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Schools of thermodynamics
| In thermodynamics, schools of thermodynamics refers to about twenty noted "schools" of thought in the development and teaching of thermodynamics at locations, institutions, or modes of logic throughout in the world, around or out of which many new thermodynamical quantities, laws, principles, theories, ideas, branches, founders, and pioneers emerged.  The heads of the founding twelve thermodynamics schools are pictured adjacent and the a diagram of school connectivity is pictured below. |
Thermodynamics Schools Connectivity Diagram
The formation of and interconnectiveness of the dozen founding schools of thermodynamics, outlined above, is an intricate historical subject. The anchor school among the founding dozen, to note, is the Berlin school (thermodynamics), followed by the Vienna school (statistical mechanics), and Gibbsian school (chemical thermodynamics), respectively.
|Twelve Founding Schools of Thermodynamics|
|École Polytechnique||Glasgow school||Berlin school||Edinburgh school|
|Vienna school||Gibbsian school||Dresden school||Dutch school|
|Johannes der Waals|
|Energetics school||Lewis school||Brussels school||MIT school|
|Théophile de Donder|
The following map shows the location of the schools by degrees latitude, having a mean latitude of 49.6˚, which is indicative of a potentially optimized latitude with which to learn thermodynamics:
See main: Leiden UniversityIn the 1720s, a significant pre-thermodynamics school of influence was Leyden University, where Dutch physician and chemist Herman Boerhaave and Dutch physicist Willem Gravesande were famously conducting some of the first research on volume expansion by heat (ball and ring experiment), kinetic energy (ball and clay surface experiment), the general principle of volume expansion of bodies by heat (Boerhaave’s law), electricity (Leyden jar), among other noted scientific advances. As commented by French philosopher-physicist Voltaire, who acted as a scientific liaison between the Netherlands, France, and England, in a 1736 letter to the crown prince of Prussia (afterwards Frederick the Great), with whom he had entered into an active corresponds with:
“I am the town of two simple citizens, Boerhaave and Gravesande attract from four to five hundred strangers.”
The work of Boerhaave was carried over into later-to-come to predominance French science (Ecole polytechnique) school of thought, significantly in the work and caloric theory of Antoine Lavoisier (Elements of Chemistry, 1787). Students of Boerhaave include: Andrew Plummer, William Cullen, Joseph Black, and John Roebuck, and—through association with Black—James Watt—which can all products or precipitates, so to speak, of the Leyden school centered around Boerhaave. 
See main: École PolytechniqueThe first thermodynamics school, which is still very prestigious, was the French engineering school École Polytechnique founded in 1794 by French engineer Lazare Carnot, the father of thermodynamics founder Sadi Carnot, and French mathematician Gaspard Monge. During the period of 1800 to 1840, the École Polytechnique was the hotbed of research on the nature of heat, home to many of the world’s most famous mathematicians, physicists, and engineers, including Joseph Fourier, Gustave Coriolis, Émile Clapeyron, Henri Regnault, among many others. The key anchor here was Sadi Carnot.
University of Glasgow
See main: Glasgow school of thermodynamicsThe second school of thermodynamics to have been a hotbed of development was Glasgow College during the years 1840 to 1860s, in which time the Glasgow Philosophical Society was established. Individuals connected to this school or society instrumental in the development of thermodynamics include John Nichol, Lewis Gordon, James Thomson, William Thomson, William Rankine, among others. The key anchor here was William Thomson. Later thermodynamics publications from this school include the 1892 work of mathematician Peter Alexander. 
|Clipping from the 1991 European Journal of Physics article “Grand Schools of Physics: The Berlin School of Thermodynamics founded by Helmholtz and Clausius” by Werner Ebeling and Dieter Hoffman. |
Berlin school of thermodynamics
See main: Berlin school of thermodynamics; See also: Helmholtz schoolIn the period 1871 to 1931, the University of Berlin was the world’s leading institute for thermodynamics and has science come to be known as the "Berlin school of thermodynamics".  All three fundamental principles, energy conservation by Hermann Helmholtz, the principle of entropy by Rudolf Clausius, and the zero entropy condition at absolute zero temperature by Walther Nernst were established while their inventors were connected to this institute. 
