Quantum theory of monatomic ideal gases: non-statistical arguments for a new statistics (QM)

Marie Curie

Principal Investigator


No matching items found.

Project Details

Start date: 01/03/2013

End date: 01/03/2015


In this article, we analyze the third of three papers, in which Einstein presented his quantum theory of the ideal gas of 1924-1925. Although it failed to attract the attention of Einstein's contemporaries and although also today very few commentators refer to it, we argue for its significance in the context of Einstein's quantum researches. It contains an attempt to extend and exhaust the characterization of the monatomic ideal gas without appealing to combinatorics. Its ambiguities illustrate Einstein's confusion with his initial success in extending Bose's results and in realizing the consequences of what later became to be called Bose-Einstein statistics. We discuss Einstein's motivation for writing a non-combinatorial paper, partly in response to criticism by his friend Ehrenfest, and we paraphrase its content. Its arguments are based on Einstein's belief in the complete analogy between the thermodynamics of light quanta and of material particles and invoke considerations of adiabatic transformations as well as of dimensional analysis. These techniques were well-known to Einstein from earlier work on Wien's displacement law, Planck's radiation theory, and the specific heat of solids. We also investigate the possible role of Ehrenfest in the gestation of the theory.


  • Analysis

Other Team Members

No matching items found.

External Partners

No matching items found.

Research Areas


No matching items found.

Last updated on 2015-06-03 at 12:19