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1. Entropy:A New World View
2. Entropy Demystified: The Second
3. Genetic Entropy & the Mystery
4. Discover Entropy and the Second
5. Statistical Mechanics: Entropy,
6. Entropy
8. Entropy and Art: An Essay on Disorder
9. Engines, Energy, And Entropy:
10. Maximum Entropy Econometrics:
11. The Entropy Law and the Economic
12. Complexity, Entropy and the Physics
13. Entropy
14. Entropy Analysis: An Introduction
15. Sons of Entropy(Buffy the Vampire
16. The Entropy Tango
17. A Farewell To Entropy
18. Entropy Theory of Aging Systems:
19. Entropy (Princeton Studies in
20. Grammatical Man: Information,

1. Entropy:A New World View
by Jeremy Rifkin, Ted Howard
Mass Market Paperback: 302 Pages (1981-10)
list price: US$3.95
Isbn: 0553202154
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Entropy is said to be a law of nature that constrains all we do. It is the tendency of everything to disorder and randomness. In this book, Jeremy Rifkin asserts our existing world view is crumbling and tells us what will replace it. After all, the other law of nature Rifkin addresses is that nature abhors a vacuum. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (11)

2-0 out of 5 stars provoking yet unaccurate
It's a very challenging view of the world and how it works. It is written in a nice language, easy to follow.Unfortunately, the writer does not know his thermodynamics enough and makes quite unaccurate analogies, that could be interesting if they did not have the mark of Scientifism given by the improper use of the idea of Entropy.
I have enjoyed other books written by Rifkin and it would be nice if he sticks to what he really knows about politics, without trying to get into fields that he does not know enough.

5-0 out of 5 stars This is THE most important book I ever read ...
and that is saying quite a bit considering I have read tens of thousands of books over my lifetime. I find it a bit hilarious that people here and elsewhere refuse to acknowledge the relevance and importance of the concepts introduced in this book - it was far far ahead of it's time and yet almost no one recognizes the elegance and simplicity of the arguments it puts forth.

The basic argument of this book is that the ironically named 'Second' Law of Thermodynamics is the most important force/law in the universe. Like many brilliant ideas, the law itself is quite succinct - you can search wikipedia for 'second law of thermodynamics' for all the various interpretations.

Entropy as the term is used in Rifkin's book, refers to irreversibility at primarily a macroscopic level in the universe, or more tersely, 'time's arrow'. In a nutshell, over time, all systems in the universe (other than a few weird quantum behaviors) move generally from a state of order to one of disorder. Order in a local system can only be maintained thru temporarily increased use of energy, which of course eventually moves the system even further down the road to disorder - the ultimate end of which is the heat death of the universe.

IMO, this is an extremely useful and elegant way to look at life and the universe around us. Look at your life in particular - pick out a small aspect of it - buying a car for example. Before you came into being, all of the material used in the manufacture of the car you would someday buy was concentrated in deposits of minerals and resources all over the world - iron ore in Minnesota, coal in West Vriginia, oil for the plastic in Saudi Arabia etc etc etc. Now you come along and order a car and the car company obliges you by digging all these elements out of the ground, and using massive quantities of energy - coals, oil, electricity etc. to ORGANIZE all these materials into what will become your personal mode of transporation. And what happens as soon as the car is completed ? - even before you drive it off the lot - rust has begun to invade the underside of the body panels, the plastic coating on the wiring begins to decay, the paint gets a tiny bit faded and begins to peel and chip. Ten or twenty years later, there are microsopic particles from your car scattered all over the countryside - bits of rubber on the interstate, rust chips in your driveway and at the Grand Canyon, bits of rubber from your windshield wipers in your grandma's garage.

This process of continual decay is IRREVERSIBLE absent the application of monumental quantities of energy - i.e. you can't put that car back together from it's constituent materials because the system consisting of your auto has gone from a state of near perfect order (brand new off the lot) to one of almost complete disorder (scattered all over the planet in tiny microscopic pieces). Of course if you had enough 'free' energy, you could theoretically, reconstruct your car by tracking down every individual particle and reconstituting it - BUT ... and here is the beauty of Rifkin's idea ... just by USING that energy, you are FURTHER increasing the entropy of the world around you - because in order to ORGANIZE that energy into a useful form, requires that furher massive amounts of raw materials be dug out of the ground. In the end all those nice piles of oil and iron ore and coal are scattered hither and yon, never to be useful again - at least by humans as we now stand. EVERYTHING we do increases the entropy of the systems around us.

It's a rigged game and the only way to win is not to play - to use as little energy as is practically possible.

Personally, I don't care if Rifkin has violated the sensitivities of some narrow-minded academic somewhere, his use of the term entropy to describe the fundamental processes of everyday life is a true breakthrough in thought and planning.

Again - THE most important book/principle you will ever grasp (or not) in your entire life. If you don't understand the Entropy Principle as it is used in this tome, then you will forever be doomed to mediocre, flawed solutions to the most basic problems in everyday life. It's why the solutions to our problems just create even more problems down the road.

If you 'get' Entropy, you will never look at the world around you in the same way again.

4-0 out of 5 stars rocked my world
I read this book as an undergrad mechanical engineering major, and it hit me like a bolt of lightning.To state that the second law and the concept of Entropy applies to social systems, governments and societies in addition to physical systems means essentially that Entropy is the fundamental reason behind the fall of Rome, the decline of the British Empire, and the eventual decline of good old USA.Any social system will eventually get bogged down under its own weight.The only downside to the book is the religion that creeps in at the very end.any intelligent person should read this book!

5-0 out of 5 stars Great food for thought
I've really enjoyed reading this book 30 years after it was written, especially curious to see where the author hit and missed the marks on his projections.I was pleasantly surprised to see a small warning on global warming, obviously very relavent these days.The historical placement of the writing of the book has interesting parallels, he wrote it during the energy crisis of the seventies, during the cold war, pre-Chernobyl, pre-IBM PC, etc., and here we are with gasoline recently nearing $5/gallon, fighting two wars not directly related to homeland defense, collapsing corporations being swallowed up by larger ones with government bailouts and talks of further government control, ie, all kinds of cracks in the energy flow line.The real test of the book's projections will be in the next five years, when all of those former third world countries, that have now become highly consumptive of raw materials, have had a chance to consume at a high rate for a length of time.

As for those physicists who question Rifkin's application of the second law to the various macromodels, I think even the author himself was not confident in making a serious scientific statement, he was more interested in getting out the overall message that we must preserve our non-renewable resources and allow nature time to catch up to our acquisitions of renewable resources.This is very relevant to today's fisheries for example.All of the mineral resources he cited, particulary copper, are now very expensive, so much so that thieves are now regularly stripping the metals from our highways, cemeteries, and public works.

Even though our health care, transportation and education systems are in shambles, not all is bad, many urban areas have revived, people are adjusting and changing lifestyles, conserving and recycling more, consuming less, driving smaller cars, there is greater investment and interest in clean, renewable energy, etc.

I do concur with Rifkin's overall goal of sustainable growth.

5-0 out of 5 stars His doomsday is here and we did not listen
Rifkin's ideas about physics may or may not be on solid ground, but he's predicted many apocalyptic realities with regard to the environment. And for this we must give him much credit. We have to remember. This book was written going on thirty years ago, before our era of manifest global warming. He predicted a warming of the planet. He doesn't call it "peek oil," as it's called today, but this is what he warns us about way back when.

His theory that the so-called Middle Ages ended with the advent of coal as a fuel source is intriguing. It sounds plausible to me. The way we get energy must have a lot to do with the way society is structured. We can certainly say this about agriculture. Once man began cultivating land, the concept of wealth was created, no less...

But back to the many predictions Rifkin made in this book: He warned these many years ago about the dangers of synthetic petrochemical nitrogen fertilizers choking our waters. Imagine that! No one was talking about that then and not even now. The Clean Water Act of 1972 does not address toxic runoff from farms and until that legislation is amended, our waters will be polluted. All over the world, runoff is truly one of the greatest environmental threats; we know this now for certain.

Rifkin, back then, long before the rest of us, was writing about the junk thrown in the oceans. Today we have a whirlpool of the size of Greenland over Midway Island densely clogged with plastic refuse, suffocating and starving out wildlife there.

Some environmentalists today (too, too few) are lamenting the advent of the flushing toilet. Rifkin does not point this out specifically, but he does note how our coasts were, even back then, poisoned by sewage.

The discord among nations today is all about oil, water, land, and natural resources of all sorts. Do we dare admit? This is one of Rifkin's main themes and rightly so.G. W. Bush can say we went into Iraq to bring that country democracy, but we all know, it was about oil.

They say today that if everyone on Earth lived as we do in the USA, the world would require the natural resources of five planet Earths. Rifkin alluded to this fact in this book and so long ago. Amazing.

It's taken me years of reading the environmental literature to discover the above information. And I could have found it all in this book decades ago.

There's lots more; I can't note it all. How 'bout, just read the book.

... Read more

2. Entropy Demystified: The Second Law Reduced to Plain Common Sense
by Arieh Ben-Naim
Paperback: 250 Pages (2008-06-18)
list price: US$33.00 -- used & new: US$20.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 9812832254
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
In this unique book, the reader is invited to experience the joy of appreciating something which has eluded understanding for many years -- entropy and the second law of thermodynamics. The book has a two-pronged message: first, that the second law is not infinitely incomprehensible as commonly stated in most textbooks on thermodynamics, but can, in fact, be comprehended through sheer common sense; and second, that entropy is not a mysterious quantity that has resisted understanding but a simple, familiar and easily comprehensible concept.

Written in an accessible style, the book guides the reader through an abundance of dice games and examples from everyday life. The author paves the way for readers to discover for themselves what entropy is, how it changes, and, most importantly, why it always changes in one direction in a spontaneous process.

In this new edition, seven simulated games are included so that the reader can actually experiment with the games described in the book. These simulated games are meant to enhance the readers understanding and sense of joy upon discovering the second law of thermodynamics.

Contents: Programs for Simulating Some of the Games in the Book; Introduction, and a Short History of the Second Law of Thermodynamics; A Brief Introduction to Probability Theory, Information Theory, and All the Rest; First Let Us Play with Real Dice; Let s Play with Simplified Dice and Have a Preliminary Grasp of the Second Law; Experience the Second Law with All Your Five Senses; Finally, Grasp It with Your Common Sense; Translating from the Dice-World to the Real World; Reflections on the Status of the Second Law of Thermodynamics as a Law of Physics. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (26)

5-0 out of 5 stars A uniquely written book
I can't think of anyone that uses such a reader friendly approach as the one used by the author in this book.I enjoyed the book a lot--it is one of the best books I have read in a long time--clear, but most of all, unpretentious and this last quality makes it truly unique.The only other books that I have read that have this same "honest" underlying subtext are Gandhi's "The story of my experiments with truth" and perhaps "My Life as a Quant: Reflections on Physics and Finance" by Emanuel Derman.If you want a clear introduction to entropy, this is a good place to start, especially if you are a "lay-person" when it comes to math.