Helmholtz, together with Clausius, founded the Berlin School of Thermodynamics where he succeeded Heinrich Magnus as the director of the Physical Institute. The influence of this school on the development of thermodynamics was crucial; to name a few other famous scientists connected to this school: August Horstmann, a former student of Helmholtz, who was the first to incorporate Clausius' thermodynamical theories into chemistry, Max Planck, who seeded the quantum revolution on Boltzmann's statistical thermodynamics, Albert Einstein, Erwin Schrödinger, and Leo Szilard, to name a few. Between 1866 and 1869, American mathematical engineer Willard Gibbs spent a year each at Paris, Berlin, and Heidelberg, where he came into contact with Helmholtz and Clausius.
See main: Edinburgh school of thermodynamicsIn the late 1840s and into the 1860s, Edinburgh University and the Edinburgh Philosphical Society was a focal point for a number of people connected with thermodynamics, including William Hamilton, James Maxwell, Peter Tait, James Forbes, among others. The key anchors here were Peter Tait and James Maxwell.
See main: Vienna schoolThe "Viennese school" refers to the thermodynamics and statistical thermodynamics works, theories, and teachings developed at or in connection with the University of Vienna, Austria, beginning in about 1863. The Viennese school, according to Belgian chemist Ilya Prigogine, was led by Gustav Jaumann, originating concepts such as energy production and entropy flow. Noted thermodynamicists associated with this school include Ludwig Boltzmann, Josef Loschmidt, and Joseph Stefan.
See main: Gibbsian schoolThe Yale school (or “Sheffield Scientific School” ), launched in 1873, is associated with the work of American engineer Willard Gibbs at Yale University, and his students. Gibbs had very few direct students, one being Edwin Wilson, and his student Paul Samuelson, who used thermodynamics in economics. Most of Gibbs students were indirect students, via study of his work.
Dutch school of thermodynamics
See main: Dutch school of thermodynamicsThe Dutch school of thermodynamics or “Dutch school”, which began in 1876, is associated with the work of Dutch physical chemist Johannes van der Waals and Dutch chemist Bakhuis Roozeboom at the University of Amsterdam, who built on the work of German physicist Rudolf Clausius and American engineer Willard Gibbs. Others associated with the Dutch school include: F. A. H. Schreinemakers and Jacobus van’t Hoff, to an extent.
Dresden school of thermodynamics
See main: Dresden school of thermodynamicsIn some circles, German physicist Gustav Zeuner, author of the two-volume Technical Thermodynamics, which went through five-editions, is considered as the founder of the "Dresden school of thermodynamics". Specifically, in 1873, Zeuner took on the post of director at the Royal Saxon Polytechnicum in Dresden (now Technische Universität Dresden) in east Germany, wherein, aside from thermodynamics, he led to the introduction of the humanities; the extension of the range of subjects taught resulted in the polytechnic's rise to a full-scale polytechnic university in 1890. In 1889, aged 61, Zeuner gave up his position as director of the polytechnic to work as a lecturer until his retirement in 1897.
Zeuner was succeeded at Dresden, in 1897, by German physicist Richard Mollier as professor of mechanical engineering. Mollier later became notable for his enthalpy-entropy diagrams for steam; publishing treatises such as The Entropy of Heat (1895) and New Graphs for Technical Thermodynamics (1904). At the 1923 Los Angeles Thermodynamics Conference, it was decided that any thermodynamic diagram having enthalpy as one of its coordinates should thereafter be called a "Mollier Diagram". 
See main: Energetics schoolFrom 1890 to 1908, is a set of logic, attributed to German chemist Wilhelm Ostwald (the founder), Pierre Duhem, and Austrian physicist Ernst Mach, existed that rejected the atomic hypothesis focusing instead primarily on the law of conservation of energy and a belief that macroscopic energy levels were the only reality.  With the discovery of the atom, between 1897 and 1909, this school, however, soon became defunct.
