© 2016

A Student's Guide Through the Great Physics Texts

Volume IV: Heat, Atoms and Quanta


Part of the Undergraduate Lecture Notes in Physics book series (ULNP)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxvi
  2. Kerry Kuehn
    Pages 1-13
  3. Kerry Kuehn
    Pages 15-27
  4. Kerry Kuehn
    Pages 29-44
  5. Kerry Kuehn
    Pages 45-54
  6. Kerry Kuehn
    Pages 55-67
  7. Kerry Kuehn
    Pages 69-80
  8. Kerry Kuehn
    Pages 81-91
  9. Kerry Kuehn
    Pages 93-98
  10. Kerry Kuehn
    Pages 99-111
  11. Kerry Kuehn
    Pages 113-126
  12. Kerry Kuehn
    Pages 127-142
  13. Kerry Kuehn
    Pages 143-162
  14. Kerry Kuehn
    Pages 163-179
  15. Kerry Kuehn
    Pages 181-196
  16. Kerry Kuehn
    Pages 197-212
  17. Kerry Kuehn
    Pages 213-230
  18. Kerry Kuehn
    Pages 231-246
  19. Kerry Kuehn
    Pages 247-261
  20. Kerry Kuehn
    Pages 263-277

About this book


This book provides a chronological introduction to modern atomic theory, which represented an attempt to reconcile the ancient doctrine of atomism with careful experiments—performed during the 19th century—on the flow of heat through substances and across empty space.  Included herein are selections from classic texts such as Carnot’s Reflection on the Motive Power of Fire, Clausius’ Mechanical Theory of Heat, Rutherford’s Nuclear Constitution of Atoms, Planck’s Atomic Theory of Matter, and Heisenberg’s Copenhagen Interpretation of Quantum Theory.

Each chapter begins with a short introduction followed by a reading selection.  Carefully crafted study questions draw out key points in the text and focus the reader’s attention on the author’s methods, analysis and conclusions.  Numerical and laboratory exercises at the end of each chapter test the reader’s ability to understand and apply key concepts from the text. 

Heat, Radiation and Quanta is the last of four volumes in A Student’s Guide through the Great Physics Texts.  The book comes from a four-semester undergraduate physics curriculum designed to encourage a critical and circumspect approach to natural science while at the same time preparing students for advanced coursework in physics.  

This book is particularly suitable as a college-level textbook for students of the natural sciences, history or philosophy.  It might also serve as a textbook for advanced high-school or home-schooled students, or as a thematically-organized source-book for scholars and motivated lay-readers.  In studying the classic scientific texts included herein, the reader will be drawn toward a lifetime of contemplation.


Analysis of classics cosmology texts History of science book Physics and astronomy text atomic theory heat, radiation and quanta

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.MilwaukeeUSA

About the authors

Dr. Kerry K. Kuehn is Professor in the Department of Physics at Wisconsin Lutheran College. He is a member of the American Physical Society and is also an Advisory Council member for NASA Wisconsin Space Grant Consortium and Fidelitas (WLC Honors Program).

Bibliographic information