Learning to Chill

Paul Halpern
May 29, 2015 · 8 min read
Lord Kelvin, Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The second great law of thermodynamics involves a certain principle of irreversible action in Nature. It is thus shown that, although mechanical energy is indestructible, there is a universal tendency to its dissipation, which produces gradual augmentation and diffusion of heat, cessation of motion, and exhaustion of potential energy through the material universe. The result would inevitably be a state of universal rest and death, if the universe were finite and left to obey existing laws.

Rudolf Clausius, Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Carnot Cycle, courtesy of NASA
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commone
Courtesy of backreaction.blogspot.com
Courtesy of heikegani.com

Will mankind one day without the net expenditure of energy be able to restore the sun to its full youthfulness even after it had died of old age? … How can the net amount of entropy of the universe be massively decreased? … Can entropy ever be reversed?

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

It is impossible to calculate in detail the long-range future of the universe without including the effects of life and intelligence. It is impossible to calculate the capabilities of life and intelligence without touching, at least peripherally, philosophical questions. If we are to examine how intelligent life may be able to guide the physical development of the universe for its own purposes, we cannot altogether avoid considering what the values and purposes of intelligent life may be. But as soon as we mention the words value and purpose, we run into one of the most firmly entrenched taboos of twentieth-century science.

Courtesy of http://science.dodlive.mil
Freeman Dyson, Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Starts With A Bang!

The Universe is out there, waiting for you to discover it.

    Paul Halpern

    Written by

    Physicist and science writer. Author of The Quantum Labyrinth: How Richard Feynman and John Wheeler Revolutionized Time and Reality

    Starts With A Bang!

    The Universe is out there, waiting for you to discover it.