Brussels school of thermodynamics
See main: Brussels school of thermodynamicsThe Brussels school of thermodynamics is a school of thermodynamic logic, having its "birth" in 1918 lasting into the 1950s, centered around the work of Russian-born Belgian chemist Ilya Prigogine, and his mentor mathematician and physicist Théophile de Donder, who both built on the work of German physicist Rudolf Clausius, at the Free University of Brussels a university now divided between the French-speaking Université Libre de Bruxelles and the Dutch-speaking Vrije Universiteit Brussel. 
Lewis school of thermodynamics
See main: Lewis school of thermodynamicsThe “Lewis school", a term used as early as 1923, or G.N. Lewis school, a term that came into use commonly into the 1950s, refers to anyone schooled under the logic of American physical chemist Gilbert Lewis. In the 20th century, the most cited textbook on thermodynamics was the 1923 Thermodynamics and the Free Energy of Chemical Substances written by Lewis and American physical chemist Merle Randall. This activity centered around the University of California, Berkeley beginning in 1912 when Lewis was made dean of the College of Chemistry.
Beginning in about 1895, based on work by American engineer Willard Gibbs, Lewis was aware that chemical reactions proceeded to an equilibrium determined by the free energy of the substances taking part. Lewis then spent 25 years determining free energies of various substances via experimental measurement. In 1923, he and Randall published the results of this study, which helped formalize modern chemical thermodynamics. One of his notable students was Frederick Rossini, who wrote one of the first chemical thermodynamics textbooks (1850). Herman Kalckar, who had spent a year at Cal Tech (California Institute of Technology) in Pasadena, was famous said to be in “the orbit of the great G. N. Lewis school of thermodynamics”.  German-born American biochemist Fritz Lipmann, who worked with Kalckar, might also said to be associated with the Lewis school, albeit he was educated in Berlin, in that his free energy coupling theory is based on Lewis thermodynamics.
MIT school of thermodynamics
See main: MIT school of thermodynamicsThe MIT school or Keenan school of thermodynamics are centered around the publications of American mechanical engineer Joseph Keenan and Hungarian-born American physicist László Tisza.
Between 1934 and 1961, American Joseph Keenan was a professor and later head of the department of mechanical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and while there he established what has been come to be known as the "Keenan School of Thermodynamics”.  Keenan is known for his calculation of steam tables, research in jet-rocket propulsion, and his work in furthering the understanding of the laws of thermodynamics. His classic 1941 textbook Thermodynamics served as a fundamental teaching tool in various engineering curricula during the 1940s and 1950s. Keenan brought to the mechanical engineering profession the fundamental work of Willard Gibbs.
The faculty of MIT, during the summer session of 1953, under the guidance of Keenan, organized a Rumford summer school of thermodynamics in celebration of Count Rumford (Benjamin Thomson) Bicentennial: During Summer Session 1953, from Monday, June 29, to Friday, July 10, Inclusive. 
Notables associated this school include George Hatsopoulos and Gian-Paolo Beretta, the latter of which states that he ran a “thermodynamics think tank” at MIT in the late 1990s. The website QuantumThermodynamics.org, run by Beretta, lists publications by members of the “Keenan school of thermodynamics”.
Hungarian-born American physicist László Tisza, a physics professor at MIT from 1941 to 1973, with his 1966 textbook Generalized Thermodynamics, and his doctoral student Herbert Callen, with his popular 1985 Thermodynamics and Introduction to Thermostatistics, are both of the MIT school of thermodynamics.
|Helmholtz school||Lausanne school||Russian school||MaxEnt school|
| Nikolay Bogolyubov|
| Edwin Jaynes|
|Hungarian school||Mexican school||Japanese school|
|Istvan Gyarmati (1929-2002)||Leopoldo Garcia-Colin (1930-)||Atsushi Tsuchida (1933-)|
|Bellaterra school||Catalan school|
One school, discussed in the context of energetics and psychology, is the Helmholtz school; and another, discussed in the context of physics, energy, thermodynamics and economics is the Lausanne school.
