Edgar Buckingham (1900)
An Outline of the Theory of Thermodynamics by Edgar Buckingham, originally published by the Macmillan Company in New York in 1900. This new print-on-demand copy from Bibliolife.com was purchased from a leading online bookseller.
Edgar Buckingham was an American physicist who graduated from Harvard and went on to study with the Nobel Prize-winning chemist Wilhelm Ostwald at the University of Leipzig where he received a PhD. From 1902 to 1906 Buckingham worked at the USDA Bureau of Soils; in 1907 his famous work on soil water was published in Bulletin 38.
Buckingham’s textbook was published in the US just three years after Max Planck’s treatise Vorlesungen über Thermodynamik appeared in Germany. Whereas Planck’s book – based on his thermodynamics lecture course at Berlin University – is clearly aimed at undergraduates, Buckingham’s is definitely not a book for the beginner, being reminiscent of Gibbs in its abstractness and austerity. His reasons for writing it are recorded in his preface to the book (see below), so I need not mention them here.
As an illustration of the general tenor of Buckingham’s text, here is a page taken from Chapter IV, article 43, in which he imagines a bizarre mechanical contraption attached to a soap bubble. At the bottom of the previous page the first line begins, “We may, if we choose, imagine the system to be connected, …”