Josiah Willard Gibbs

A talented scientist

Life Information

Born on February 11, 1839 in New Haven, Connecticut

Died on April 28, 1903 in New Haven, Connnecticut


Yale 1854-1858 and then received his Ph.D. in Philosophy of Engineering in 1863

Contributions to Physics

Gibbs founded statistical mechanics which opened up a new branch of theoretical physics which linked statistics and thermodynamic properties.

Important Theories and Research

Gibbs began his interest by expressing energy in the internal energy stored within systems and the likeliness of certain reactions and processes occurring by evaluating trends in chemical thermodynamics. This improved the knowledge of temperatures and substances that should be used in order to yield the largest product out of a reaction. His contribution of "On the Equilibrium of Heterogeneous Substances" and created the phase rule equation which linked temperature, energy, volume, pressure, and entropy into one equations that allowed scientists to later evaluate substances throughout each phase change rather than conducting numerous experiments. Gibbs' discoveries involving free energy also affected the field of reaction rates because of the incorporation of entropy with temperature. This application of thermodynamics to physical processes created statistical mechanics as well as later being applied to the field of quantum mechanics.
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