The Russian school of statistical mechanics is said to be based on ideas by Nikolay Bogolyubov; later developed by Dimitri N. Zubarev, S.V. Peletminskii, and others. 
In information thermodynamics, the MaxEnt school or Maximum Entropy school of thermodynamics or Jaynes school derives from the 1957 paper “Information Theory and Statistical Thermodynamics” by American physicist Edwin Jaynes, which attempted to connect equilibrium thermodynamics, with the statistical mechanics of American engineer Willard Gibbs, with information interpretations.  This school is generally rejected by main stream thermodynamicists as an unfounded mathematical contrivance.
Among other groups of so-called “thermodynamic schools” include the: Catalan school of thermodynamics, centered on the topic of extended irreversible thermodynamics developed by J. Casas-Vazquez, D. Jou, and G. Lebon, and the Mexican school of thermodynamics on the topic of a generalized kinetic approach developed by Mexican physical chemist Leopoldo Garcia-Colin. 
Beginning in the 1970s and into the 1990s, there were a series of conferences held at what has been called the Bellaterra school of thermodynamics at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, Bellaterra (Barcelona) Spain. 
There’s also what has been called the Japanese school, “Japanese entropy school”, or Japanese “entropy school” of economic analysis, associated with a number of members, led by Japanese physicist and economist Atsushi Tsuchida, author of Introduction to the Entropy Economics, at Meijou University, connected to his 1984 work. 
Other societies and institutions
In 1986, American biochemistry, biophysics, and genetics researchers Gary Ackers, Wayne Bolen, Ernesto Freire, Stan Gill, and Jim Lee assembled in Vail, Colorado to discuss the discipline of thermodynamics in biological systems, which prior to this time, according to Ackers and Bolen, was widely perceived only as a “energy book-keeping system”, as in counting the number of ATP hydrolyses that “pay” for each biochemical synthesis.  The following year, the 1st annual Gibbs Conference on Biological Thermodynamics was held, an event that has continued annually.  The Gibbs Society of Biological Thermodynamics constitutes those organizers and attendees, numbering up to 200, of the annual conference. 
The Indian Thermodynamic Society (ITS) was established in 2001, headquartered at the Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, with aims to strengthen research and teaching of thermodynamics in India.  The ITS organized both the 2005 (1st annual) and 2006 (2nd annual) National Conference on Thermodynamics of Chemical and Biological Systems.
The Institute of Human Thermodynamics (IoHT) was established in 2005 by American chemical engineer Libb Thims, centralized in Chicago, Illinois, as online community of exchange for researchers interested in the study of the application of thermodynamics to the operation of systems of human beings.  Notables associated with this institute include: Georgi Gladyshev, Jing Chen, Elizabeth Porteus, Gerard Nahum, among others. Since its inception, the synergy of the IoHT has been the promulgator of many positive things, including the JHT, EoHT, the YouTube HumanChemistry101 channel, donations of teaching materials, e.g. The Human Molecule, to local schools, and the publications of free online articles and materials about human thermodynamics.
● Human thermodynamics education
● Thermodynamicists (generations)
● Who is the greatest thermodynamicist?
1. (a) Muschik, Wolfgang. (2008). “Why so many "Schools" of Thermodynamics?” Atti della Accademia Peloritana dei Pericolanti, Classe di Scienze FF.MM.NN, LXXXVI (Supplement 1).
(b) Muschik, Wolfgang. (2008). “Survey of Some Branches of Thermodynamics”, Journal of Non-Equilibrium Thermodynamics, Vol. 33. Pgs. 165-98.
2. Alexander, Peter. (1892). Treatise on Thermodynamics. Glasgow University. Published by Longmans, Green.
3. Schmitz, John E.J. (2007). The Second Law of Life – Energy, Technology, and the Future of Earth As We Know It, (pg. 72). Norwich, NY: William Andrew Publishing.