5-0 out of 5 stars A book to be read
This book is for everyone who has heard about entropy, but who cannot understand what it is, thinking it is something mysterious and impossible to understand.
This book will show you a way to get closer to the second law of thermodynamics (a protagonist of this law is entropy!), using nothing butcommon sense and math at a very low level.
Well, this is a book to be read, full of examples that help the reader to grasp all the key concepts hidden in this book.Have fun!

5-0 out of 5 stars A Common Sense Approach to Entropy
In this easy-to-read book, the author explains the nature of entropy using vary basic probabilistic arguments. The author assumes that the reader knows no mathematics, nor has any knowledge of physics but can use ordinary common sense in reasoning things out. Most of the arguments make use of dice and coins until near the end where real systems, e.g., gasses, are discussed. The writing style is very clear, authoritative, highly accessible and friendly. Some concepts and conclusions are deliberately repeated; this can be quite useful to readers who are new to this subject. The book's level is very basic and could be easily understood by any interested general reader or high school student.

5-0 out of 5 stars "Demythifying" the mystery of entropy
If you have ever felt intimidated by the myth on the incomprehensibility of entropy, this book is for you. If you have a good understanding of what entropy is but find it difficult to communicate its meaning to non-specialists, this book is also for you.

Traditionally, entropy has enjoyed the "reputation" among common people and young students of being a mysterious and elusive quantity. Good students know that it is "something" that never decreases in an isolated system (second law of thermodynamics), and thus it is intrinsically linked to the concept of irreversibility. At the level of thermodynamics, as a phenomenological theory, the second law is an axiom and the entropy change between two equilibrium states at the same temperature is defined as the hypothetical heat the system would have absorbed, were the actual process be replaced by an infinitely slow one (so all the intermediate states can be considered in equilibrium), divided by the temperature.

The realization that ordinary matter is made of a huge number of microscopic entities (atoms and molecules) and the advent of statistical mechanics allowed for a deeper understanding of what entropy actually is. Entropy is not but a measure (in logarithmic scale) of the number of different "detailed" states (microstates) that are compatible with a given "coarse-grained" state (or macrostate). In a simple gas, for instance, a microstate (in a non-quantum description) implies the specification of the velocities and spatial locations of every single molecule. One would need about one thousand billion (10^12) 1-Terabyte hard drives to store the information contained in just one microstate. On the other hand, a macrostate is specified by just a few variables, say the number of moles, the volume of the container, and the total energy. Needless to say, each individual macrostate can be accessed from a (huge) number of different microstates. The entropy assigned to a given macrostate is essentially (the logarithm of) the number of distinct microstates that are accessible to it.

Information theory (developed by Shannon in the late forties of the past century and applied to statistical mechanics by Jaynes ten years later) provides an insightful view of the entropy concept. Imagine I pick up a particular microstate out of all the repertoire of microstates belonging to a given macrostate. I show you only the macrostate (or repertoire of microstates) and challenge you to foretell which specific microstate I chose. Of course, you would complain that very many possible microstates are compatible with the known macrostate and thus the information I gave you is incomplete. Well, the entropy of the macrostate is precisely a measure of that missing information. To help you find out my concealed microstate, I allow you to ask binary (yes/no) questions. The optimal number of questions you would ask to narrow the number of possibilities until you succeed in unveiling my chosen microstate is again (proportional to) the entropy of the macrostate.

The above paragraphs might seem too technical and expressed with too much jargon to many laypeople. The great merit of Ben-Naim's little book, however, is to lead the reader to discover the meaning of entropy by him/herself in an entertaining way. This is done, with a delicious prose that avoids any technicalities, by carefully designing simple dice games before the reader is seamlessly led to real-world physical and chemical processes. The author puts much emphasis in that the reader grasps not only what entropy is but, more importantly, why it grows in isolated systems, thus stripping the second law of thermodynamics of any halo of mystery.

While the information-theory approach to the concept of entropy is not certainly new, Ben-Naim amply succeeds in making it the leitmotiv of this popularization work without incurring in superficial banalities. This is why this book is also useful to knowledgeable scientists with a desire to reinforce their understanding of one of the most fundamental concepts permeating so many branches of science.

5-0 out of 5 stars A book for lay audience
Entropy is a concept that not only lends itself to different interpretation, it also lends itself to strong feelings and opinions. This latter aspect is reflected in some of the reviews of this book.
That, however, is a distraction. The aim of my colleague and friend Professor Ben Naim's aim this book is to show to non scientist that the mystery can be removed from the entropy concept by deconvoluting the meaning of the equation on Boltzmann's grave and on the cover of the book (S= k log W). This deconvolution takes place through small steps involving no more than high-school mathematics. For scientists, the deconvolution may have taken too many steps; for the 'lay' audience, I think the taking of 'baby steps' helps reinforce the understanding. While for many scientists the reaction may be 'of course - what else is new?' for non-scientists this book should be quite revealing.

The secondary message of the book is the brief recapitulation of the more technical proposition, expounded in a different, technical book (A Farewell To Entropy), that the concept of entropy and its customary association with order/disorder should be replaced by the concept of 'missing information' since, unlike order/disorder, it can be defined rigorously. Clearly, this is radical a proposition that goes against many established concepts, but arguing about this should be done in the context of that book and in technical terms, and not when discussing this book. ... Read more

3. Genetic Entropy & the Mystery of the Genome
by John C Sanford
Paperback: 248 Pages (2008-03-01)
list price: US$16.95 -- used & new: US$11.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0981631606
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Dr. John Sanford, a retired Cornell Professor, shows in "Genetic Entropy and the Mystery of the Genome" that the "Primary Axiom" is false. The Primary Axiom is the foundational evolutionary premise -- that life is merely the result of mutations and natural selection.In addition to showing compelling theoretical evidence that whole genomes must in fact degenerate over time, this book strongly refutes the Darwinian concept that man is just the result of a random and pointless natural process.This is an updated version of the October 2005 edition, which includes both a newappendix and glossary. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (32)

5-0 out of 5 stars An expose of population genetics, among other virtues of the book
Note: I seem to have an earlier edition, 2005, of this book.
This book gives no indication of the author's religious views, save for a one line reference to 'design' in the last pages of the text. The rest of the book is a cogent expose of the Neo-Darwinian scenario of random mutation and natural selection.
I have reasonable math talents, and can follow more or less the models proposed by population geneticists, but the whole subject leaves one ill at ease, as one smell's a rat somewhere. All this math is deceptive, it doesn't amount to much of anything by the standards of physics. In fact, the subject is a fraud used to mesmerize the math gullible.
This book helped me out on this point, and has a lot of good commentary on population genetics and its limits. It is disconcerting to have to turn to religious critics writing self-published books to get some decent commentary on the math in population genetics.
Good fast read, and to the point. The issue of the genome is left for what it is, a mystery. Close to the end of the book the author quietly mutters the word 'design' with respect to the enigma of genomics, and the book ends. Important reading for mainstream students of evolution who have been snowjobbed by population genetics.
The book adds to the disgrace of the Neo-Darwinism synthesis.
You would think all those nerdy scientists and profs in all those peer reviewed sci orgs could spot the problems with population genetics and make them known to the public.
No such luck.
Job for a Bible Belt author, I guess.

5-0 out of 5 stars Compelling
Dr. Sanford refutes the Primary Axiom of Darwinian evolution: that evolution is the result of natural selection acting upon random mutations.His approach is to create layer upon layer of specific "showstoppers" to this axiom, each of which compounds the showstopping aspects of the other layers.The whole book is full of technical insights that only someone who has an intimate knowledge of the field of genetics and genetic engineering could have.I was particularly impressed with the chapter on the mutation rate of the human genome (specifically with the numerous specific mechanisms of mutation he gives which guarantee that the genome must LOSE information, not gain it via evolution), as well as with the argument that genetic polyfunctionality makes it utterly impossible to gain information through random mutations even if all other arguments were disregarded (that is, many or most genes simultaneously code for more than one function, hence a random mutation that happens to benefit one function is overwhelmingly likely to harm the other functions).Every medical school and biology student should read this book!

1-0 out of 5 stars This guy is an 'expert' on genetics?
I must start out by saying that I have not read this book.[added in edit, 9/30/10 - I have since read several chapters, and my original questions/comments remain]However, I saw a creationist present the follwing quote from it the other day:

"Haldane calculated that it would take (on average) 300 generations (>6,000 yrs) to select a single new mutation to fixation, given what he considered a 'reasonable' mixture of recessive and dominant mutations. Selection at this rate is so slow that it is essentially the same as no selection at all. This problem has classically been called 'Haldane's dilemma'. At this rate of selection, once could only fix 1,000 beneficial nucleotide mutations within the whole genome in the tiem since we supposedly evolved from chimps (6 million yrs). This simple fact has been confirmed independently by Crow and Kimura(1970), and ReMine (1993, 2005). The nature of selection is such that selecting for one nucleotide redues our ability to select for other nucleotides (selection interference). Simultaneous selection does not help.

"At first glance, the above calculation seems to suggest that one might at least be able to select for the creation of one small gene (of up to 1,000 nucleotides) in the time since we reputedly diverged from champanzee. There are two reasons why this is not true. 1. Haldane's calculation were only for independent, unlinked mutations. Selection for 1,000 specific and adjacent muations could not happen in 6 million yrs because that specific sequence of adjacent mutations would never arise, not even in 6 billion yrs."
-pp 128-9

Now, I will ignore for the moment that this Cornell 'geneticist' cites creationist electical engineer Walter ReMine for anything having to do with genetics, but if this quote is accurate, then Sanford either does not understand Haldane's model - AT ALL - or he is purposefully misrepresenting it to make his silly position seem more viable.

And apparently he isn't willing to talk about it - I emailed him more than 2 weeks ago, only asking if the quote was accurate.No reply.

Can anyone here verify the acuracy of that quote?

5-0 out of 5 stars The beginning of a comprehensive understanding of genetics and if evolution fits in.
This book is a great read.

It helps you understand the fundamental level of where evolution should occur, in the genome.

Dr. John Sanford writes a very scientifically based book on how the mechanism of evolution can't work. Random mutations with natural selection CANNOT create complexity or design. Essentially mutations lose or distort information rather than creating it, even with natural selection only choosing "good mutations" which as you find out in this book are statistically negligible once you account for occurrence (one out of a million mutations is anything above the line of neutrality and a mutation occurs in only one out of a million replications), selection, genetic drift, mutational baggage, secondary effects, and further selection and the need of high selective pressure for the "new" attribute.

