Hermann Helmholtz nsIn existographies, Hermann von Helmholtz (1821-1894) (IQ:195|#10) [RGM:235|1,500+] [LUG] [Cropper 30:4|T] (GPE:21) [CR:386] was a German physician-physicist noted for his 1847 paper “On the Conservation of Force”, wherein he presented one of the first versions of the conservation of energy (or conservation of force), depending on context; and for his 1882 “The Thermodynamics of Chemical Processes”, in which he disproved the thermal theory of affinity, replacing it with the free energy theory of affinity (thermodynamic theory of affinity), one of the founding publications in chemical thermodynamics. [5]

Anti-Romanticism | Schopenhauer
Helmholtz (and Boltzmann), for some reason, supposedly, did not like German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer's one nature conceptualized human chemical theory based electrochemical will philosophy; or at least some aspect of it? Swedish science historian Jed Buchwald summarizes Helmholtz’s anti-romanticism as follows: [12]

“The kind of romantic idealism represented by, e.g. Arthur Schopenhauer, which Helmholtz particularly detested and which his arch-foe Zollner ardently embrace, should be distinguished from idealism considered as the antithesis to materialism. Helmholtz never embraced materialism, and he may have been strongly influenced by the non-romantic idealism developed by [Johann] Fichte. [13] Schopenhauer’s philosophy powerfully antagonized many physicists associated with Helmholtz. Years later, in 1906, Boltzmann, to cite one example, nearly entitled a talk ‘Demonstration, that Schopenhauer was a Mindless, Ignorant, Spreader of Nonsense’.” [14]

In 1874, Helmholtz, in his “On the Use and Abuse of the Deductive Method in Physical Science”, a general attack and criticism of Karl Zollner, commented the following: [1]

“I do not find in Mr. Zollner's book a distinct declaration by which his new mode of procedure may be distinguished from that generally followed. Judging from what he aims at as his ultimate object, it comes to the same thing as Schopenhauer's metaphysics. The stars are to love and hate one another, feel pleasure and displeasure, and to try to move in a way corresponding to these feelings. Indeed, in blurred imitation of the principle of least action (pp. 326, 327), Schopenhauer's pessimism, which declares this world to be indeed the best of possible worlds, but worse than none at all, is formulated as an ostensibly generally applicable principle of the smallest amount of discomfort, and this is proclaimed as the highest law of the world, living as well as lifeless.”

Origin of life
In 1874, Helmholtz, in his “On the Use and Abuse of the Deductive Method in Physical Science”, in his German translation of William Thomson and Peter Tait’s Treatise on Natural Philosophy, penned the following statement—which supposedly is a middle ground position vented in his debated with the romanticism idealisms of German astrophysicist Karl Zollner and objections with Arthur Schopenhauer’s philosophy: [9]

“If failure attends all our efforts to obtain a generation of organisms from lifeless matter, it seems to me a thoroughly correct procedure to inquire whether there has ever been an origination of life, or whether it is not as old as matter, and whether its germs, borne from one world to another, have not been developed wherever they have found a favorable soil.”

This is one of the first no origin of life theory statements.

Heat death
Helmholtz was one of the main proponents of the concept of the "heat death" of the universe.

Chemical affinity
In his 1869 lecture "The Aim of Physical Science", Helmholtz gave the following definition of chemical affinity: [7]

"Chemical affinity: the elective force exhibited by different bodies towards one another."

Conservation of force
Helmholtz, along with German physician and physicist Robert Mayer (1841) and English physicist James Joule (1843), is often cited as one of the main three of the founders of the first law of thermodynamics. [1] Helmholtz, by his own admission, was said to be very much under the influence of Immanuel Kant when he wrote his 1843 paper “On the Conservation of Force”. [6]

Hermann Helmholtz (young)
Chemical thermodynamics
Helmholtz, along with the work of American engineer Willard Gibbs (1876), considered one of the founders of chemical thermodynamics, for his 1882 paper "The Thermodynamics of Chemical Processes". In this famous paper, Helmholtz showed, through derivation, how the long-sought chemical "affinity" (the force of reaction) of chemistry was measured by the "free energy" of the system, i.e. that which could be converted into other forms of usable energy (such as mechanical work or electricity) not by the heat of the reaction. [2]

Helmholtz school
See main: Helmholtz school
Through his association with German physician and physiologist Ernst Brücke, Helmholtz was of great influence in the development of "psychodynamics", the thermodynamical aspects of mental life, via Sigmund Freud.

Human thermodynamics
In 1892, Helmholtz discussed his views on the thermodynamics of Goethe's Faust, in which he set forth preliminary views on cessation thermodynamics.

