Heat-A Matter of Motion

  • David Cassidy
  • Gerald Holton
  • James Rutherford
Part of the Undergraduate Texts in Contemporary Physics book series (UTCP)


During the 1840s, many scientists recognized that heat is not a substance but a form of energy that can be converted into other forms. James Prescott Joule and Rudolf Clausius went a step further. Heat can produce mechanical energy, and mechanical energy can produce heat; therefore, they reasoned, the “heat energy” of a substance is simply the kinetic energy of its atoms and molecules. This idea, which forms the basis of the kinetic-molecular theory of heat, is largely correct.


Kinetic Theory Newtonian Mechanic Motion Figure Eternal Return Molecular Speed 
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Further Reading

  1. G. Holton, and S.G. Brush, Physics, The Human Adventure (Piscataway, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2000), Chapters 18–22.Google Scholar
  2. H.C. von Baeyer, Maxwell’s Demon: Why Warmth Disperses and Time Passes (New York: Random House, 1998). Softcover: Warmth Disperses and Time Passes: A History of Heat ( New York: Modern Library, 1999 ).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Cassidy
    • 1
  • Gerald Holton
    • 2
  • James Rutherford
    • 3
  1. 1.Natural Science ProgramHofstra UniversityHempsteadUSA
  2. 2.358 Jefferson Physical LaboratoryHarvard UniversityCambridgeUSA
  3. 3.American Association for Advancement of ScienceUSA

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