Marian Smoluchowski

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Smoluchowski, Marian


Born May 28, 1872, in Vor-derbrühl, near Vienna; died Sept. 5, 1917, in Kraków. Polish theoretical physicist.

Smoluchowski graduated from the University of Vienna in 1894. In 1896 and 1897 he was a staff member of the universities of Paris, Glasgow, and Berlin. He became a professor at the University of L’vov in 1900 and subsequently was made rector of the university. In 1913 he became a professor at the University of Kraków.

Smoluchowski’s principal work was in statistical physics. His paper on the theory of fluctuations (1904) and his paper on Brownian movement (1906) are of particular importance. Together with the contributions of A. Einstein, these papers constitute the basic works in this field. On the basis of the theory of Brownian movement, Smoluchowski developed the kinetic theory of the coagulation of colloids and the theory of electroki-netic phenomena. He thereby laid the foundation for the kinetic theory of colloidal systems. He made use of the theory of fluctuations to develop the theory of critical opalescence in 1908. Smoluchowski discovered the phenomenon of the discontinuity of temperature at a solid surface for rarified gases.


In Russian translation:
Brounovskoe dvizhenie: Sb. statei. [Moscow-Leningrad, 1936.] (With A. Einstein.)


Anri, V. “M. F. Smolukhovskii.” Uspekhi fizicheskikh nauk, 1918, vol. 1, issue 1.
Teske, A. Marian Smoluchowski: Życie i twórczość. [Kraków] 1955.

D. N. ZUBAREW [23–1859–]

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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In 1912, Polish physicist Marian Smoluchowski proposed a thought experiment in which tiny moving particles spin a windmill-type paddle, which then spins a toothed wheel.