Kinetic Clarification | Letters | Chicago Reader

Kinetic Clarification 

Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe

Dear sir:

I enjoyed Harold Henderson's article on Professor Kauffman of UIC ["Twisted Science," January 26]. It's great to see stories in the popular press about science and math.

I just wanted to clarify some statements made about the kinetic theory of (ideal) gases. The kinetic theory is indeed that gases are like marbles, a sort of three-dimensional billiard table with perfectly elastic collisions and no interatomic forces. This model is oversimplified since it would indicate that gases never undergo chemical reactions nor condense at temperatures above absolute zero (zero kelvins, I might add).

Although I know nothing of Lord Kelvin's original paper, I imagine that he was using the knot model to come up with improvements on the kinetic theory of ideal gases so as to account for their real properties.

Joshua Telser

Associate Professor of Chemistry

Roosevelt University


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Agenda Teaser

Performing Arts
The Great Leap Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Upstairs Theatre
September 05
October 16

Tabbed Event Search

Popular Stories