Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Thermodynamics - It's more than just a good idea. It's the LAW

I do think that the 2nd law of thermodynamics is one of the fundamental rules of the universe. In some ways it defines the direction of time. Other fundamental rules (such as the first law) and laws of relativity and gravity distort perceptions and models of time. In some ways I don't really want to get into the mathematics of it all as to whether it excludes a continually existing universe. I can either take the cosmologists word for it that they have done their science right and accept what they come up with as a consensus, or I can just latch on to whatever dissenting view there is and claim the question as an unknowable.

3 comments:

Dr. Clam said...
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Dr. Clam said...

"If someone points out to you that your pet theory of the universe is in disagreement with Maxwell's equations- then so much the worse for Maxwell's equations. If it is found to be contradicted by observation- well, these experimentalists do bungle things sometimes. But if your theory is found to be against the second law of thermodynamics I can offer you no hope; there is nothing for it but to collapse in deepest humiliation.'

Sir Arthur Eddington, Astrophysicist, 1929...

Dr. Clam said...

Interim progress report: No prgoress so far.
I have been reading Roger Penrose's 'popular' book on the universe, cited in that Wikipedia article on entropy, to try and tease out the connection between entropy and cosmological models, but so far it has defeated my puny clam intellect. Curses! It is dragging me down into all of those quantum-mechanical quandaries that have perturbed me for years. Is an ensemble of identical particles a high entropy system, or a low entropy system? I dunno.