He gives some mild rebuttals to Richard Dawkin's the Blind Watchmaker examples.

I LOVED the book and would recommend it to anyone.

5-0 out of 5 stars Neo-Darwinism - the final nail in the coffin!
I admit I already had serious doubts about neo-Darwinsim due to the silence in the fossil record, Cambrian Explosion, evidence of the Great Flood, the Biblical Account of Creation, and especially the teleology, Anthropic Principles, and evidence of purpose and design throughout the universe and especially in biology. In addition, the advancement of Intelligent Design, Information Theory, Irreducible Complexity, and all the rest of it gave me tremendous confidence in my beliefs. Then, as I read about the stunning complexity of the cell, DNA, and biological systems at the molecular level, my confidence grew even stronger. Then however, I come across Dr. Sanford's work on genetic entropy that has managed to Blow Me Away and take me to new levels I thought were unimaginable. Yes, he is a Christian, but his work is strictly scientific and well supported with peer reviewed articles as is his highly respected credentials. He boldy presents a formal proof that the "Primary Axiom" is wrong! Where else will you see that? Basically, the genome was perfect in the beginning but now is mutating and deteriorating and always has been. There is not even one single clear-cut case of a genetic mutation generating new, novel information - so how can Darwinian random mutation plus natural selection even work? In addition, with selection occuring at the phenome level and mutation occuring at the genome level, the whole mess doesn't even make sense even if it were to occur! Darwin couldn't have know this of course, not having access to the genetic code or even the cell's details for that matter. Look, whatever that intelligence is or was, designed all life as it is fixed today - that, this book will prove. This book is for everyone who asks the question: Who are we? Where did we come from? Where are we going? Excellent, superb book! This book could change your life! ... Read more

4. Discover Entropy and the Second Law of Thermodynamics: A Playful Way of Discovering a Law of Nature
by Arieh Ben-Naim
Paperback: 288 Pages (2010-08-03)
list price: US$44.00 -- used & new: US$34.81
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 9814299766
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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This is a sequel to the author's book entitled "Entropy Demystified" (Published by World Scientific, 2007). The aim is essentially the same as that of the previous book by the author: to present Entropy and the Second Law as simple, meaningful and comprehensible concepts. In addition, this book presents a series of "experiments" which are designed to help the reader discover entropy and the Second Law. While doing the experiments, the reader will encounter three most fundamental probability distributions featuring in Physics: the Uniform, the Boltzmann and the Maxwell Boltzmann distributions. In addition, the concepts of entropy and the Second Law will emerge naturally from these experiments without a tinge of mystery. These concepts are explained with the help of a few familiar ideas of probability and information theory.

The main "value" of the book is to introduce entropy and the Second Law in simple language which renders it accessible to any reader who can read and is curious about the basic laws of nature. The book is addressed to anyone interested in science and in understanding natural phenomenon. It will afford the reader the opportunity to discover one of the most fundamental laws of physics - a law that has resisted complete understanding for over a century. The book is also designed to be enjoyable.

There is no other book of its kind (except "Entropy Demystified" by the same author) that offers the reader a unique opportunity to discover one of the most profound laws - sometimes viewed as a mysterious - while comfortably playing with familiar games. There are no pre-requisites expected from the readers; all that the reader is expected to do is to follow the experiments or imagine doing the experiments and reach the inevitable conclusions. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars A very good introduction to Entropy that is accessable to all
The book is for anyone who has wishes to understand entropy. The descriptions and examples used are not tied to one discipline and are presented in a very clear and easy to understand manner. Whether you are a chemist, physicist, computer scientist, or just wish to understand entropy, this book is for you.

This book slots in between the authors previous two books "Entropy Demystified: The Second Law Reduced to Plain Common Sense" and "Farewell to Entropy, A: Statistical Thermodynamics Based on Information". I first tried to read "Farewell to Entropy" but some of the mathematics was beyond my ability. "Entropy Demystified" gave me a good introduction, but "Discover Entropy", gives a clearer introduction and builds on it, leaving you with enough knowledge to work from.

The book uses probability theory to explain entropy and the explanations are backed up by examples that are clear and easy to understand. There are also computer simulations of the examples on the books website that are fascinating to watch.

The book covers all the ground of "Entropy Demystified" and explains it in a slightly different manner that some people will find easier to understand. The author assumes no mathematical ability, so do not worry if maths is not your strength! If you haven't read "Entropy Demystified", you can go straight to "Discover Entropy", as everything is explained assuming you have no previous knowledge of entropy.

I found the book left me with a better and solid understanding of Entropy and was able to apply the knowledge to the work I was currently studying.

5-0 out of 5 stars A playful way to discover the Second Law of Thermodynamics
This book is addressed to everyone. You do not need to be either Einstein or Shannon (read the book if you want to discover who is Shannon) to read and understand this book. There is only one prerequisite: you have to be curious and eager to understand one of the most interesting and discussed Law of Nature. This book is structured like a great (and delicious) dinner; you go through all the courses, from the aperitif to the main course, to the dessert, till the snacks! And, also, it is full of brilliant games that will keep you awake and attentive. Besides helping you in understanding what underlines the Second Law of Thermodynamics, you will learn two important distributions in physics: the Boltzmann and the Maxwell Boltzmann. In addition, on pages 108 and 150 you will also learn two important "applications" of these distributions...

Listen to me: you will be happy at the end of the book and you will thank me for suggesting to read it! ... Read more

5. Statistical Mechanics: Entropy, Order Parameters and Complexity (Oxford Master Series in Physics)
by James P. Sethna
Paperback: 376 Pages (2006-06-01)
list price: US$65.00 -- used & new: US$34.78
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0198566778
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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In each generation, scientists must redefine their fields: abstracting, simplifying and distilling the previous standard topics to make room for new advances and methods. Sethna's book takes this step for statistical mechanics--a field rooted in physics and chemistry whose ideas and methods are now central to information theory, complexity, and modern biology. Aimed at advanced undergraduates and early graduate students in all of these fields, Sethna limits his main presentation to the topics that future mathematicians and biologists, as well as physicists and chemists, will find fascinating and central to their work. The amazing breadth of the field is reflected in the author's large supply of carefully crafted exercises, each an introduction to a whole field of study: everything from chaos through information theory to life at the end of the universe. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (9)

1-0 out of 5 stars Not good
This book is good only if you already know the subject from other books (like Donald Macquire or Pathria).

3-0 out of 5 stars Short on info, long on problems
Overall, this is not a really bad book, the problem is the text is really short on explanations, and has virtually no examples. The author assumes that most of the learning will be done through the problems. Problem is most people don't have that kind of time to waste with problems.

If you like working problems, this is the book for you, if you want an informative text, than this is definitely not the book for you.

I really would like an updated version of Kerson Huang's truly excellent text. Statistical Mechanics, 2nd Edition

5-0 out of 5 stars Great book, got me into the subject
I'mstudying for my final physics exams and - after having a look at a half-dozen or so other statistical mechanics book in the library - (none got me really involved) I have just to say that I'm really glad that I decided to buy this book!
It's really a joy and fun to read! I think that the other reviewers already gave a good description of the book and about the exercises I can confirm that there are lots of them with many topics being covered there. I personally think this is good, specially for self study - better do-it-yourself, the majority of them are very well elaborated and interesting.
I only wish also that some solutions would have been provided... (although I guess all of them together would fill another 300 pages book);
In any case highly recommended!

5-0 out of 5 stars Deep, thoughtful, and beautiful introduction to the field
This advanced undergraduate or introductory graduate level text on statistical mechanics is clearly written by a master and perhaps visionary teacher. Statistical mechanics remains, in my opinion, the only truly rigorous science of emergent phenomena. As the scientific community in general focuses more on complex systems, it is likely that the techniques developed for the theoretical study of the statistical thermodynamic properties of matter will find widespread applications from biology to banking. In this spirit, this book is written to educate the next generation of scientists rather than as a text focused solely on existing applications.

While the subject matter of this book easily devolves into mathematical gymnastics, this text is wonderfully written to simultaneously build up an intuitive grasp along with proficiency with mathematical concepts. Introductory chapters on "What is statistical mechanics?" and "Random walks and emergent properties" are deceptively simple: the mathematical techniques employed in these chapters should be immediately accessible to senior level physics and engineering students. Yet by the end of Chapter 2, one finds oneself deriving a simple one-dimensional Fokker-Planck equation--a nontrivial application in statistical mechanics with applications in chemical kinetics, transport phenomena, mathematical biology, and finance.

This appeal to potentially broad applications is part of what makes this book unique. While a great number of important physical concepts are developed, this is really not an ordinary physics book. Instead, the tools and techniques of statistical mechanics are developed from an exceptionally broad perspective.

While I have worked very few of the problems, the end-of-chapter problems sets present deep and detailed questions that are critically integrated into the text. A reader who has the time and dedication to do the problems will gain much more than one who does not.

5-0 out of 5 stars A terrific, contemporary and courageous textbook
The book Statistical Mechanics: Entropy, Order Parameters and Complexity by James Sethna is excellent. I have used it as the main textbook in my course on Statistical Physics for first year graduate students at the Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP) in Brazil. The students and I liked it very much.

I think that the main quality of the book is that it presents Statistical Physics as a very dynamical subject, interconnected with several subjects within physics, as well as outside it.

Since the book is aimed for a one semester course on the subject, the author had to make important choices. I really liked his choices. For instance, the book does not discuss approximate methods used to treat systems with interacting particles, instead the author has chosen to have a chapter on Calculation and Computation. Although these methods have played an important role in the past, nowadays the study of the relevant problems in the field require computer simulations. The chapter on Computer Simulation is excellent. Instead of only discussing how to perform a Monte Carlo simulation, it proofs mathematically in detail (except for the Perron-Frobenius theorem) why one ends up with an equilibrium probability distribution after a number of Monte Carlo steps. Another important subject covered in the book is that of Abrupt Phase Transitions. For most Statistical Physics books, only Second Order or Continuous Transitions exist. The exercises are also another very important and interesting choice made by the author. They are very different from the usual exercises one can find in a regular textbook on Statistical Physics. The exercises are in general very intelligent and they appear in a broad range of difficulty, from those which can be solved by inspection to those that are small projects. I recall two great examples, exercises 5.7 and 5.10, where it is shown in a very clear and clever way that, when we know the system from a microscopic point of view, its entropy does not increase, whereas if we know only a coarse-grained description of it, then its entropy does increase. Some exercises lead the reader, in a secure way, through aspects of the theory that are not covered in the text. For instance, Landau's theory for phase transitions is presented in a very nice way in exercise 9.5.

