Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 35 (3):541-544 (2004)
Co-authored by a mathematical physicist and a philosopher of science, this book is a welcome addition to the growing literature in the foundations of thermodynamics and statistical mechanics. A large and inter-disciplinary book, it contains an impressive range of information about the history, philosophy, and mathematics of thermostatistical physics. Fourteen chapters of physics and history of physics are sandwiched between two more philosophical chapters on the nature of theories and models. Throughout these middle chapters the authors describe, more or less in historical order, a range of topics, including thermodynamics, kinetic theory, probability theory, ergodicity, phase transitions and more. The concentration is on the mathematical models used to describe physical systems. Usually the models are set in their historical context before being described. The necessary mathematical facts are either introduced or relegated to one of the five appendices. References for further reading are copious: there are almost sixty pages of references.
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