The Laws of Thermodynamics

The Laws of Thermodynamics

by Peter Atkins


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The laws of thermodynamics drive everything that happens in the universe. From the sudden expansion of a cloud of gas to the cooling of hot metal—everything is moved or restrained by four simple laws. Written by Peter Atkins, one of the world's leading authorities on thermodynamics, this powerful and compact introduction explains what these four laws are and how they work, using accessible language and virtually no mathematics. Guiding the reader a step at a time, Atkins begins with Zeroth (so named because the first two laws were well established before scientists realized that a third law, relating to temperature, should precede them—hence the jocular name zeroth), and proceeds through the First, Second, and Third Laws, offering a clear account of concepts such as the availability of work and the conservation of energy. Atkins ranges from the fascinating theory of entropy (revealing how its unstoppable rise constitutes the engine of the universe), through the concept of free energy, and to the brink, and then beyond the brink, of absolute zero.

About the Series: Combining authority with wit, accessibility, and style, Very Short Introductions offer an introduction to some of life's most interesting topics. Written by experts for the newcomer, they demonstrate the finest contemporary thinking about the central problems and issues in hundreds of key topics, from philosophy to Freud, quantum theory to Islam.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780199572199
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date: 04/19/2010
Series: Very Short Introductions Series
Pages: 120
Sales rank: 479,178
Product dimensions: 4.40(w) x 6.80(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Peter Atkins is Professor of Chemistry at the University of Oxford and Fellow of Lincoln College. He is the author of nearly 60 books, which include Galileo's Finger: The Ten Great Ideas of Science and the famed textbook Physical Chemistry (now in its eighth edition).

Table of Contents

1. The Zeroth Law
2. The First Law
3. The Second Law
4. The Third Law

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Laws of Thermodynamics 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
100ideas on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The author meets his challenge of revealing some of the profound concepts of thermodynamics in a qualitative way with an informal, first person style.