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A History of Thermodynamics

Ingo Müller

A History of Thermodynamics
The Doctrine of Energy and Entropy

ABC

Professor Dr. Dr.h.c. Ingo Müller
Thermodynamik Technische Universität Berlin 10623 Berlin Germany E-mail: ingo.mueller@alumni.tu-berlin.de

Library of Congress Control Number: 2006933419 ISBN-10 3-540-46226-0 Springer Berlin Heidelberg New York ISBN-13 978-3-540-46226-2 Springer Berlin Heidelberg New York This work is subject to copyright. All rights are reserved, whether the whole or part of the material is concerned, specifically the rights of translation, reprinting, reuse of illustrations, recitation, broadcasting, reproduction on microfilm or in any other way, and storage in data banks. Duplication of this publication or parts thereof is permitted only under the provisions of the German Copyright Law of September 9, 1965, in its current version, and permission for use must always be obtained from Springer. Violations are liable for prosecution under the German Copyright Law. Springer is a part of Springer Science+Business Media springer.com c Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2007 The use of general descriptive names, registered names, trademarks, etc. in this publication does not imply, even in the absence of a specific statement, that such names are exempt from the relevant protective laws and regulations and therefore free for general use. A Typesetting: by the author and techbooks using a Springer L TEX macro package Cover design: design & production GmbH, Heidelberg

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Preface

The most exciting and significant episode of scientific progress is the development of thermodynamics and electrodynamics in the 19th century and early 20th century. The nature of heat and temperature was recognized, the conservation of energy was discovered, and the realization that mass and energy are equivalent provided a new fuel, – and unlimited power. Much of this occurred in unison with the rapid technological advance provided by the steam engine, the electric motor, internal combustion engines, refrigeration and the rectification processes of the chemical industry. The availability of cheap power and cheap fuel has had its impact on society: Populations grew, the standard of living increased, the environment became clean, traffic became easy, and life expectancy was raised. Knowledge fairly exploded. The western countries, where all this happened, gained in power and influence, and western culture – scientific culture – spread across the globe, and is still spreading. At the same time, thermodynamics recognized the stochastic and probabilistic aspect of natural processes. It turned out that the doctrine of energy and entropy rules the world; the first ingredient – energy – is deterministic, as it were, and the second – entropy – favours randomness. Both tendencies compete, and they find the precarious balance needed for stability and change alike. Philosophy, – traditional philosophy – could not keep up with the grand expansion of knowledge. It gave up and let itself be pushed into insignificance. The word came up about two cultures: One, which is mostly loose words and subjective thinking – in the conventional style –, and scientific culture, which uses mathematics and achieves tangible results. Indeed, the concepts of the scientific culture are most precisely expressed mathematically, and that circumstance makes them accessible to only a minority: Those who do not shy away from mathematics. The fact has forced me into a two-tiered presentation. One tier is narrative and largely devoid of formulae, the other one is mathematical and mostly relegated to Inserts. And while I do not recommend to skip over the inserts, I do believe that that is possible – at least for a first reading. In that way a person may acquire a quick appreciation of the exciting concepts and the colourful personages to whom we owe our prosperity and – in all...
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