Warmth Disperses and Time Passes: The History of Heat

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Modern Library, 1999 - Science - 207 pages
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If you want to know what's happening in the world, follow the heat.

Why can't your coffee "steal" heat from the air to stay piping hot? Why can't Detroit make a car that's 100 percent efficient? Why can't some genius make a perpetual motion machine? The answers lie in the field of thermodynamics, the study of heat, which turns out to be the key to an astonishing number of scientific puzzles, including why time inexorably runs in only one direction.
        
In Warmth Disperses and Time Passes: The History of Heat, physics professor Hans Christian von Baeyer tells the story of heat through the lives of the scientists who discovered it. With his trademark elegant prose, eye for lively detail, and gift for lucid explanation, Professor von Baeyer turns the contemplation of a cooling coffee cup into a beguiling portrait of the birth of a science with relevance to almost every aspect of our lives.

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Maxwell's demon: why warmth disperses and time passes

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A hot cup of coffee will cool down over time, but most people probably don't understand the laws of thermodynamics that make this happen. Von Baeyer uses common sense and familiar observations as a tool for exploring deep scientific principles. (LJ 5/15/98) Read full review

Contents

The Nature of Heat
3
The Origin of the First Law
13
Chasing the First Law
19
Copyright

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About the author (1999)

Hans Christian von Baeyer is Chancellor Professor of Physics at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, where he lives with his wife and their two daughters. He is the recipient of the Science Journalism Award of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the National Magazine Award. His previous books include The Fermi Solution: Essays on Science; Taming the Atom: The Emergence of the Visible Microworld; and Rainbows, Snowflakes, and Quarks: Physics and the World Around Us.

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