4. Ebeling, Werner and Hoffman, Dieter. (1991). “Grand Schools of Physics: The Berlin School of Thermodynamics founded by Helmholtz and Clausius”, European. J. Phys., 12, 1-9.
5. Mishra, R.K. (1989). Molecular and Biological Physics of Living Systems, (pg. 81). Taylor & Francis.
6. (a) Ott, Bevan J. and Boerio-Goates Juliana. (2000). Chemical Thermodynamics – Principles and Applications, (pg. 229). Academic Press.
(b) Kaplan, Nathan O., Lipmann, Fritz A., Kennedy, Eugene P. (1966). Current Aspects of Biological Energetics: Fritz Lipmann Dedicatory Volume (pg. 2). Academic Press.
7. Selected publications on Quantum Thermodynamics – Gian-Paolo Beretta.
8. By Rumford Summer School of Thermodynamics (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Published by Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1953.
9. (a) Loeb, Leonard B. (2004). The Kinetic Theory of Gases, (pg. 6). Dover.
(b) Feuer, Lewis S. (1982). Einstein and the Generations of Science, (pg. 332). Transactions Publishers.
(c) Porter, Neil A. (1998). Physics in Conflict, (pg. 88). CRC Press.
10. (a) Luzzi, Roberto, Vasconcellos, Aurea Rosas, Ramos, José Galvão de Pisapia. (2000). Statistical Foundations of Irreversible Thermodynamics (pgs. 17, 22). Vieweg+Teubner Verlag.
(b) Leopoldo Garcia-Colin Scherer (Spanish → English) – Wikipedia.
(c) Leopoldo Garcia Colin (our researchers) (Spanish → English) – Ciencias.Jornada.com.mx.
11. Bellaterra school of thermodynamics – WorldCat.
12. (a) Kleidon, Axel and Lorenz, Ralph D. (2004). Non-equilibrium Thermodynamics and the Production of Entropy: Life, Earth, and Beyond (pg. 42). Springer.
(b) Crapo, Henry H., Rota, Gian-Carlo, Senato, D. (2001). Algebraic Combinatorics in Computer Science, (pg. 73). Springer.
(c) Jaynes, E. T. (1957) “Information theory and statistical mechanics”, (PDF), Physical Review 106:620.
(d) Jaynes, E. T. (1957) “Information theory and statistical mechanics II”, (PDF), Physical Review 108:171.
13. Ackers, Gary and Bolen Wayne. (1997). “The Gibbs Conference on Biothermodynamics: Origins and Evolution.” Biophysical Chemistry, 64: 3-5.
14. (a) Gibbs Society of Biological Thermodynamics - Homepage.
(b) Gibbs Society of Biological Thermodynamics – Wikipedia.
15. Indian Thermodynamics Society – About.
16. Thims, Libb. (2007). Human Chemistry (Volume Two), (pg. 672). (preview), (Google books). Morrisville, NC: LuLu.
17. Mollier Charts – ChemicaLogic.com.
18. (a) Mayumi, Kozo. (2001). The Origins of Ecological Economics: The Bioeconomics of Georgescu-Roegen (pg. ix). London: Routledge.
(b) Gowdy, John. (2007). “Book Review: The Origins of Ecological Economics: the Bioeconomics of Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen”, Economica, (pgs. 180-81). Feb.
(c) Martinez-Alier, Juan. (2002). The Environmentalism of the Poor (pg. 20). Edward Elgar Publishing.
(d) Tsuchida, Atsushi. (1999). “Five Conditions for Sustainable Living Systems: From the Physics of Open Systems to Ecology and Economics”, in: Bioeconomics and Sustainability: Essays in Honor of Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen (ch. 16, pgs. 352-). Edward Elgar Publishing.
19. Luzzi, Roberto, Rossas, Vaaconcellos, Aurea R., Ramos, Jose. (2000). Statistical Foundations of Irreversible Thermodynamics (Russian school, pg. 126). Vieweg+Teubner Verlag.
20. Read, John. (1957). From Alchemy to Chemistry (pg. 124). Courier Dover Publications.
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