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Chapter 3 takes the reader through the development of the second law of thermodynamics, suggesting it is, "…notoriously difficult, and a litmus test of scientific literacy. Rather, I wanted to share why the writing appealed to me.

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And here is the beginning of the last paragraph of Chapter 3: "The steam engine, in its abstract form as a device that generates organized motion work by drawing on the dissipation of energy, accounts for all the processes within our body. Chapter 4 brings forth a discussion of free energy. Given that this topic is a constant struggle for my students, I'm grateful for the additional detail of this chapter compared to most textbooks.

Atkins uses diagrams throughout his text that augment each topic.

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The last official chapter begins with the following introduction to the third law of thermodynamics:. I have introduced the temperature, the internal energy, and the entropy. Essentially the whole of thermodynamics can be expressed in terms of these three quantities. I have also introduced the enthalpy, the Helmholtz energy, and the Gibbs energy; but they are just convenient accounting quantities, not new fundamental concepts. The third law of thermodynamics is not really in the same league as the first three, and some have argued that it is not a law of thermodynamics at all.

Origins of the Laws of Nature - Peter Atkins

Atkins then dives into the concept of absolute zero. Two of my favorite lines in the book are within this chapter. First, "The challenge, partly because it is there, is to cool matter to absolute zero itself. Everest: "Because it's there.


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He finishes with a brief conclusion, ending with the following: "What I have sought to cover are the core concepts, concepts that effectively sprang from the steam engine but reach out to embrace the unfolding of a thought. This little mighty handful of laws truly drive the universe, touching and illuminating everything we know. Robert C. Kimberley Reynolds. John Monaghan. David Miller. John Polkinghorne. Home Contact us Help Free delivery worldwide.

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  • The Laws of Thermodynamics: A Very Short Introduction!

Popular Features. New Releases. Description From the sudden expansion of a cloud of gas or the cooling of a hot metal, to the unfolding of a thought in our minds and even the course of life itself, everything is governed by the four Laws of Thermodynamics. These laws specify the nature of 'energy' and 'temperature', and are soon revealed to reach out and define the arrow of time itself: why things change and why death must come.

In this Very Short Introduction Peter Atkins explains the basis and deeper implications of each law, highlighting their relevance in everyday examples. Using the minimum of mathematics, he introduces concepts such as entropy, free energy, and to the brink and beyond of the absolute zero temperature.

The Four Laws That Do Not Drive The Universe

These are not merely abstract ideas: they govern our lives. In this concise and compelling introduction Atkins paints a lucid picture of the four elegant laws that, between them, drive the Universe. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

ISBN 10: 0199232369

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Table of contents Preface ; 1. The Zeroth Law ; 2. The First Law ; 3. The Second Law ; 4. The Third Law ; Afterword show more. Review Text Review from previous edition It takes not only a great writer but a great scientist with a lifetime's experience to explains such a notoriously tricky area with absolute economy and precision, not to mention humour.

Editions of The Laws of Thermodynamics: A Very Short Introduction by Peter Atkins

Books of the Year, Observer. Review quote [Atkins'] ultra-compact guide to thermodynamics [is] a wonderful book that I wish I had read at university. About Peter W. Atkins Peter Atkins is the author of about 70 books, including the world-renowned and widely used Physical Chemistry, now in its 10th edition.