*Explains how the laws of thermodynamics establish fundamental concepts such as temperature and heat, and the nature of energy itself
*Peter Atkins' uses acccessible language and virtually no mathematics to guide the reader from the Zeroth Law to the Third Law
*Explores and introduces new concepts such as 'entropy', 'free energy' and 'absolute zero'
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. 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.
Readership: General readers interested in physics and science, and undergraduate science students from all disciplines.
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Oxford University Press, Incorporated
March 25, 2010
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