After World War II, quite a few mathematicians were attracted to the modeling of phase transitions as this area of physics was seeing considerable mathematical difficulties. This paper studies their contributions to the physics of phase transitions, and in particular those of the by far most productive and successful of them, the Polish-American mathematician Mark Kac (1914–1984). The focus is on the resources, values, and traditions that the mathematicians brought with them and how these differed from those of contemporary physicists as well as the mathematicians’ relations with the physicists in terms of collaboration and reception of results.

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