The former edition ofWillard Gibbs writings, published in 1906 under the title The Scientific Papers of J. Willard Gibbs, did not include his important treatise Elementary Principles in Statistical Mechanics which had originally been published as a separate book and was at that time still available. In the present reprint this work has been included as Part One of Volume II, and this is therefore the first complete edition of the author's published writings. Permission to reprint the Statistical Mechanics was kindly granted by Yale University, holder of the copyright, a courtesy which is hereby gratefully acknowledged.
There is no doubt that interest in the works of Willard Gibbs and appreciation of their fundamental importance have greatly increased in the twenty-two years since the publication of the former edition. It is hoped that this new reprint may serve to make the original text of his writings accessible to a far wider circle of readers than heretofore, and with this object in view the two volumes are offered at a low price. This has been made possible by the generosity of Professor Irving Fisher of Yale University, a former pupil of Willard Gibbs, and by the economy resulting from the use of photographic reproduction, which was also desirable as a means of avoiding typographical errors. The photographic method accounts for the slight typographical dissimilarity between Parts One and Two of Volume II, and for the separate pagination of the two parts, which on account of the footnotes could not readily be changed.
As a supplement to this reprint of the original text, a commentary designed to aid the student of Willard Gibbs's writings may, it is hoped, be published at a later date. This volume, or volumes, to be written by recognized authorities in the several fields, would aim to explain the theoretical background of Gibbs's method, to amplify the treatment of points of special difficulty, to discuss the evaluation of Gibbs's functions . . .