Schismatic Act V. Antiplot in a Dark and Empty Theatre: Reech’s Discovery and Burial of a Too General Theory, and His Failure to Reduce It

  • Clifford Ambrose TruesdellIII
Part of the Studies in the History of Mathematics and Physical Sciences book series (HISTORY, volume 4)


[In §9C the spectators have been warned of the impending deluge1 from the pen of Reech. They have been told also that Reech was setting about to determine the consequences of the first principles of the subject.] Reech, mentioning the Works of Carnot, Clapeyron, Joule, Thomson, Rankine, Mayer, and Clausius, expresses the opinion (p. 357) that “too much importance has been given to pure hypotheses, losing sight of the logical train of reasoning of Mr. Carnot, which has not been broken, I think, by Mr. Regnault’s objection, and which needs only to be completed from a new point of view.” Reech himself adopts “the mother idea or fundamental axiom of the reasonings of Messrs. Carnot and Clapeyron” (p. 364) but refuses to accept either their assumption that the heat in a body is a function of V and θ or the new assumptions connecting heat with work which Mayer, Joule, Clausius, Rankine, and Kelvin had espoused. For Reech, the first principles are these:
  1. 1.

    For a given gas, through each point of the V-p quadrant passes one and only one isotherm and one and only one adiabat. [He assumes tacitly that they decussate.]

  2. 2.

    Carnot’s General Axiom: The work L(b) done by a fluid body in undergoing a Carnot cycle b is determined by its operating temperatures θ+ and θ and by the heat absorbed C+(b) on the isotherm at the higher temperature θ+. That work is the same in all Carnot cycles that can correspond to the three quantities θ+, θ, and C+(b).



Thermodynamic Potential Universal Function Fundamental Relation Constitutive Function Carnot Cycle 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • Clifford Ambrose TruesdellIII
    • 1
  1. 1.The Johns Hopkins UniversityBaltimoreUSA

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