## The Maxwell-Boltzmann Distribution:

JamesClerk Maxwell

Ludwig Boltzmann

### A Hands-On Approach

Introduction: The Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution is an important scientific principle which describes how energy is distributed in a system. This module will provide you with several different ways to understand the Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution.

• You can run a JAVA applet, which is an interactive simulation that allows you to visualize and explore the Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution.
• You can visit pages that provide you with in-depth information about various topics related to the Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution.  You may select them in any order.
• There are questions to guide your explorations and to assess your mastery of the Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution.  These relate to each topic that is part of the Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution and are contained on the various topic pages.

Objectives:  The main goal of this module is to enrich your understanding of this important scientific principle through explanation, illustration, and exploration.  As a result of using this module, you will be able to achieve these objectives:
• to explain what a random system is by defining it in your own words
• to explain equilibrium by defining it in your own words
• to explain a probability distribution by defining it in your own words
• to explain the Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution by defining it in your own words
• to illustrate the Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution by selecting various numbers of atoms and describing each result
• to illustrate</>the Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution by selecting various temperatures and describing each result</></>
• to analyze</> the Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution by comparing the results of selecting different numbers of atoms of the gas
• to analyze the Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution by comparing the results of selecting different temperatures of the gas
• to synthesize the results of your explorations by writing an essay of your own description of the Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution, including your analysis of the effects of temperature, number of atoms, and their interrelationship.

Getting Started:  You can select your own way to use this module.  Visit the topic pages by using the outline below or the arrow buttons above.  Explore freely by running the applet on your own, or use the applet to help you answer some of the questions on the topic pages.  It's up to you!