Perhaps, the aspect that I have enjoyed most in the book is that the author does not shy away from discussing one of the thorniest points in the fundamentals of Statistical Physics: what entropy really is. The book discusses in some detail Phase Space Dynamics and Ergodicity. It presents some physical situations where the ergodic hypothesis breaks down. Usually this problem with the theory is swept under the rug in most textbooks. One very interesting case is that of the entropy of glasses. A subject the author himself has worked on. If a liquid is cooled down very fast it may become a glass, undergoing what is called a glass transition. When the system is in the liquid phase its atoms are diffusing and the system goes through all different possible configurations, that is believed to be the cause for its entropy (ergodicity). When the liquid undergoes a glass transition, the atoms cease diffusing and the system is jammed in one (a single one) structure of the liquid that generated it. If the system is not anymore going through all the possible configurations available what has happened to its entropy? No heat is released in this transition, therefore, one does not expect a change in its entropy. A hardcore purist would answer that the glass is not a system in equilibrium and, therefore, the entropy is not well defined. The point is, it may take much more than the age of the Universe for the glass to reach the final equilibrium and become a crystal (reported changes in glasses of ancient churches are urban legends). The question about what has happened to the entropy of the liquid remains there, despite the purist's answer. The experimentalists can measure very well the residual entropy of a glass. For the author, for me and fortunately nowadays for many others, the satisfactory answer is that the entropy of a glass is the missing information about the system. Another example of residual entropy can be found in the ice cubes in your refrigerator.

At last but not least, I would like to comment on a misconception of a previous reviewer about Shannon's Information Theory. The entropy proposed by Shannon is a measure of the uncertainty of a set of possible messages that can be exchanged, regardless the content of each message. Therefore, this entropy is related to the probability distribution associated with the ensemble of possible messages, regardless of their content. If there are any doubts, I would suggest reading the first chapter of the book Mathematical Foundations of Information Theory by A. Ya. Khinchin. In section 5.3.2 of the book, the author is just analyzing the properties of the Shannon entropy of a probability distribution using a humorous example. The probability distribution can be associated with anything, even with a key lost by a careless room-mate. This entropy is a property of the probability distribution, independent of any possible meaning attributed to it by a human being. ... Read more

6. Entropy
by Viola Grace
Kindle Edition: Pages (2010-08-04)
list price: US$3.99
Asin: B003ZK56WO
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Alia Morgan is a geothermal specialist assigned to the ice planet Yana, but she experiences a disruption to her routine when her best friend's brother arrives to invite her to participate in Ember's wedding, in two days. They are halfway to the main city when Symon drops the bomb. For Ember to have a covenant marriage, the most binding and formal of arrangements, she needs a virgin to be deflowered on her wedding night. The problem is, Ember is pregnant and no longer
qualifies. Alia was the only virgin she knows.

Symon then has to break the news that he is the one she will be coupling with, and despite her urge to jump into the snow and run for it, part of her is intrigued. Symon is tall, handsome, and has long fingers that she can't take her eyes from, how bad could the wedding night be? ... Read more

7. ENTROPY EFFECT (CLASSIC STAR TREK 2) (Star Trek (Numbered Paperback))
by Mcintyre
 Mass Market Paperback: Pages (1990-04-15)
list price: US$5.50 -- used & new: US$5.54
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Asin: 0671724169
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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The Enterprise is summoned to transport a dangerous criminal from Starbase prison to a rehabilitation center: brilliant physicist Dr. Georges Mordeauxs, accused of promising to send people back in time -- then killing them instead.

But there's more at stake than just a few lives. For Mordeaux's experiments have somehow throw the entire universe into a deadly time warp. All of existence is closing in on itself -- and only Spock can stop The Entropy Effect! ... Read more

Customer Reviews (10)

3-0 out of 5 stars Another great Audio Book!!!
The Enterprise was summoned by way of an emergency channel to appear and help transfer a very dangerous prisoner named Dr. George Mordreaux to the Penal colony. Once aboard the Enterprise Dr. Mordreaux breaks out of his cell and kills Captain Kirk! Spock sends out a security alert, security almost immediately reports to him that Dr. Mordreaux was never out of the cell, that he has been there the whole time.Spock finally discovered that Dr. Mordreaux who had been trying to learn the secrets of time travel had used this to murder Captain Kirk and now Spock had to use these same secrets to get Kirk back.

I love time travel books!Even though time travel had been done many times in Star Trek this was a very unique story. McIntyre knows the main three characters very well and knows how to write them.The best thing about Star Trek is the characters, the friendships between these heroes.Spock and McCoy who never see eye to eyehave to work together to bring back there friend.Kirk (the little of this book that he is in), Spock & McCoy were written first rate.

I recommend the Audio Book and I certainly want to read the book and I think you should too.

Grade: B

4-0 out of 5 stars Firmly in the top 10% of all Star Trek novels
[Review written Nov 2004]

This is one of the earliest Star Trek novels, and still ranks among the best in the genre. It's a fast no-frills read, weighing in at only around 225 pages, and the story involves murder, intrigue, theoretical physics and a classic time travel & save-the-universe type plot ... a theme that has since been mined nearly to death by a host of imitators over the past 20+ years.

By today's standards, it's a bit short, and I wished the authoress had spent more time exploring some of the interesting new characters she introduces, and not rushed the plot along quite so quickly ... but it's still an enjoyable read.

It's one of the few books in my Star Trek collection that's on my periodic rereading rotation.

5-0 out of 5 stars my first
This was the first ST book I read, have had it for years, but just recently re-read it. It's a good book, a bit sad, but a good one. It delves a lot into Kirk/Spock/McCoy's relationships. I also like how Sulu gets some special treatment in this story, which unfortunatly, we wont see again for quite a while.definitly check it out

4-0 out of 5 stars Mystery and Suspense mixed with the Star Trek theme!
This story reminded me a little of the ST:TNG episode, "Yesterday's Enterprise" -in regards to the ripple effects of time travel and how it is portayed in the story telling.

In my opinion, even though Star Trek usually goes overboard in their time travel stories, this one is written very well and is not to corny. Vonda McIntyre mixes mystery and suspense along with the original Star Trek theme. I found myself not wanting to put the book down -as to see the conclusion of the suspense and mystery. Vonda McIntyre stayed in on the Star Trek theme and focused on character development.

In this story the story focused mainly on Spock and Sulu. There is the usual romance for Kirk. It's not really a romance. He runs into an old flame that gets him thinking about marriage, life, etc. But here Sulu has the more passionate and tender romance and Spock meets up with an old science mentor who is the hero/villian of the story.

This book is a great read and hard to put down! Enjoy!


3-0 out of 5 stars Entropy Effects
The first all-new novel published by Pocket in the Star Trek franchise was written by an accomplished science fiction novelist, with a background in her own fiction, and a winner of a Hugo and a Nebula. One of the dangers of this type of author is a tendency to view the characters independently, rather than to use them as established in series continuity. Every author will play favorites with the characters, writing up the ones they like and assigning secondary roles, or completely ignoring, those they do not like. This is evident in McIntyre's first outing with the Star Trek characters.

The Enterprise is dispatched to observe a singularity, and discover the reason for its appearence. None like it, with no apparent explanation for its existence, has been observed previously. Spock is the closest qualified observer, and so he conducts the measurements, as the Enterprise spends six weeks in close proximity to the dangerous gravity well and radiation output. As Spock is working on the confirming observations, the Enterprise receives a top-priority call to a nearby starbase. The starbase personnel are confused, but they do have one duty that must be carried out: the ferrying of a dangerous prisoner to a maximum-security facility. The prisoner turns out to be a former physics teacher of Spock's, and the Vulcan cannot understand the danger posed. All records of the trial have been sealed and/or expunged.

Soon after the prisoner is taken on board, he breaks onto the bridge and shoots Captain Kirk with a spiderweb bullet, a terrorist device which causes prolonged death with great pain. The crew is horrified. The new security chief, Commander Flynn, is also killed in the assault. Spock finds that the dangerous nature of the prisoner, and his crime, is related to the professor's discovery of a simple method for time travel. This has also caused the singularity to appear, so the method is increasing the entropy of the universe, and will cause its end in less than 100 years. Spock must travel back in time himself to repair the damage to the time continuum, and save his captain and the universe. McIntyre writes well, and the book has a good plot, so the problem here is mostly with characterization.

So many of the regulars are out of character that it is often hard to take the book seriously. The author obviously likes Sulu, and to an extent Spock, while disliking Scotty and Kirk. Scott only gets "grumpy old man" stuff to do, and shows no other side of his character, aside from a measure of loyalty to Kirk. The captain is killed off halfway through the book, and might have remained that way had this book been made only of McIntyre's characters (which would have made a better book). The author also is enamored with her own characters, Commander Flynn and her security crew, and Captain Hunter, an old lover of Kirk's and the captain of a border patrol ship. There is a strongly feminist bent here, despite the small amount of time given to Uhura. The spiderweb bullet is a good invention, a projectile with tendrils that grow and crush the nervous system, reaching to the brain. The problem is, at one point McIntyre writes about visible tendrils that Spock avoids on a near-miss shot. Tendrils small enough to infiltrate the nervous system would likely be invisible to the naked eye. And another thing: when Spock endeavors to go back through time, he tells only McCoy, and ostensibly leaves the Doctor in charge of the ship. At no time was McCoy ever shown to be a command officer, and it would have been procedure (which Spock would have followed) to inform Scotty, who both was the next ranking officer, and thus should have been designated the conn, as well as being able to help to engineer the necessary parts for time travel.

It's a good story. It just doesn't work, as written, as a Star Trek story. ... Read more

8. Entropy and Art: An Essay on Disorder and Order, 40th Anniversary Edition
by Rudolf Arnheim
Paperback: 72 Pages (2010-08-02)
list price: US$17.95 -- used & new: US$10.93
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Asin: 0520266005
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Classic from a Master
Rudolf Arnheim, from the strange and deep 1970's decade, wrote a seminal and almost unnoticed classic about the relation between Entropy and Art. The book has different properties, depending on who is the reader: an artist, a semiotician, an "architectural morphologist". Arnheim exposes the more embarrassing question to the design methodology: the bare principles of an information theory related to the most qualitative matter, Art. It is an amazingly inspiring booklet, who will find (much) more readers along the Century. ... Read more

9. Engines, Energy, And Entropy: A Thermodynamics Primer
by John B. Fenn
Paperback: 293 Pages (2003-06-30)
list price: US$29.95 -- used & new: US$29.95
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Asin: 0966081382
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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In Engines, Energy, and Entropy, John Fenn engagingly explores the subject of thermodynamics by drawing on the reader s everyday experience. He lucidly explains the laws of thermodynamics, examines their origins, their meaning, and their application to familiar situations. His wry presentation includes frequent insights into the history of the subject, and a whimsical character named Charlie the Caveman as an early Everyman, highlighting the applications of the laws. End-of-chapter exercises permit readers to test their comprehension of the material. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

4-0 out of 5 stars A Great Introduction for Non-Technical Readers
Thermodynamics is generally perceived as a nightmare by most technical students. Yet, the importance of this discipline cannot be underestimated as it provides a solid foundation upon which the concept of energy can be clearly understood, explained, and put into practicalities.

