen atom. 

Wolfgang Pauli (1900-1958) formulates the exclusion principle for the electron, accounting for a number of chemical properties in atoms and molecules. 

Planck devises a new derivation of thermodynamic formulas for Boltzmann gases using the formulations, 

z = exp(-e/kT) , Z = z^N / N! 
 
1926 Born introduces into quantum mechanics his probability interpretation of interactions. 

Enrico Fermi derives the statistical properties of gases which obey the Pauli exclusion principle. 

Erwin Rudolf Josef Alexander Schrödinger (1887-1961) developes a second formulation of quantum theory in terms of wave mechanics independently. 

Paul Adrien Maurice Dirac (1902-1984) relates the symmetry of quantum mechanical wave functions to the statistics of Bose, Einstein and Fermi. He also derives the Planck distribution from first principles. 

Arthur Stanley Eddington's (1882-1944) The Internal Constitution of the Stars, relating the radiation pressure of stars to their luminosity. 

Robert Hutchings Goddard launches the first rocket, using liquid fuel and reaching a height of 184 feet and 60 miles per hour. 

1927 John von Neumann (1903-1957) formulates a fully quantum mechanical generalization of statistical mechanics. 

Bohr pronounces his notion of complimentarity in quantum theory. 

Heisenberg formulates the uncertainty principle of quantum mechanics. 

1928 Arnold Sommerfeld (1868-1951) treats electrons in metals as a degenerate Fermi gas using the new techniques of quantum theory. 

Dirac comes up with a relativistic quantum mechanical wave equation for the electron. 

1930 Discover of the lambda point of helium at which it becomes a superfluid (so-named in 1941) at 2.2°K. 
1931 George David Birkhoff (1884-1944) proves the general ergodic theoreom. 
1934 Bragg and Williams formulates an Ising model for paramagnetic to ferromagnetic transitions. 
1935 William Francis Giauque achieves a temperature of only 0.1°K for helium using a magnetic trap to slow the motion of the molecules. 

Lev Davidovich Landau (1908-1968) publishes his phenomenological mean-field treatment for phase transitions. 

1937 Peter Leonidovich Kapitza theoretically explains superfluidity in helium. 
1938 Claude Elwood Shannon (1916-) publishes A Symbolic Analysis of Relay and Switching Circuits, instigating the study of information theory and giving a systematic way of mathematically treating noise. 
1939 W Conyer Herring calculates bulk properties of materials from quantum principles, specifically explaining how beryllium acts as a metal. 
1946 N N Bogolyubov works on a generalization of the Boltzmann equation, working from the time-reversal invariant Liouville equation, further clarifying the internal structure of statistical mechanics. 
1948 Shannon's major publication on information theory and symbolic logic, A Mathematical Theory of Communication
1955 Erwin Wilhelm Mueller's field ion microscope is the first instrument to allow imaging of individual atoms. 
1958 BJ Alder and T Wainwright's experiments on low particle equilibrium distributions. 
1958 BJ Alder and T Wainwright discover vortex diffusion in liquids. 
1980 Heinrich Rohrer and Gerd Binnig develop the scanning tunnelling microscope, allowing for imaging of atoms embedded on surfaces. 

Klaus von Klitzing discovers the quantum hall effect. 

 
[ Sources ] 
[ Links ] 
[ Histories ] 

 Robert Boyle 

 Daniel Bernoulli 

Phlogiston Theory
      (~1660's to ~1790's)
Caloric Heat Theory
      (~1780's to ~1860's)
Wave Theory of Heat
      (~1830's to ~!860's)
Kinetic Heat Theory
      (~1820's to present)
      (Bernoulli excepted) 

 Pierre-Simon Laplace 

 Jean Baptiste Joseph Fourier 

 Sadi Nicolas Léonard Carnot 

 William Thomson (Lord Kelvin) 

 James Prescott Joule 

 Hermann Ludwig Ferdinand von Helmholtz 

 Rudolf Clausius 

 Ludwig Boltzmann 

 Josiah Willard Gibbs 

 Max Karl Ernst Ludwig Planck 

 Albert Einstein 

 Satyendranath Bose 

 Paul Adrien Maurice Dirac 

 John von Neumann 

 Lev Davidovich Landau 


Sources:

 

  1. Brush, Stephen G, Statistical Physics and the Atomic Theory of Matter From Boyle and Newton to Landau and Onsager
  2. Bunch, Bryan & Hellemans, Alexander, The Timetables of Science
  3. Eisberg, R and Resnick, R, Quantum Physics, 2nd ed, 1985
  4. Flamm, Dieter, "History and outlook of statistical physics," physics/9803005, 4 March, 1998
  5. Flamm, Dieter, "Ludwig Boltzmann - A Pioneer of Modern Physics," physics/9710007, 7 October, 1997
  6. Kuhn, Thomas S, "Black-Body Theory and the Quantum Discontinuity, 1894-1912"
  7. Mendoza, E, "A Sketch for a History of Early thermodynamics," Physics Today, February 1961, p 32
  8. Mendoza, E, "A Sketch for a History of the Kinetic Theory of Gases," Physics Today, March 1961
  9. Mendelssohn, K, The Quest for Absolute Zero
  10. Moore, Walter, Schrödinger: Life and Thought
  11. And the great MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive

Links: History of Chemistry


By Jeff biggus@colorado.edu