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Boltzmann tombstone nsBoltzmann's Tomb (2010)
Left: a photo of the Boltzmann tombstone in Vienna, Austria. Right: American science writer Bill Green's 2010 Boltzmann's Tomb, on controversies in science, in general, and Boltzmann's last days. [4]
In science, Boltzmann tombstone is the marker for the location of the entombment of Austrian physicist Ludwig Boltzmann
(1844-1906), Vienna Central Cemetery, Vienna, Austria, showing a bust of Boltzmann with the equation S = k log W chiseled in stone above.

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Boltzmann met his end by his own hand-- a phenomenon curiously common to many founders of thermodynamics—namely, he hung himself, while he had his family were on vacation. In 2010, writer Bill Green, in his Boltzmann’s Tomb: Travels in Search of Science, depicted adjacent, recounts his visit to Boltzmann’s tomb, and the nature of Boltzmann’s reaction end, as follows: [4]

“In late August of 1906, Boltzmann and his family left Vienna to spend a little time in the town of Duino lies near Trieste on the northeast coast of the Adriatic … [but] with him came that constant companion, that sense of failure, the recognition that maybe, as his great adversary Ernst Mach had said toward the end, he was the last pillar standing, the last who believed that behind the cliff and the castle and the air that he breathed were the unseen molecules and atoms he had argued for all his life. At least there were some who believed that this sense of rejection is why he had done it, though not Meitner, who professed never to have understood, though she thought it might have been the depression, the “black dog” that had come to visit. His fifteen year old daughter, Eva, discovered him. While she and her mother were out swimming in the bay, he had hanged himself with a short cord from a window frame in their hotel. Eva, disturbed by his long absence, had gone back to the hotel to find him. It was she who had made the horrible discovery, one she would never speak of again. The papers in Vienna, the memorials at the University spoke of a man of brilliance ‘who had bestrode his time and his nation,’ but who, as Franz Exner said, ‘envious fortune had denied inner peace’.”

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In the 1930s, the Boltzmann-Planck entropy equation engraved tombstone was erected, after the full significance of Boltzmann's work was recognized. [2]

On the left is the name of his wife and one the right are the names of his three sons.

Scientific tourism
The Boltzmann tombstone has become a popular stomping ground for physical scientists and engineers, especially those interested in thermodynamics.

In circa 1980s, American biophysicist Harold Morowitz journeyed from America to Austria to see Boltzmann’s tombstone, as recounted in his Entropy and the Magic Flute (1992); commenting, e.g., how the cemetery caretaker often gets “Ludwig B” mixed up with the tomb of Ludwig Beethoven. [3]

In Sep 2012, Jeff Tuhtan visited (Ѻ) the Boltzmann grave; shown below is a photo of Tuhtan posing next to Boltzmann:

Tuhtan posing next to Boltzmann

The following are related quotes:

“Of course the [tomb] stone will never last, Buckley laughed, and Jeffers knew it. And Boltzmann, too. But that equation, well, that’s another matter.”
— Bill Green (2010) (Ѻ)

See also
Clausius tombstone
Gibbs tombstone
Founders of thermodynamics and suicide

1. (a) Boltzmann tombstone (Picture) - Wikipedia
(b) Zentralfriedhof (Central Cemetery, Vienna) – Wikipedia.
2. Muller, Ingo. (2007). A History of Thermodynamics - the Doctrine of Energy and Entropy (pg. 102). New York: Springer.
3. Morowitz, Harold J. (1996). Entropy and the Magic Flute: S = k ln W = dQ/T = - kΣfi ln fi (pgs. 1-3). Oxford University Press.
4. Green, Bill. (2010). Boltzmann’s Tomb: Travels in Search of Science (abs). Bellevue Literary Press.

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