Einstein is remembered for his contributions to the re-ordering of the foundations of physics in the first years of the twentieth century. Much of his achievement was, however, based on the classical physics of the late nineteenth century and it was his work on statistical mechanics that underlay his first contributions to quantum theory. This essay is an account of an aspect of his achievement that is often overlooked.
* ‘He was really a classical physicist, as was Planck.’ (R. H. Fürth)1
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