Since I haven't previously had a formal training in mechanical engineering or related fields, I had to teach myself thermodynamics in order to be able to model dynamic of complex systems which constitutes part of my PhD work and this makes me struggling for some years.

I firstly started with the work of Dr. Morton Mott-Smith (1964) titled "The Concept of Energy Simply Explained" in which, I think, is an excellent primer! I bought Prof. Fenn's book later when I have already had an adequate proficiency in this field. Yet, I still find this work enjoyable to read.

This book is specifically tailored for non-technical readers with minimal skills in Mathematics. Hence, most key concepts are presented descriptively rather than quantitatively. This makes this volume highly readable especially for non-technical readers.

Another point that worths mentioning is Prof. Fenn's creative use of 'Charlie' as a charactor to represent the basic human's experiences in every day life on heat and energy in relation with thermodynamics which can generate sufficient humour to overcome technicality and boost understanding on serious topics.

Whoever you are, and regardless of your academic backgrounds, if you want to explore thermodynamics in a friendly fashion, this is an ideal book to start!

Doy Sundarasaradula, PhD
May 8, 2009

5-0 out of 5 stars Thermodynamics made understandable - but never easy.
Having made several attempts to understand thermo, ever since first struggling to grasp its concepts in college as an engineering student, and later returning to re-read the college texts as well as Zemansky's Heat and Thermodynamics and Enrico Fermi's remarkable monograph on the subject, I can write that John Fenn has indeed, for me, composed a lucid and fundamental exposition of the subject.I only regret that he continues the tradition of discussing the Carnot cycle in its historical and conventional (and wholly impractical) abstraction, composed of two isothermal and two adiabatic transformations when a truly practical example is available in the Stirling cycle, which, along with the Ericsson cycle, being completely reversible, is also a Carnot cycle.Moreover, contemporary machinery operating on the Stirling cycle can (and has) been built and remains available as commercial working models. Engines based both on the Stirling and Ericsson cycle were in common use at one time pumping well water.Now, while an enduring subject of interest to technologists despite its poor power to weight ratio compared to the (irreversible and non-Carnot) internal combustion engines, Stirling cycle machines can be operated both as an engine and as a refrigerator and therefore serve as a truly realistic embodiment of the heat transfer-to-work/work-to-heat transfer machine upon which a large part of thermodynamics is predicated.An example of a heat reversible machine that can actually be built and run lends much credence to a presentationfor those readers, such as this one, always seeking an eminently practical example of an otherwise hypothetical concept.Fenn does discuss heat pumps, a subject not commonly treated in introductory texts and provides a simple analysis that uncovers, even better than the discussion of engines, the magic of combining work with thermal transfer.

Very much to his credit, Professor Fenn does mention in his historical asides that the development of engines (and, for that matter, machinery in general) proceeded without the benefit of much or any theoretical understanding of physics and that the theory of thermodynamics congealed well after inventors Newcomen, Watt, Carnot, Stirling, Ericsson, Otto and Diesel had all left their considerable marks on the material world - an unusual and welcome perspective for engineering readers from an exceptional educator.The discussion also includes the global implications of energy consumption, its actual (1981) values and comparisons with that provided by the Sun.The treatment of entropy, probably the most difficult concept to understand for many students, is the best this reader has encountered.

A general caution here, however.Despite the jacket disclaimers, this book is not for the technically uneducated reader.Its understanding requires a knowledge of algebra and at least a pretty good grasp of high school physics.The author, himself, states that the book can be used as one semester college engineering course in thermo, a recommendation with which this reader enthusiastically agrees.Some knowledge of chemistry and appreciation of technology in general is also helpful.And although Professor Fenn makes gallant and successful attempts to pilot through mathematical obstacles in some computations using only algebra, knowledge of college level calculus is of substantial assistance to the reader at many salient points.

5-0 out of 5 stars Understandable by Scientist and Layperson
As many of you may or may not know, John Fenn was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in December 2002 for his work in ElectroSpray Ionization and its applications to Mass Spectrometry.His sharp wit, knowledge of historical events and sense of humor blend together quite well in this primer on Thermodynamics.What is usually a very dry and "nap inducing" subject, seems to come alive and engage the reader by presenting a new outlook about the inner workings of what we so often have blindly taken for granted in the world of physics and chemistry.One really nice feature of this book is the fact that the earliest discoveries and conclusions formulated throughout history are brought to life as the reader passes form one discovery to the next.

The book is arranged in thirteen well thought out chapters, with sample problems, chapter highlights and reader exercises placed at the end of every chapter to test the reader's comprehension of the material.There are also several appendices designed to "clear the cobwebs" from our memories about forgotten details about subjects such as Logs, Mechanical properties and Units.

You don't have to be a Chemist, Physicist or Mathamatition to understand the material presented in this thermodynamics primer.One aspect of the book that will find the greatest amount of appeal to non-scientific people, is that of Charlie the caveman.This cartoon character runs throughout the entire book struggling to understand basic thermodynamic principles that we take for granted.Charlie even gets himself into trouble with fire breathing dinosaurs now and then.

For those readers who are sure that they understand everything that there is to know on the subject of thermodynamics, they may find themselves pleasantly surprised from time to time, as new insight is revealed, or a previously unknown historical connection is made.I know that I was very surprised at some of the historical connections that were presented.

Basic concepts that we accept without much thought are brought under scrutiny.For example, if I were to ask someone whether it is hot or cold in the room, they would certainly answer one way or the other.I would further ask, how do you quantify that?In fact the second chapter is entitled "How hot is hot?"Without a store bought thermometer, how would you convey the amount of "hotness" of a room?Or "coldness"?How would you explain what temperature is?Why is the scale on your home thermometer marked the way it is?What does the National Institute of Standards use for a temperature reference?What is Count Rumford's real name?

It is questions like these that are addressed in the book; after all, we all know why the Fahrenheit scale is marked the way it is, right?If not, I strongly suggest that you read this book.

In short, I would state that the amount of work needed to understand the book would not consume a great quantity of energy!

5-0 out of 5 stars Suitable for the non-specialist general reader
Deftly and accessibly written by John B. Fenn (Research Professor at Virginia Commonwealth University and the winner of the 2002 Nobel Prize in Chemistry), Engines, Energy, And Entropy: A Thermodynamics Primer is a basic, nontechnical introduction to the laws of physics that draws upon the reader's everyday experience to illustrate and solve simple problems and equations. An excellent, easy-to-follow beginner's resource, superb text for self-instruction or for refreshing an awareness after a few seasons away from campus, Engines, Energy, And Entropy is a suitable for the non-specialist general reader as well as a recommended supplemental reader for chemistry students at the university level.

5-0 out of 5 stars Nobel Prize Winner's View
This is a nice little book for someone who wants to understand thermodynamics. Some interesting things like Newton suggested having the human body temperature as a key reference point instead of boiling water. The book is good also for students studying physics and engineering thermodynamics. It is written in a very nice sytle. The author just recently received a Nobel Prize and this adds a little interest to the book written in 1982. ... Read more

10. Maximum Entropy Econometrics: Robust Estimation with Limited Data
by Amos Golan, George G. Judge, Douglas Miller
Hardcover: 324 Pages (1996-04-19)
list price: US$180.00 -- used & new: US$75.63
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0471953113
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In the theory and practice of econometrics the model, the method and the data are all interdependent links in information recovery-estimation and inference. Seldom, however, are the economic and statistical models correctly specified, the data complete or capable of being replicated, the estimation rules ‘optimal and the inferences free of distortion. Faced with these problems, Maximum Entropy Economeirics provides a new basis for learning from economic and statistical models that may be non-regular in the sense that they are ill-posed or underdetermined and the data are partial or incomplete. By extending the maximum entropy formalisms used in the physical sciences, the authors present a new set of generalized entropy techniques designed to recover information about economic systems. The authors compare the generalized entropy techniques with the performance of the relevant traditional methods of information recovery and clearly demonstrate theories with applications including

  • Pure inverse problems that include first order Markov processes, and input-output, multisectoral or SAM models to
  • Inverse problems with noise that include statistical models subject to ill-conditioning, non-normal errors, heteroskedasticity, autocorrelation, censored, multinomial and simultaneous response data, as well as model selection and non-stationary and dynamic control problems
Maximum Entropy Econometrics will be of interest to econometricians trying to devise procedures for recovering information from partial or incomplete data, as well as quantitative economists in finance and business, statisticians, and students and applied researchers in econometrics, engineering and the physical sciences. ... Read more

11. The Entropy Law and the Economic Process
by Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen
 Paperback: 476 Pages (1999-11-23)
list price: US$24.95 -- used & new: US$18.75
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1583486003
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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"Every few generations a great seminal book comes along that challenges economic analysis and through its findings alters men's thinking and the course of societal change. This is such a book, yet it is more. It is a "poetic" philosophy, mathematics, and science of economics. It is the quintessence of the thought that has been focused on the economic reality. Henceforce all economists must take these conclusions into account lest their analyses and scholarship be found wanting.

"The entropy of the physical universe increases constantly because there is a continuous and irrevocable qualitative degradation of order into chaos. The entropic nature of the economic process, which degrades natural resources and pollutes the environment, constitutes the present danger. The earth is entropically winding down naturally, and economic advance is accelerating the process. Man must learn to ration the meager resources he has so profligately squandered if he is to survive in the long run when the entropic degradation of the sun will be the crucial factor, "for suprising as it may seem, the entire stock of natural resources is not worth more than a few days of sunlight!" Georgescu-Rogen has written our generation's classic in the field of economics."—Library Journal ... Read more

Customer Reviews (10)

5-0 out of 5 stars A classic book that establishes the bases for sustainable development policy
As a classic in the field, the book establishes the bases for sustainable development policies, and can help to cope with the challenges of future energy supply, limits to growth, and climate change.

I deserves deep consideration by those responsible for policies and actions that can influence the next decades scenario.

