History of Microscopic Reversibility
The idea of microscopic reversibility was born together with physical kinetics. In 1872, Ludwig Boltzmann represented kinetics of gases as statistical ensemble of elementary collisions. Equations of mechanics are reversible in time, hence, the reverse collisions obey the same laws. This reversibility of collisions is the first example of microreversibility. According to Boltzmann, this microreversibility implies the principle of detailed balance for collisions: at the equilibrium ensemble all collisions are equilibrated by their reverse collisions. These ideas of Boltzmann were analyzed in detail and generalized by Richard C. Tolman.
In chemistry, J. H. van't Hoff (1884) came up with the idea that equilbirum has dynamical nature and is a result of the balance between the forward and backward reaction rates. He did not study reaction mechanisms with many elementary reactions and cannot formulate the principle of detailed balance for complex reactions. In 1901, Rudolf Wegscheider introduced the principle of detailed balance for complex chemical reactions. He found that for a complex reaction the principle of detailed balance implies important and non-trivial relations between reaction rate constants for different reactions. In particular, he demonstrated that the irreversible cycles of reaction are impossible and for the reversible cycles the product of constants of the forward reactions (in the "clockwise" direction) is equal to the product of constants of the reverse reactions (in the "anticlockwise" direction). Lars Onsager (1931) used these relations in his well known work, without direct citation but with the following remark:
"Here, however, the chemists are accustomed to impose a very interesting additional restriction, namely: when the equilibrium is reached each individual reaction must balance itself. They require that the transition must take place just as frequently as the reverse transition etc."
The quantum theory of emission and absorption developed by Albert Einstein (1916, 1917) gives an example of application of the microreversibility and detailed balance to development of a new branch of kinetic theory.
Sometimes, the principle of detailed balance is formulated in the narrow sense, for chemical reactions only but in the history of physics it has the broader use: it was invented for collisions, used for emission and absorption of quanta, for transport processes and for many other phenomena.
In its modern form, the principle of microreversibility was published by Lewis (1925). In the classical textbooks full theory and many examples of applications are presented.
Read more about this topic: Microscopic Reversibility
Other articles related to "microscopic":
... By convention, the microscopic scale also includes classes of objects that are most commonly too small to see but of which some members are large enough to be ... Microscopic units and measurements are used to classify and describe very small objects ... One common microscopic length scale unit is the Micrometer (oi) - one millionth of 1 meter ...
... Micro-animals are animals that are microscopic and thus cannot be seen with the naked eye ... Microscopic arthropods include dust mites, and spider mites, while microscopic crustaceans include copepods and the cladocera ... Another common group of microscopic animals are the rotifers, which are filter feeders that are usually found in fresh water ...
... Microscopic traffic flow models are a class of scientific models of vehicular traffic dynamics ... In contrast to macroscopic models, microscopic traffic flow models simulate single vehicle-driver units, so the dynamic variables of the models represent microscopic ...
... Microscopic Milton in a British series of short animated films ... Microscopic Milton was a tiny kid who lived in a clock on the mantelpiece in a house owned by Mrs ...
Famous quotes containing the words history of, history and/or microscopic:
“When the history of this period is written, [William Jennings] Bryan will stand out as one of the most remarkable men of his generation and one of the biggest political men of our country.”
—William Howard Taft (18571930)
“Psychology keeps trying to vindicate human nature. History keeps undermining the effort.”
—Mason Cooley (b. 1927)
“The television screen, so unlike the movie screen, sharply reduced human beings, revealed them as small, trivial, flat, in two banal dimensions, drained of color. Wasnt there something reassuring about it!that human beings were in fact merely images of a kind registered in one anothers eyes and brains, phenomena composed of microscopic flickering dots like atoms. They were atomsnothing more. A quick switch of the dial and they disappeared and who could lament the loss?”
—Joyce Carol Oates (b. 1938)