Onsager: "Biographical Memoirs"
|An essay prepared for the National Academy of
Sciences is presented on the website of Yale University. (Onsager served
as a professor at Yale from 1933-1972.) Authored by H. Christopher Longuet-Higgins
and Michael E. Fisher, portions will be unfathomable to those not versed
in physics. For example: "The non-equilibrium state itself would be represented
by an ensemble that maximized the entropy S subject to the [alpha particle]i
having specified values; the 'forces' conjugate to the [alpha particle]i
would be the partial derivatives of S with respect to the displacements...."
The article is, however, quite well written, and worth reading even by
those who will skip over the technical portions. It captures the essence
of this man of extraordinary scientific accomplishment who, typically of
Norwegians, eschewed pomposity. It tells of his wit, his humor, and his
outlook. This version lacks equations and illustrations. The full
version appears, along with articles on other deceased members of the
academy, on the website of the Universal Library Project, located
at Carnegie Mellon University. It's slow to load, starting as it does on
Page 183. The text will appear well in advance of the graphics.
|Biography on the website of The Nobel Foundation.
A cover page
recites that Onsager's 1968 prize in chemistry was awarded "for the discovery
of the reciprocal relations bearing his name, which are fundamental for
the thermodynamics of irreversible processes." The presentation
speech by Professor S. Claesson of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
is set forth in full. (This biography of Lars
Onsager is reproduced on the website the Norwegian University of Technology
and Science in Trondheim.)
|Brief entry in the "Noted Figures in Physics,
Engineering and Astronomy" website of Michael F. Martens.
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