4-0 out of 5 stars Mixed bag of valuable insights and dated rant (3.5 stars)
There are many great criticisms of neoclassical economics in this book. Georgescu-Roegen (G-R) points out such flaws as
@ regarding the economy as a closed, circularsystem;
@ neglecting qualitative changes because of the theory's preference for "arithromorhpic" concepts, i.e., concepts organized into distinct and non-overlapping gradations (such as preference/indifference/non-preference), rather than having fuzzy edges or ambiguities (such as real human preferences);
@ failing to attribute value to leisure, and negative value to the drudgery of work (albeit that assuming work must involve drudgery is itself based on some presuppositions not mentioned by G-R); and
@ fallacies in production models, "stock-flow" analysis and input-output tables.
The critique is usually presented with a refreshing brio. G-R isn't afraid to call ideas stupid when he believes them so.

But ... a lot of this book seems to go off the track. There is way more discussion of history of math and physics than seems necessary. Lengthy discussions of eugenics and cloning near the end of the book kind of come out of nowhere. Much of this, especially the biology, is by now very dated, and even that which is less so is often superfluous and bombastic. Some readers may think G-R prophetic because of his occasional allusions to solar power, and I was surprised to see him use the expression "nanotweeze" (as a noun) in 1971 (@351) -- but the book is wrong about so many other forward-looking details that these seem almost like lucky guesses, given the wide range of topics G-R drags into the book.

More substantively, G-R's understanding of physics was quite loose and often wrong. He errs when he talks about how "our whole economic life feeds on low entropy" (@277). Here he seems to be following an error Erwin Schroedinger made in an early edition of his "What is Life?"; Schroedinger corrected the error in a subsequent edition long before G-R's book, but that correction goes unnoticed. G-R's idiosyncratic usage of the terms "free energy," "bound energy" and "polymeres" (sic) will also set your teeth on edge if you come from a natural science background.

G-R does not make a convincing case for the relevance of entropy to economics. There are at least three reasons for this. First is G-R's faulty exposition of the concept, as mentioned above. Second, G-R doesn't adequately motivate the thermodynamics metaphor in economics. As shown in P. Mirowski's "More Heat than Light", the adoption of this metaphor was without empirical motivation, and came in no small part from a kind of "physics envy". It's true the metaphor as adopted didn't include the Second Law (about entropy). But before faulting the model for that omission, one should show why the analogy is appropriate at all. Instead of doing so, G-R mentions a few times that thermodynamics was based on an economics analogy. That's not good enough, especially given the distinctions between physical and social sciences G-R describes in his Chapter XI. Third, even assuming the thermodynamics metaphor can be justified, G-R doesn't address the proper limitations for the metaphor's domain of application. Why just add the Second Law into economics? How about non-equilibrium thermodynamic formalism? How about an analogue to chemical kinetics, which prevent chemical reactions from reaching equilibrium instantly or even at all, and without which we could not be alive? G-R ignores all these, without explanation (indeed, without seeming to be aware of them).

G-R is more convincing in the more limited claim that neoclassical economics models err in considering waste as an "externality", if not ignoring it altogether. That's a significant point, and he deserves credit and gratitude for making it. But this ambitious book does not read today like the grand philosophical synthesis it seems to have been intended to be.

5-0 out of 5 stars TheEntropy Law and the Economic Process
One of the best books in economic theory ever made. A seminal text that will be a cornerstone in further studies for many generations ofeconomists and social philosophers.
Radmilo Pesic
University of Belgrade

5-0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, but not Perfect
It must be admitted that Georgescu-Roegen's understanding of entropy was flawed.He, along with many other authors including physicists, thought entropy was a measure of disorder.It is not.That entropy is not a measure of disorder is discussed in a recent scholarly article by chemistry Prof. Frank Lambert, who has a nice web site devoted to the topic.More to the point, it was also discussed in Beard and Lozada's book about Georgescu-Roegen (p. 88, "Economics, Entropy, and the Environment: The Extraordinary Economics of Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen").It's not easy to say what entropy actually is, but it is straightforward for scientists to measure that, say, the standard entropy of one mole of iron (about 55.8 grams of iron) is 27.7 Joules per Kelvin.

While Georgescu wasn't completely right about all of entropy's aspects, his attacks on Boltzmann's H-Theorem, and on the "information as entropy" school, show completely correct understanding of other aspects of entropy.Furthermore, in his indictment of neoclassical dynamic economics, he was the vanguard of critics who decry slavish devotion to mathematical models which assume we know the future (at least probabalistically).Absorbing Georgescu's lessons would've spared Economics Nobel Laureates Merton and Scholes their disastrous experience running the failed hedge fund Long-Term Capital Management (described in the book "When Genius Failed"): change happens, the past does not always predict the future, and the consequences of one's actions sometimes cannot be imagined by anyone.When investing money, that's a good perspective; when talking about man's effect on the environment, as Georgescu was, it's a perspective that could save the planet.

1-0 out of 5 stars Good intentions no substitute for poor science
Georgescu-Roegen's intentions are laudable, as are many of his proposals. The thermodynamic basis of this work, unfortunately, is unsupportable. This is a pity, as it has left his critique of capitalism open to dismissal, and has contributed to a generation of obfuscation in social and environmental theory.

The problem, simply put, is this: while it sounds convincing to most lay-people (and even many physicists, chemists and engineers) to equate thermodynamic entropy with "disorder", this is based on a meaningless misinterpretation of the second law of thermodynamics. The second law of thermodynamics simply states that energy tends to disperse, if it is not hindered from doing so. It says nothing about "orderliness", and nothing about availability of matter.

Entropy is an extensive property of thermodynamic systems. It is not a property of energy, and certainly not of matter. It is nonsensical to speak of "high- or low-entropy" energy. It is even more nonsensical to speak of "high- or low-entropy" matter. Better to speak of energy quality ("the sun provides us with high-quality energy, and low-quality energy is re-radiated back into space"). Entropy is used to measure the "concentration" (I use this term for illustration only) and hence the usefulness or availability to us of energy, within a given system of matter and energy. The second law of thermodynamics tells us nothing about the tendency of matter to become more or less useful or available to us. There is no thermodynamic basis for reading inevitable decay onto physical, biological or social systems.

Dr. Frank L. Lambert, Professor Emeritus (Chemistry) of Occidental College, Los Angeles, has carried out extensive work over the past few years to demythologise the popular (and, all too frequently, specialist) misunderstanding of the second law of thermodynamics. For anyone contemplating reading "The entropy law and the economic process", I would strongly advise that you first look at Lambert's website: http://www.entropysite.com. He goes through this in detail in multiple format aimed at a range of audiences from lay-person to scientist and engineer.

This review is not intended to be disparaging, towards either Georgescu-Roegen, or others who share the common misunderstanding of the second law of thermodynamics. The problem is deeply entrenched and it will be a long time before the myths around entropy and the second law are dispelled. This is a start. ... Read more

12. Complexity, Entropy and the Physics of Information
Paperback: 544 Pages (1990-01-22)
list price: US$73.00 -- used & new: US$45.68
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Asin: 0201515067
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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5-0 out of 5 stars Masterful.Just plain masterful.
A must have for those with a deep commitment to the second law of thermodynamics, entropy, and information theory. Let us give thanks to Jonny von Naumann. ... Read more

13. Entropy
by Thomas PYNCHON
Paperback: 16 Pages (1983)

Asin: B000ILF1HI
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14. Entropy Analysis: An Introduction to Chemical Thermodynamics
by N.C. Craig
 Hardcover: 208 Pages (1992-04-07)
-- used & new: US$187.32
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Asin: 3527895396
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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This work on entropy analysis emphasizes the central role of the entropy function in determining thermodynamic outcomes and in doing so, employs direct application of the second law and the harmonic oscillator and cell models to display the workings of the entropy function at the microscopic level. At the same time, the book only uses minimum mathematics (finite differences and no calculus); emphasizes useful approximations; provides numerous examples of thermodynamic reasoning and of chemical problem-solving; and includes applications for electrochemical systems with a unified treatment of galvanic cells and electrolysis cells. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Outstanding book; ridiculous price
This book is simply outstanding.It assumes knowledge of basic chemistry, and a certain degree of comfort with the mathematics of chemistry, and covers only the basics of thermodynamics, as applied to chemistry.To some degree it even paves the way for the later study of statistical mechanics.I won't claim it makes the material easy to learn, but it does as good a job of this as any other text I've read.

This book makes an excellent supplement to most college chemistry textbooks, which have confusing and generally inadequate discussions of thermodynamics.The exercises are reasonable and quite helpful for understanding the material.

As a last comment, I want to point out that the price is absurd--this is a tiny paperback volume, and as good as it is, it is hardly worth paying more than $40 for; the publishers should be ashamed of themselves.

5-0 out of 5 stars Good, but...
It is certainly a good intro to Thermodynamics book, but it'stoo skimpy for the money.At only 200 pages, it isn't a completetextbook on the subject, but noteworthy and significant nonetheless. ... Read more

15. Sons of Entropy(Buffy the Vampire Slayer Gatekeeper Trilogy)
by Christopher Golden, Nancy Holder
Mass Market Paperback: 336 Pages (1999-05-01)
list price: US$6.99 -- used & new: US$0.02
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Asin: 0671027506
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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All Hell is Breaking Loose

Led by the fanatical Il Maestro, the Sons of Entropy are assaulting the supernatural Boston mansion that holds back the realm of monsters, and stealing the life force from the besieged Gatekeeper. In limbo, the Ghost Roads are crumbling, becoming weak and unstable where Hell and the Otherworld have begun seeping in, blurring the passages that lead to the human world. And Xander lies mortally wounded from a failed attempt to free Joyce Summers from the clutches of the zealots who hold her hostage.

With the Gatekeeper rapidly weakening, Buffy sends Willow and Cordelia to escort Xander along the Ghost Roads to the Gatehouse, which may hold his only hope of survival. Meanwhile, she, Giles, and an unlikely band of allies take their fight to the very mouth of Hell itself, desperately hoping to save Joyce and repel the evil spawn before Sunnydale becomes a demonic ground zero. Only then can Buffy safeguard the Gatekeeper's eleven-year-old heir, the only one able to prevent the ultimate destruction of humanity. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (29)

4-0 out of 5 stars Jhaeman's Review
Book 3 of The Gatekeeper Trilogy
Christopher Golden & Nancy Holder (1999)

RATING:4/5 Stakes

SETTING:Third Season

CAST APPEARANCES:Buffy, Xander, Willow, Giles, Angel, Oz, Cordelia, Amy, Joyce, Ethan Rayne

MAJOR ORIGINAL CHARACTERS:Jacques Regnier, Jean-Marc Regnier, Antoinette Regnier (Gatekeeper family); Micaela Tomasi (ex-Son); Fulcanelli/Il Maestro (Sons leader); Brother Claude, Brother Lupo (Sons of Entropy); Belphegor (demon); Hadrius (Fulcanelli's teacher)

BACK-OF--THE-BOOK SUMMARY:"Led by the fanatical Il Maestro, the Sons of Entropy are assaulting the supernatural Boston mansion that holds back the realm of monsters, and stealing the life force from the besieged Gatekeeper.In limbo, the Ghost Roads are crumbling, becoming weak and unstable where Hell and the Otherworld have begun seeping in, blurring the passages that lead to the human world.And Xander lies mortally wounded from a failed attempt to free Joyce Summers from the clutches of the zealots who hold her hostage.With the Gatekeeper rapidly weakening, Buffy sends Willow and Cordelia to escort Xander along the Ghost Roads to the Gatehouse, which may hold his only hope of survival.Meanwhile, she, Giles, and an unlikely band of allies take their fight to the very mouth of Hell itself, desperately hoping to save Joyce and repel the evil spawn before Sunnydale becomes a demonic ground zero.Only then can Buffy safeguard the Gatekeeper's eleven-year-old heir, the only one able to prevent the ultimate destruction of humanity."


