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Letter sent on Sep 5, 2017

Chaos Is Our Greatest Love

Your #1 Newsletter for Accelerated Learning.

I think you should always bear in mind that entropy is not on your side.
-Elon Musk

Why Chaos is Our Greatest Love

There’s this fascinating class I am currently taking that focuses predominantly on statistical thermodynamics. Essentially, it is viewing chemistry through a macro lens in order to seek reasoning behind the whyin molecular reactions, entropy, etc.

Personally, I find chemistry a rather bland and meticulous subject and don’t particularly enjoy moving a bunch of dots around with drawn arrows. But what irks me the most about this subject are the constant explanations that something happens in chemistry “because it just does” or “that’s just the way it works”.

So when I took this class and within the first two weeks I had already learned the “why” behind nearly half the concepts I’ve previously ever learned in chemistry, I was mindblown

By reducing a convoluted question down into its most basic case, elimination of extraneous and obscuring information suddenly became possible. Visualization was the key to unlocking the door chained with complexity.

It was no longer a room full of thousands of particles but rather an extendable box that could only hold up to 5 particles. It was no longer an infinite strand of DNA but merely a sequence of a few letters. Polymers became strings of beads and numerous energy levels were downsized into only two.

The questions became straightforward, simple answers emerged, and the why was no longer obscured.

Calculations and numbers became evidence that led to confirmation behind a series of conclusions.

We were left face to face with the fundamentals of science.

So after all these examples and calculations, this undeniable trend began to emerge. The theme that threaded all these cases together was the inherent tendency of any system to proceed towards a position of maximum multiplicities. The more types of arrangements of a particular composition that was possible, the more that composition was favored.

Simply, it reinforced the renown Second Law of Thermodynamics that the movement towards entropy, or colloquially, disorder, was inevitable.

We can make this dramatic conclusion that chaos is all encompassing because apparently science says so…

So if chaos can be analogized to discomfort, then this unavoidable scientific principle is a hack into productivity. Without growing pain, there is no measure of progression.

Thus, a life without turmoil is a life not lived fully.

-Megan Lim

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