**Timeline of thermodynamics, statistical mechanics, and random processes**

- 1761 - Joseph Black discovers that ice absorbs heat without changing temperature when melting
- 1798 - Count Rumford (Benjamin Thompson) has the idea that heat is a form of energy
- 1822 - Joseph Fourier formally introduces the use of dimensions for physical quantities in his
*Theorie Analytique de la Chaleur* - 1824 - Sadi Carnot scientifically analyzes the efficiency of steam engines
- 1827 - Robert Brown discovers the Brownian motion of pollen and dye particles in water
- 1834 - Émile Clapeyron presents a formulation of the second law of thermodynamics
- 1843 - James Joule experimentally finds the mechanical equivalent of heat
- 1848 - Lord Kelvin discovers the absolute zero point of temperature
- 1852 - James Joule and Lord Kelvin demonstrate that a rapidly expanding gas cools
- 1859 - James Clerk Maxwell discovers the distribution law of molecular velocities
- 1870 - Rudolph Clausius proves the scalar virial theorem
- 1872 - Ludwig Boltzmann states the Boltzmann equation for the temporal development of distribution functions in phase space
- 1874 - Lord Kelvin formally states the second law of thermodynamics
- 1876 - Josiah Gibbs begins a two-year-long series of papers which discusses phase equilibria, the free energy as the driving force behind chemical reactions, and chemical thermodynamics in general
- 1879 - Jožef Stefan observes that the total radiant flux from a blackbody is proportional to the fourth power of its temperature and states the Stefan-Boltzmann law
- 1884 - Ludwig Boltzmann derives the Stefan-Boltzmann blackbody radiant flux law from thermodynamic considerations
- 1888 - Henri-Louis Le Chatelier states that the response of a chemical system perturbed from equilbrium will be to counteract the perturbation
- 1893 - Wilhelm Wien discovers the displacement law for a blackbody's maximum specific intensity
- 1905 - Albert Einstein mathematically analyzes the Brownian motion
- 1906 - Walther Nernst presents a formulation of the third law of thermodynamics
- 1910 - Albert Einstein and Marian Smoluchowski find the Einstein-Smoluchowski formula for the attenuation coefficient due to density fluctuations in a gas
- 1916 - Sydney Chapman and David Enskog systematically develop a kinetic theory of gases
- 1919 - James Jeans discovers that the dynamical constants of motion determine the distribution function for a system of particles
- 1920 - Meghnad Saha states his ionization equation
- 1923 - Peter Debye and Erich Huckel publish a statistical treatment of the dissociation of electrolytes
- 1928 - J.B. Johnson discovers Johnson noise in a resistor
- 1928 - Harry Nyquist derives the fluctuation-dissipation relationship for a resistor to explain Johnson noise
- 1942 - J.L. Doob states his theorem on Gaussian-Markoff processes
- 1957 - A.S. Kompaneets derives his Compton scattering Fokker-Planck equation