The Laws of Thermodynamics: A Very Short Introduction

Paperback | April 4, 2010

byPeter Atkins

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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 soonrevealed 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.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.

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From the Publisher

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 soonrevealed to reach out and define the arrow of time ...

Peter Atkins is Fellow of Lincoln College, University of Oxford. He is the author of nearly 60 books, which include the world-renowned textbook Physical Chemistry due to publish in its nineth edition). His other textbooks include Inorganic Chemistry, Chemical Principles, and Molecular Quantum Mechanics. He has also written a number of...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:144 pages, 6.85 × 4.37 × 0.07 inPublished:April 4, 2010Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199572194

ISBN - 13:9780199572199

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Customer Reviews of The Laws of Thermodynamics: A Very Short Introduction

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

Preface1. The Zeroth Law2. The First Law3. The Second Law4. The Third LawAfterword

Editorial Reviews

"[Atkins'] ultra-compact guide to thermodynamics [is] a wonderful book that I wish I had read at university." --New Scientist 20/10/2007