little Hill and BIG Hill

Appeared earlier in the IACIS Newsletter 57 of September 2014.

Terell L. Hill (1917-2014)

On the 23rd of January, Terell Leslie Hill, a very productive scientist and a prolific writer, passed away at the age of 96 in Eugene, Oregon (USA). Many of us have been trained and used his An Introduction to Statistical Thermodynamics, often termed “little Hill”, and looked up the finer detail in Statistical Mechanics: Principles and Selected Applications, “Big Hill”. The younger generation will favor the Statistical Mechanics book by Donald A. McQuarrie, his student, which carries largely the same spirit. The most interesting aspect of this and other work of Terell Hill is that most of his scientific papers were subsequently published as text books, sometimes not much later than the originals appeared in print. It is particularly in this way that his work is much better known than that of contemporaries.


In 2001, Hill coined the term nanothermodynamics as a more fashionable version of the phrase that he used for his work on the Thermodynamics of Small Systems. Indeed, this touches our field, the thermodynamics and statistical mechanics of systems of colloidal particles, polymers, or macromolecules. Specifically, Hill stated: “This subject, which now might appropriately be called nanothermodynamics, was investigated at some length by the author in 1961-3.” (Nanoletters 1 (2001) 111-112).
Other books by Hill, all extremely relevant to our field, are on Free energy transduction, on Cooperativity Theory and on Linear Aggregation Theory. Importantly, all are affordably available through Dover Publications . Without doubt, these little books make Hill’s contribution to modern science BIG!

Ger Koper, NL editor.

Geef een reactie

Het e-mailadres wordt niet gepubliceerd. Vereiste velden zijn gemarkeerd met *