English astrobiophysicist Paul Davies’ cites Alexader Zotin as a reference for the claim that Helmholtz suggested that life somehow circumvent the second law. [3] This, however, is a likely misattribute, being that (a) Davies is a weak source (one prone to misrepresentation of material to suit his or her agenda), and (b) Helmholtz was a hard core physicialist (see: Reymond-Brucke oath), believing that all natural processes following the laws of thermodynamics.
Hermann Helmholtz
The following are noted quotes:

“He who learns the law of phenomena wins not only learning, but the power of entering into the course of nature and of working on it further according to his will and need. He wins insight into the future course of these phenomena. He wins indeed faculties that in superstitious times were looked for in prophets and magicians.”
– Hermann Helmholtz, Goethe Lecture, 1892 [8]

1. (a) Helmholtz, H. v. (1947). "The Conservation of Force: A Physical Memoir." In Selected Writings of Hermann von Helmholtz (1971), ed. R. Kahl, pgs. 3-55. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press.
(b) 30+ Variations of the First Law of Thermodynamics - Institute of Human Thermodynamics
2. (a) Quote: "Given the unlimited validity of Clausius' law, it would then be the value of the free energy, not that of the total energy resulting from heat production, which determineds in which sense the chemical affinity can be active." (Source: Helmholtz, H. v. "Die Thermodynamic chemischer Vorgange," SB, pg. 23, pg. 22-29, in Wissenschaftlich Abhandlundgen von Hermann von Helmholtz. 3 vols. Leipzig: J.A. Barth, 1882-95.)
(b) Cahan, David (1993). Hermann von Helmholtz and the Foundations of Nineteenth-Century Science (Ch. 10: "Between Physics and Chemistry - Helmholtz's Route to a Theory of Chemical Thermodynamics" by Helge Kragh). University of California Press.
(c) Leicester, Henry M. (1956). The Historical Background of Chemistry, (pg. 206). New York: Dover (reprint).
4. (a) Davies, Paul. (1999). The 5th Miracle: the Search for the Origin and Meaning of Life (pg. 52). Orion Productions.
(b) Zotin, Alexander I. (1978). “The Second Law, Negentropy, Thermodynamics of Linear Processes”, in: Thermodynamics of Biological Processes (pg. 19), eds. Ingolf Lamprecht and A.I. Zotin, New York: de Gruyter.
5. Helmholtz, Hermann. (1847). “On the Conservation of Force”, “Uber die Erhaltung der Kraft”, presented at the meeting of the Physical Society of Berlin on July 23; in: Selected Writings (Carnot, 4+ pgs). Russell Kahl, ed. Wesleyan University Press.
6. (a) Helmholtz, Hermann. (1971). Selected Writings (pg. 49). Russell Kahl, ed. Wesleyan University Press.
(b) Mirowski, Philip. (1989). More Heat than Light: Economics as Social Physics, Physics as Nature’s Economics (pg. 44). Cambridge University Press.
7. Helmholtz, Hermann. (1869). “The Aim and Progress of Physical Science”, an Opening Address delivered at Naturforscher Versammlung, in Innsbruck; un: Popular Lectures on Scientific Subjects (pg. 363), D. Appleton, 1873.
8. Nernst, Walter. (1904). Theoretical Chemistry from the Standpoint of Avogadro’s Rule and Thermodynamics (pg. 4). Macmillan and Co.
9. (a) Helmholtz, Hermann. (1874). “On the Use and Abuse of the Deductive Method in Physical Science” (translator: Crum Brown), from Helmholtz’ preface to the second part of the German edition of William Thomson and Peter Tait’s Treatise on Natural Philosophy, vol. 1; in: Nature, 11:149-51, Dec 24; in Nature, 11:211-12, Jan. 14.
(b) Stewart, Balfour and Tait, Peter G. (1875). The Unseen Universe: or Physical Speculations on a Future State (pg. 187). Macmillan.
12. (a) Buchwald, Jed Z. (1993). “Electrodynamics in Context: Object States, Laboratory Practice, and Anti-Romanticism”, in: Hermann von Helmholtz and the Foundations of Nineteenth-Century Science (editor: David Cahan) (§8:334-73, esp. pgs. 370-72). University of California Press.
(b) Jed Buchwald (faculty) – Caltech.
13. Heidelberger, Michael. (1993). “Force, Law, and Experiment: the Evolution of Helmholtz’s Philosophy of Science”, in: Hermann von Helmholtz and the Foundations of Nineteenth-Century Science (editor: David Cahan) (§12:461-97). University of California Press.
14. Horz, Herbert. (1982). “Helmholtz and Boltzmann”, in: Ludwig Boltzmann. Internationale tagung anlasslich des 756. Jahrestages seines todes 5-8 Sep 1981. Ausgewahlte Abhandlungen (= Ludwig Boltzmann Gesamtausgabe, band 8) (editors: Roman Sexl and John Blackmore) (pgs. 191-205, esp. 200) Graz: Akademische Druck- undVerlagsanstalt; Braunschweig aund Weisbaden: Friedrich Vieweg & Sohn.

Further reading
● Helmholtz, Hermann. (1869). On the Relation of the Natural Sciences to the Totality of the Sciences: An Address Delivered Before the University of Heidelberg (translator: C.H. Schaible). London: C.F. Hodgson & Son.
● McKendrick, John G. (1899). Hermann Ludwig Ferdinand von Helmholtz. London: T. Fisher Unwin.
● Koenigsberger, Leo. (1906). Hermann von Helmholtz. Clarendon Press.

External links
Hermann von Helmholtz – Wikipedia.

TDics icon ns