“THE REFRIGERATOR AND THE UNIVERSE”: GOLDSTEIN BOOK

October 21, 2011 at 11:13 pm | Posted in Books, Philosophy, Science & Technology | Leave a comment

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The Refrigerator and the Universe:

Understanding the Laws of Energy

Martin Goldstein (Author)

Inge F. Goldstein (Author)

Readers at all levels, from high school to professional scientists, will find something intriguing in this book…It provides a very readable and informative account of a difficult topic. (Science Books and Films )

The strengths of [this book] are its scope and coverage and much excellent writing…It contains a rich mix of interesting ideas covering important historical events and applications of the laws of energy and entropy. (Harvey S. Leff American Journal of Physics )

The writing is clear, uncluttered, insightful, and makes use of many excellent analogies to explain and clarify difficult but important concepts. (Choice )

Product Description

C. P. Snow once remarked that not knowing the second law of thermodynamics is like never having read Shakespeare. Yet, while many people grasp the first law of energy, “Energy can neither be created nor destroyed,” few recognize the second, “Entropy can only increase.” What is entropy anyway, and why must it increase? Whether we want to know how a device as simple as a refrigerator works or understand the fate of the universe, we must start with the concepts of energy and entropy. In The Refrigerator and the Universe, Martin and Inge Goldstein explain the laws of thermodynamics for science buffs and neophytes alike. They begin with a lively presentation of the historical development of thermodynamics. The authors then show how the laws follow from the atomic theory of matter and give examples of their applicability to such diverse phenomena as the radiation of light from hot bodies, the formation of diamonds from graphite, how the blood carries oxygen, and the history of the earth. The laws of energy, the Goldsteins conclude, have something to say about everything, even if they do not tell us everything about anything.

In The Refrigerator and the Universe, Martin and Inge Goldstein explain the laws of thermodynamics for science buffs and neophytes alike. They begin with a lively presentation of the historical development of thermodynamics. The authors then show how the laws follow from the atomic theory of matter and give examples of their applicability to such diverse phenomena as the radiation of light from hot bodies, the formation of diamonds from graphite, how the blood carries oxygen, and the history of the earth. The laws of energy, the Goldsteins conclude, have something to say about everything, even if they do not tell us everything about anything.

Product Details:

  • Hardcover: 433 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • First Edition September 1993
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0674753240
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674753242

The book presents the three laws of thermodynamics: the first law (conservation of energy)in chapters 1-4, the second law (dispersal of energy) in chapters 5-9, and the third law (low temperature behavior) in chapter 14. Other chapters apply thermodynamics to light, chemistry, biology, geology, and cosmology. The authors present thermodynamics using both classical and statistical mechanical arguments. References are listed for further study of topics.

Although the book is intended for a general audience, the book will be interesting even to a reader who already has some familiarity with thermodynamics because the book probably treats at least a few applications with which he is unfamiliar. The book also makes a number of refreshing admissions about the limits of thermodynamics; for example, thermodynamics can’t be strictly applied to living organisms (p. 297), and in general relativity, energy need not be conserved (p. 370).

The book requires a knowledge of simple algebra and logarithms; however, a tutorial on these subjects is presented in an appendix.

The Refrigerator and the Universe:

Understanding the Laws of Energy

Martin Goldstein (Author)

Inge F. Goldstein (Author)

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