Sons of Entropy ends the Gatekeeper Trilogy on a strong note.As the novel begins, Xander lays near death, Joyce is kidnapped, and the Gatekeeper is coming closer and closer to defeat at the hands of Il Maestro.Golden & Holder do an excellent job of threading these various storylines together into an enjoyable whole.As a special treat, Ethan Rayne makes one of his characteristic guest appearances, but this time there is a twist: in order to save his own skin, he's forced to serve the forces of Order and the result is quite funny.

Golden & Holder like epic stories with cosmic implications, and Sons of Entropy is no exception.As with most of their work, I find the best parts of Sons of Entropy are those with the more mundane, "believable" aspects than the apocalyptic elements.The dialogue and characterization remain first-rate, and even the villains get interesting, distinct personalities.Joyce and Giles are especially well done.Although a battle against a minotaur in a labyrinth is a bit too cheesy for my taste, scenes of Xander (?) wielding awesome powers are exciting and suspenseful.

The Gatekeeper Trilogy would serve as a nice introduction to the world of Buffy novels for fans interested in the show but wanting a more substantive plot than the stand-alone books.Although not perfect, Sons of Entropy is a solid novel and a worthwhile conclusion to the trilogy.

(c) 2005 Jeremy Patrick (jhaeman@hotmail.com)

Buffy Novel Reviews: http://www.geocities.com/jhaeman

5-0 out of 5 stars A great Buffy the Vampire Slayer trilogy
You know how many times you get suckered into buying a bunch of paperbacks because it is some giant continued story?Well, trust me, this one is well worth the investment in time and cash.Golden and Holder are far and away the best writers working on Buffy books and in this entire series they get free reign with the characters and their imagination.There is also a respect for Buffy and her friends you do not always get in such books.Let me put it another way: you know how good this series is?I went out and got a hardback edition because this is a keeper (even if you do not have a gate).

5-0 out of 5 stars The concluding book in an epic Buffy trilogy
The Gatekeeper Trilogy is far and away the best of the Buffy books.Christopher Golden and Nancy Holder are far and away the best writers working on the books.Since they are also the main authors of the Watcher Guides they certainly have the requisite knowledge of the characters and the Buffy mythos.In retrospect I ended up feeling about these three books pretty much the way I did about the original Star Wars trilogy where the second one is the best and the finale has a bit of trouble living up to your expectations because what has gone before has been so great.However, put them together and they simply set the bar higher for everyone who comes in their wake.

Ironically, in this particular book Buffy has less to do that most of the other characters.It was certainly nice to see that Xander have a bright shinning moment as the substitute Gatekeeper.His character has been the comic relief for the Scooby Gang for so long that you forget he brought Buffy back from the dead at the end of season one.They also do a nice job of getting to what Cordelia is thinking behind her tactless remarks, but Oz is back to quipping a bit too much as he was in Book One and Willow is much more of a successful little spellcaster than she has yet to be in the television episodes.Still, I feel they are on the right track with most of these character developments. However, the character who really shines in this volume is Joyce Summers, dealing with being the mother of the Slayer as best she can.

After including Spike and Drusilla in the previous volume as a minor plot complication (I really was expecting more from them), the authors have Ethan Rayne makes a much more substantive guest appearance in this concluding volume, although he is really just a plot contrivance.The truly tragic figure that emerges from this trilogy is Jacques Regnier, the young boy who has to become the Gatekeeper following the death of his father.His fate is different from that of Buffy as the Slayer, but he is also a Chosen One and there is a certain pathos to his having too grow up too quickly. The creation of the Gatekeeper and the Gatehouse are the best ideas I have come across in the Buffy books so far, and are worthy of being included in the mythos of the television series.I was surprised to see that the historical flashbacks on the story of Giacomo Fulcanelli, Il Maestro, were substantially less than in the previous volumes, although his back story is concluded.

The resolution to the Gatekeeper storyline in "Sons of Entropy" works pretty well, more so with the Gatekeeper's part of the battle than with Buff's final confrontation with the demon Belphegor.I have never really liked the idea that the Achilles heel of the bad guys is that they all lie to their stupid minions who tend to betray them at the right moment.I would much rather see the good guys rise to the occasion and do so without the old chestnut of figuring out the meaning of the key clue at the last moment.The idea of the Gatekeeper and the Gatehouse merging in a new way was a very credible solution.Again, I know that my expectations were so high that Joss Whedon himself would have problems coming up with a conclusion that would truly top the marvelous set up.If you have read and enjoyed any of the original Buffy novels, you have to treat yourself to the Gatekeeper Trilogy.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Fantastic Final Chapter
The Sons of Entropy is the third and final installment in the Gatekeeper Trilogy. Xander is near death. Joyce is kidnapped. Divided the team struggles to save their friends and family, while saving the world from a hellish outbreak of all things evil. The action is non-stop. The peril is real. The danger is heart stopping. As always in the midst of this whirlwind Mr.Golden and Ms. Holder take time to give the reader wonderful moments. For example the gatekeeper granting Angel a magic dream of Buffy so real he can smell her lavender and vanilla fragrance or Joyce proving that she is worthy to be a slayer's mother. I have given copies of the Trilogy to several of my friends and they all love it as I do. I highly recommend this series. It is excellent horror fiction. Please do yourself a favor. Read this book.

4-0 out of 5 stars serial novels come to life
So often serial novels fall flat with little or no introspection or thought.The characters sound like they are from a tv show, but somehowthis triology did get you to thinking and like most dark fantasy we findBuffy's world a metaphor for teenage existence.

The tv series is wildlypopular with the young crowd and the old crowd that is young at heart,Angel being the series for older people with a lot more dark content.

Butthe Buffy books written for adults offers a depth and an insight into whatteens are going through today.Women have changed at a very basic level inour society.No longer do we see the tough mail hero.We see girls andwomen filling those roles and trying to keep it all together.In thisseries we see a reflection of having to grow up too young both in theslayerettes and in Jacques an 11 year old that will spend 100's of yearskeeping evil out of the world and bad things at bay.Giving up anychildhood that older people might have enjoyed.

The symbolism of thisbook is deep drugs violence gangs the world is very different.Keep yourminds open grown ups and understand that being a child or a kid today isvery different than when you were that age that the rules have changed andnobody gave them a rule book and the symbolism will jump out at you.

Theonly disappointing thing is Angel and Buffy....Give me a break I feel likeafter a couple of hundred years one would gain some wisdom.Why doesn'tangel display it he makes the same mistakes over and over again.He needsto be the Slayers paramour or else he would be dust ... Read more

16. The Entropy Tango
by Michael Moorcock
 Paperback: 160 Pages (1987-05-01)
-- used & new: US$41.06
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Asin: 0450056635
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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3-0 out of 5 stars Super Reader
This is more Moorcock madness. Una Persson again makes an appearance, and in the twentieth century, war is still a feature, as various parts of the Cornelius crew run around the place, listen to music, cause trouble, and do what they usually do.

Jerry, of course, has to get there first. ... Read more

17. A Farewell To Entropy
by Arieh Ben-Naim
Paperback: 412 Pages (2008-01-18)
list price: US$65.00 -- used & new: US$49.82
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Asin: 9812707077
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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The principal message of this book is that thermodynamics and statistical mechanics will benefit from replacing the unfortunate, misleading and mysterious term entropy with a more familiar, meaningful and appropriate term such as information, missing information or uncertainty. This replacement would facilitate the interpretation of the driving force of many processes in terms of informational changes and dispel the mystery that has always enshrouded entropy.

It has been 140 years since Clausius coined the term entropy ; almost 50 years since Shannon developed the mathematical theory of information subsequently renamed entropy. In this book, the author advocates replacing entropy by information, a term that has become widely used in many branches of science.

The author also takes a new and bold approach to thermodynamics and statistical mechanics. Information is used not only as a tool for predicting distributions but as the fundamental cornerstone concept of thermodynamics, held until now by the term entropy.

The topics covered include the fundamentals of probability and information theory; the general concept of information as well as the particular concept of information as applied in thermodynamics; the re-derivation of the Sackur Tetrode equation for the entropy of an ideal gas from purely informational arguments; the fundamental formalism of statistical mechanics; and many examples of simple processes the driving force for which is analyzed in terms of information.

Contents: Elements of Probability Theory; Elements of Information Theory; Transition from the General MI to the Thermodynamic MI; The Structure of the Foundations of Statistical Thermodynamics; Some Simple Applications. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

2-0 out of 5 stars As if there isn't enough confusion already...
In the Introduction, Ben-Naim greets us with a teaser: those of us who think that the (ideal) entropy of mixing is positive, have a problem. We should take our medication and read this book till we come to our senses and realize that the entropy of mixing is zero.But first things, first.

Ben-Naim uses Shannon's entropy (information) to re-interpret statistical thermodynamics. This has been done before, most notably by Jaynes, who is quoted throughout the book. Ben-Naim, however,goes further to argue that all other interpretations of entropy are wrong. The very term, "entropy,'' he argues, is part of the problem: it means nothing and should be abandoned. Even "enfometry'' or "average surpisal" would be more meaningful terms. From here on the book goes back and forth between being a technical presentation of information theory, or a repetitive litany of arguments on semantics. So, what about the entropy of mixing? The argument is laid out in section 6.7. It is long and somewhat rambling ("we already feel in our bones that some information has been lost forever in the process...'' p279) but it goes something like this:

Consider the classical mixing experiment, a box divided into two parts, each filled with a different ideal gas. Remove the partition and let the system equilibrate. Ben-Naim argues that the corresponding increase of entropy arises, not from mixing, but from the expansion of the gases (each gas has more volume to roam). Mixing is entirely incidental, he argues, as relevant to this process as the shape of the container into which the gases expand. If we compress the mixed gases isothermally to half the volume of the mixture, its entropy would become the same as that of the pure gases before mixing. Ergo, the entropy of mixing is zero! What the rest of us call "entropy of mixing,'' Ben-Naim continues, is a bad application of a bad term: "naming a quantity "entropy of mixing'' is more than naming a person or a thing by an arbitrarily chosen name. It is both inappropriate and potentially misleading (p274)''. We wouldn't call it "entropy of squaring" if gases happen to expand in a square vessel, why then call it "entropy of mixing" if gases happen to mix as they expand? Thus goes the argument. None of this requires information theory, by the way. It can be argued by undergraduate classical thermodynamics.

