Four Laws That Drive The Universe

Hardcover | October 1, 2007

byPeter 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, and from the unfurling of a leaf to the course of life itself - everything is directed and constrained by four simple laws. They establishfundamental concepts such as temperature and heat, and reveal the arrow of time and even the nature of energy itself. Peter Atkins' powerful and compelling introduction explains what the laws are and how they work, using accessible language and virtually no mathematics. Guiding the reader from the Zeroth Law to the Third Law, he introduces the fascinating concept of entropy, and how it not only explains why yourdesk tends to get messier, but also how its unstoppable rise constitutes the engine of the universe.

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From the Publisher

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, and from the unfurling of a leaf to the course of life itself - everything is directed and constrained by four simple laws. They establishfundamental concepts such as temperature and heat, a...

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 world-renowned textbook Physical Chemistry (now in its eighth edition). His other books include The Periodic Kingdom, Molecules, a...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:144 pages, 7.72 × 5.08 × 0.67 inPublished:October 1, 2007Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199232369

ISBN - 13:9780199232369

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Customer Reviews of Four Laws That Drive The Universe

Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Elegant, Accessible and Charming This little book (124 pages of main text) contains an absolute gold mine of information on thermodynamics. With a minimum amount of mathematics, this captivating field is extremely well summarized and presented in a most elegant prose. Very little space is devoted to historical background, resulting in a book that is dense with scientific detail. As with most such books, some parts are a bit tough going and may need to be read more than once (as I did) for the points presented to better sink in. The author is truly gifted in explaining potentially difficult concepts, rendering them lucid, well-described and even quite exciting. Many practical examples are presented to illustrate the application of many (what many would call) very abstract concepts. Because of the very technical quantitative nature of its contents, I believe that this charming book can best be enjoyed by serious science buffs, by university students who would like an excellent complement to their main thermodynamics texts, and by scientists who would like a refresher on a subject that they loved in university but may never have used since.
Date published: 2007-10-31

Extra Content

Table of Contents

Prologue1. THE ZEROTH LAW: the concept of temperature2. THE FIRST LAW: the conservation of energy3. THE SECOND LAW: the increase in entropy4. FREE ENERGY: the availability of work5. THE THIRD LAW: the unattainability of zeroConclusion

Editorial Reviews

"I found it an enjoyable and informative read- a worthwhile attempt to popularize a cornerstone subject of modern science without trivializing it at the same time."--Chemistry World "A wonderful book that I wish I had read at university."--Marcus Chown, New Scientist "Highly recommended for all levels." J. A. Bartz, Choice "The lucid text and clear figures offer readers a firm understanding of energy and entropy."--Science