Wednesday, May 9, 2018

The Principles of Thermodynamics By N. D. Hari Dass

The Principles of Thermodynamics By N. D. Hari Dass
Chapter 1 The Beginnings
Chapter 2 First Law—The E = Mc2 of Thermodynamics
Chapter 3 The Second and Third Laws
Chapter 4 Carnot Cycles - The Turing Machines of Thermodynamics
Chapter 5 Specific Heats: Magnificent Bridges
Chapter 6 Structure of Thermodynamic Theories
Chapter 7 Thermodynamic Potentials and Maxwell Relations.
Chapter 8 Magnetic Systems
Chapter 9 Dilute Solutions
Chapter 10 Phases and Their Equilibria
Chapter 11 The Clapeyron Equation
Chapter 12 The van der Waals Equation
Chapter 13 The Critical Point
Chapter 14 Approach to Absolute Zero
Chapter 15 Entropy Constants
Chapter 16 Some Mathematical Aspects of Thermodynamics
The great German physicist Arnold Sommerfeld, in the preface to his book Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics, had this to say: “In contrast to classical mechanics, thermodynamics has withstood the quantum revolution without having its foundations shaken.” A similar sentiment is echoed in the American physicist ArthurWightman’s tribute to Gibbs that “his contributions have survived 100 years of turbulent developments in theoretical physics.” It is this resilience that makes a study of thermodynamics such a rewarding experience. In fact, not only did thermodynamics survive the revolutionary developments of quantum theory, it, in the hands of the great masters Planck and Einstein, played midwife to the very birth of quantum theory. Behind this resilience lies the great generality of the principles of thermodynamics. Usually when principles are too general, their effectiveness gets limited. But in the case of thermodynamics, its impact both on scientific thought as well as its practical impact have been unmatched by any other field of science. As for the latter aspect, the applications of thermodynamics range over physics, chemistry and engineering, and of late over biology and even black holes! With the epoch-making developments in Statistical Mechanics, there is an in creasing trend among physicists to treat thermodynamics as some sort of a second fiddle. This is unfortunate indeed as in reality the powers of thermodynamics remain undiminished. Of course, the two complement each other, making both of them even stronger. It is also unfortunate in another sense that young readers get the mistaken impression that statistical mechanics is easier while thermodynamics is nearly in comprehensible. This is partly because at that level, statistical mechanics is almost algorithmic, while thermodynamics seems to require constant revision of its basic tenets. In fact, one often needs, as for example in the case of magnetism, the guidance of thermodynamics in proper applications of statistical mechanics.


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