# Fugacity

The question came up while discussing the grand canonical ensemble the other day of just where the word fugacity came from. Having a couple people in the room who received the “benefits of a classical education” (Gruber 1988), we guessed that the root was the Latin fugere, “to flee” — the same verb which appears in the saying tempus fugit. Turns out, the Oxford English Dictionary sides with us, stating that fugacity was formed from fugacious plus the common +ty suffix, and that fugacious (meaning “apt to flee away”) goes back to the Latin root we’d guessed.

Gilbert N. Lewis appears to have introduced the word in “The Law of Physico-Chemical Change”, which appeared in the Proceedings of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences 37 (received 6 April 1901).

# Gbur’s Mathematical Methods

REVIEW: Gregory J. Gbur (2011), Mathematical Methods for Optical Physics and Engineering. Cambridge University Press. [Post also available in PDF.]

On occasion, somebody voices the idea that in year $$N$$, physicists thought they had everything basically figured out, and that all they had to do was compute more decimal digits. I won’t pretend to know whether this is actually true for any values of $$N$$ — when did one old man’s grumpiness become the definitive statement about a scientific age? — but it’s interesting that not every physicist with an interest in history has supported the claim.