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How did Gibbs come up with the idea that particles are indistinguishable?

  1. Jan 26, 2010 #1
    To resolve Gibbs paradox, Gibbs himself came up the idea to treat particles as indistinguishable. Since by then QM hadn't been discovered, how did Gibbs argue that particles indistinguishable? In any classical sense, particles should be distinguishable, if Gibbs did it only to resolve the paradox, wouldn't it be ad hoc?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 27, 2010 #2


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    The discretization of energy was an ad hoc act of desperation and mathematical manipulation on Planck's part to resolve the "ultarviolet catastrophe". It led to QM.

    So what's wrong with the ad hoc approach?
  4. Jan 29, 2010 #3
    Creativity :smile:
  5. Jan 29, 2010 #4
    That makes sense, but it seems that this idea didn't cause enough attention and debates than it deserved.
  6. Jan 30, 2010 #5
    I think the main reason for the lack of attention was that Gibbs published in an obscure journal in Connecticut, and most of his insights became clearer after other people had independently reproduced his results.
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