If ever there was a concept destined to be universally misunderstood, entropy
must be it. Both as a word, and as an idea, entropy may be the most misused of all
scientific notions. With luck, I will be able to do something about that.
I have written a few of my own webpages to deal with entropy, and hopefully to deal
with it right. Entropy, as is usually the case in real science, has a foundation
in both physics and mathematics. If one waters down this foundation for popular
consumption, one runs the risk of telling a story that is just plain wrong. On
the other hand, if one plays it up too much, the non mathematical or non scientific
audience is lost in the woods. So I try to find that happy middle ground, and say
enough about the mathematics & physics to be sure I am right, while trying at the
same time, to make enough of what I say clear to the reader, such that your
understanding will not be damaged by lack of articulation.
So, with this page as a front end, I will list my own pages, plus other resources
laying around the WWW that I figure are worth looking at. Perhaps if my rendition
doesn't work, somebody elses will. In either case, I hope that starting here, even
the most difficult of students, can learn something real about entropy, and the
thermodynamics that goes with it.
My Own Pages
- Definitions of Entropy
Entropy defined, in classical thermodynamics, statistical mechanics,
and information theory.
- The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics
As the title implies, a defintion of the 2nd law of thermodynamics. We look
at the 2nd law from both a classical and statistical view, and introduce
the concept of a phase space.
- Entropy and the 2nd Law in Open Systems
A short look at how the 2nd law, defined for closed systems in equilibrium,
can be used on systems which do not meet these fundamental criteria.
Other Entropy places on the WWW
- Entropy on the World Wide Web
Originally created by University of Washington mathematician Chris Hillmann, now maintained
by University of Pennsylvania mathematician Roland Gunesch. An index of WWW sites that deal
with entropy. A good place to look around.
- The Page of Entropy
Maintained by Dave Slaven, physics teacher
at Saginaw Valley State University. Another collection
of pages similar to mine, but with a different approach, which try to explain entropy
and the 2nd law of thermodynamics.
Hosted by Frank Lambert, Professor Emeritus from Occidental College in Los Angeles.
A general description of the 2nd law.
- Note on Entropy, Disorder,
By chemist Kenneth Denbigh, visiting research fellow, King's College, London. A detailed,
and sometimes technical note, on the true relationship between the titled quantities,
entropy, disorder, and disorgnization. Specifically directed against the argument that
there may be a conflict between the 2nd law of thermodynamics and biological evolution.
- Entropy, God and Evolution
by Canadian physicist Doug Craigen. Another look at the fallacious equation of entropy as disorder,
and how it relates to arguments on biological evolution.
Tim Thompson's Home Page
The Collected Writings of Tim Thompson