Pierre Duhem (1861-1916)

  • Pierre's Birth

    Pierre Duhem was born on June 10,1861, in Paris. His parents made sure he was well educated by taking him to a Catholic School and even participated in private lessons. Eventually, he also went to College Stanislas for ten years and then to the Ecole Normale Superieure, where he was the 1st in his class in the Science Section. This same college is where Pierre received his Doctorate after earning Licenses in Math and Physics. His interest in science would only continue throughout his life.
  • Thesis Rejected

    Pierre's thesis is written and translated as such: "The thermodynamic potential and its applications to chemical mechanics and to the study of electrical phenomena." This thesis was rejected long ago, in 1884-1885 due to a vast difference in political and religious beliefs. Despite the different viewpoints, Pierre was determined to keep studying and prove everyone who didn't believe him wrong.
  • Books Published and the Gibbs-Duhem Equation

    Books Published and the Gibbs-Duhem Equation
    From mid 1800s to 1906, Pierre wrote and published six books about thermodynamics, chemistry, hydrodynamics, elasticity, and acoustics. Out of all the books he published and wrote, "To save the Phenomena" and "The Aim and Structure of Physical Theory" had the most impact on the philosophy of science.
  • Gibbs-Duhem Equation was Created

    Although the website doesn't mention specifically what year the Gibbs-Duhem equation was created, it does state that Pierre held great admiration for Gibb's work and translated his books. In addition to writing, publishing, and translating books, Pierre created the Gibbs–Duhem equation which explains that a chemical in a mixture can't change independently without affecting another. This also means that the properties in a thermodynamical system are connected.
  • Pierre's Death

    In the Southern town of Cabesprine, Pierre died on a walking holiday. It's reported that he died of a heart attack while other reports state he died of a chest infection.
  • Quine-Duhem Thesis

    Quine-Duhem Thesis
    Arguably one of the most impactful works Pierre Duhem 'created' was the Quine-Duhem thesis, which resurfaced long after his death. This thesis states that any empirical evaluation of a theory is simply a test of several hypotheses that are connected altogether. Thus, meaning it's virtually impossible to test a hypothesis by itself, since all the hypotheses make up an entire theory and because the hypothesis requires assumptions in order to be tested by itself.
  • Citations [Works]

    Ariew, Roger. “Pierre Duhem.” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Stanford University, 8 Mar. 2022, https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/duhem/#:~:text=Secondary%20Sources-,1.,Boulevards%2C%20just%20South%20of%20Montmartre. O'Connor, J.J, and E.F. Robertson. “Pierre Duhem - Biography.” Maths History, Accessed Nov. 22, 2022. https://mathshistory.st-andrews.ac.uk/Biographies/Duhem/.
  • Citations [Photos]

    "Pierre Duhem 1861-1916" Catholic Education Resource Center, assessed Nov. 24, 2022. https://www.catholiceducation.org/en/religion-and-philosophy/faith-and-reason/the-systematic-order-of-the-material-universe.html "The Aim and Structure of Physical Theory" Abebooks, 1954. https://www.abebooks.com/Aim-Structure-Physical-Theory-Duhem-Pierre/30818513929/bd
  • Citations [Other Works]

    Sack, Harald. “Pierre Duhem and the Role of Theory in Science.” SciHi Blog, 12 June 2022, http://scihi.org/pierre-duhem-theory-science/.
  • Citations [Other Photos and Youtube]

    "Can Theories Be Refuted? Essays on the Duhem-Quine Thesis." Amazon, December 31, 1975. https://www.amazon.com/Can-Theories-Refuted-Duhem-Quine-Synthese/dp/9027706301 "Philosophy of Science: Duhem-Quine Thesis" YouTube, Uploaded by Oppositum, August 5, 2010. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-klqI4d_wbY