Does this view advance our understanding of nature?Is mixing as incidental to the expansion experiment as Ben-Naim argues? Suppose it is. Then, we should be able to reverse the state of the expanded mixture by compression. But that is not possible: the molecules of gas A would have to be compressed to the left half of the box, the moleculesof gas B to the right, and this cannot be done because we don't know where the molecules are.

It is a pity that these irrelevant arguments undermine the premise of the book, whichis (ought to be) to argue for an information theory of thermodynamics. Fortunately, this was done fifty years ago by Jaynes in his classic paper, Information Theory and Statistical Mechanics, Physical Review, vol. 106, p. 620, 1957, also included in the collectionE.T. Jaynes: Papers on Probability, Statistics and Statistical Physics (Synthese Library).

5-0 out of 5 stars A bridge between information theory and thermodynamics sure to inspire a new generation of developments in statistical mechanics
Finally a book that brings information theory and thermodynamics together in a comprehensive way! Ben-Naim paves the way for a future generation of innovation in statistical thermodynamics using the tools of information theory.

The traditional understanding of entropy associates it with disorder. While this view is useful in many contexts, it fails to explain some properties of entropy. Ben-Naim leads us into identifying entropy with uncertainty, or the "missing information" of the system. Information possessed by whom? In this case, we are not talking about perception or communication. Wherever the number of states of a thermodynamic system resides, there resides the entropy.

Ben-Naim explains the so-called Gibbs-paradox in a most satisfying way (Appendix O). A related phenomenon occurs when we mix two chemical species and leave the volume and temperature unchanged. We originally have Na moles of gas A and Nb moles of gas B, each in its respective container of volume V. If we now mix both substances into a single container also of volume V, the entropy remains unchanged. If we insist in understanding entropy as disorder, the mixed container looks more disordered; but the entropy stayed constant. This is not a paradox. In this process, the volume available for substance A and substance B to explore never changed, so the counting of states is unaltered. The missing locational information about gas A and gas B is constant for this process. This treatment applies to ideal mixtures, where the particles don't interact among themselves.

For processes where the particles do interact, we will observe additional correlations which reduce the missing information, a.k.a. entropy. The physical coupling of intermolecular forces translates into statistical correlations. Ben-Naim's presentation (Chap. 5) creates a further bridge between the statistical, information theoretical understanding and thermodynamic entropy.

What I would call the jewel of the book is a rederivation of the Sackur-Tetrode equation for the entropy of an ideal gas (Sec. 5.4). We learn this equation from physical chemistry books as set in stone, but what does it mean? The author rederives it by stacking the missing information due to 4 terms: locational uncertainty, momenta uncertainty, quantum mechanical uncertainty principle and the indistinguishability of the particles.

For all the bridges that Ben-Naim constructs between information theory and thermodynamics, there remain some gaps. "There is no formal proof that [the counting of states and the quantity defined by Clausius in terms of heat transfer and temperature] are identical. The validity of the relationship between the two quantities ultimately rests on the agreement between the calculated values of [entropy] and experimental data based on Clausius' definition". This state of affairs is however not unique to entropy, as science rests on many empirical relationships.

The book is well-written and can be used by researchers and students of undergraduate and graduate levels.

5-0 out of 5 stars an insightful and clear book on a controversial subject
"A Farewell to Entropy: Statistical Thermodynamics Based on Information" by Arieh Ben-Naim is really a great book. One can consider it a more technical and detailed version of the wonderful little book by the same author, "Entropy Demystified". Although the concept of entropy has been around for almost 150 years, it still remains elusive and controversial. This can be easily seen by the large number of scientific articles, books, and scientific meetings that are currently dedicated to the foundations of the subject. The interpretation of entropy of a system as missing information about the system has been around for a long time, since the works by Brillouin and Jaynes in the 1950's. However, it has been dismissed by many scientists as a subjective interpretation, although, as it is wonderfully explained by Ben-Naim, these same scientists sponsored even more subjective interpretations, such as a measure of the disorder of the system. The book by Ben-Naim provides a solid and lucid explanation of missing information as a very precise and objective concept. The connection between missing information and thermodynamic entropy is also very clearly explained. The book also contains several examples that are very illuminating. I think the book should be read by anyone interested in statistical physics and physics of complex systems.

4-0 out of 5 stars A modern approach to statistical thermodynamics
In the Preface, the author states that there are many good books on statistical thermodynamics, and that this is not a textbook on this subject.However, though few other books exist that make use of the concept of "information" in statistical thermodynamics, this seems to be the first one that bases the full construction of the theory upon the information.For this reason, the approach by Arieh Ben-Naim is really modern and deserves a careful reading.

Personally, I don't think that this book can not be used as a textbook.Indeed, it is quite self consistent and builds step by step the core of the theory in such a way that any student is able to follow all arguments.Actually, it is true that it does not contain everything, but what is the textbook that really contains everything?May be, the only unpleasant thing for a student is the non negligible amount of time spent commenting the differences with other well known references, in particular the explanations of the probable reasons why Gibbs did not reach the very same results.But comments like these would be a valuable resource for teachers, on the other hand.

If I had to choose one thing in this book, I would recommend to enjoy the derivation of the Sackur-Tetrode equation (chapter 4): it is really beautiful and does not have the "shadows" that classical derivations suffer.For the very first time, I should say, I think I have understood it, thanks to this book.

However, the most important point of the whole book, the real starting point of the full construction, is the following.Shannon's measure H of the missing information (MI) is a more general concept than the entropy S, that is a thermodynamic quantity defined _only_ for equilibrium states: H can be defined for _any_ probability distribution and it comes out that H=S for the equilibrium state.Hence, though in thermodynamics, only changes of S between different equilibrium states are defined, one can make use of the properties of H to perform derivations in a more general context.The results, when applied to thermodynamic equilibrium states, will be also valid for the entropy S.

As the author explained in his introductory book Entropy Demystified: The Second Law Reduced to Plain Common Sense, the fact that S can only increase is an experimental observation, whose explanation is provided by a framework in which matter is discrete and composed by intrinsically indistinguishable particles, with the postulate of equally probable microscopic states and the postulate that the system will be found more often in macroscopic (or "dim") states with higher probability (the latter being the sum of the probabilities of all practically indistinguishable microscopic states, under the assumption that they are all independent).

What it is known as "thermodynamic equilibrium state" is really a set of "dim states" (or "macro-states", following Gibbs) for which the measurable quantities (that are inherently macroscopic) differ only by negligible amounts, so that they are practically (though not in principle) indistinguishable.In turn, these dim states are (in principle) different because they contain all "micro-states" (or "specific states", for Ben-Naim) that features the very same values of the observable quantities.In the assumption that all microscopic states are equally probable (dating back to Boltzmann and fully used by Gibbs), it turns out that the macro-states containing more micro-states are more probable, so that the system will spend more time on them.The family of macro-states around the macro-state with the maximum number of micro-states is what it is called thermodynamic equilibrium state.

The entropy S is defined _only_ for this set of macro-states, that is for the equilibrium state.However, the Shannon's (missing) information theory is defined for _each_ individual macro-state.That is why H is more general than S.By following these arguments, the full theory of statistical thermodynamics can be built, as you will find in the book by Arieh Ben-Naim.

5-0 out of 5 stars The basics of Statistics, Information Theory and Statistical Mechanics in a nutshell
As all previous books of Arieh Bem-Naim have already shown, he is an excellent writer. This is a very clearly written book, wherein the explanations are sufficiently detailed for non-experts to understand. The book is very complete and stands for its own. It starts by presenting all the statistical background needed for the ulterior chapters. Then, the author presents the core construction and the historical development of Information Theory and, in later chapters, applies it to the fundamentals of Statistical Mechanics. Furthermore, the whole book is full of interesting and engaging examples. Therefore, the book is a highly recommended reading for anyone interested in these topics. ... Read more

18. Entropy Theory of Aging Systems: Humans, Corporations and the Universe
by Daniel Hershey
Hardcover: 276 Pages (2009-08-14)
list price: US$65.00 -- used & new: US$50.70
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Asin: 1848162928
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Entropy is a measure of order and disorder. If left alone, aging systems go spontaneously from a youthful, low entropy and order, to an old, high entropy and disorder. This book presents the commonality of entropy principles which govern the birth, maturation, and senescent history of aging humans, corporations, and the universe. Mainly, we introduce and entropy theory of aging, based on the non-equilibrium thermodynamic ideas of Ilya Prigogine, leading to the thermodynamic concepts of Excess Entropy (EE) and Excess Entropy Production (EEP).We describe the aging process in humans in terms of the EE and EEP concepts. This book also describes the information entropy theory and equations of Claude Shannon and the six parameters which trace and mark the lifecycle of corporations. To conclude, this volume uses classical and informational entropy concepts, equations and calculations to explain the birth, evolution, and death of our aging universe, and all of this in relation to the concept of Infinity.

  • Life and Death
  • Entropy, Infinity and God
  • Lifespan and Factors Affecting It: Humans
  • Entropy Theory of Aging Systems: Humans
  • Entropy Theory of Aging Systems: The Corporation
  • Entropy Theory at Aging Systems: The Universe
... Read more

19. Entropy (Princeton Studies in Applied Mathematics)
Hardcover: 448 Pages (2003-10-06)
list price: US$87.00 -- used & new: US$58.72
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Asin: 0691113386
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Product Description
The concept of entropy arose in the physical sciences during the nineteenth century, particularly in thermodynamics and statistical physics, as a measure of the equilibria and evolution of thermodynamic systems. Two main views developed: the macroscopic view formulated originally by Carnot, Clausius, Gibbs, Planck, and Caratheodory and the microscopic approach associated with Boltzmann and Maxwell. Since then both approaches have made possible deep insights into the nature and behavior of thermodynamic and other microscopically unpredictable processes. However, the mathematical tools used have later developed independently of their original physical background and have led to a plethora of methods and differing conventions.

The aim of this book is to identify the unifying threads by providing surveys of the uses and concepts of entropy in diverse areas of mathematics and the physical sciences. Two major threads, emphasized throughout the book, are variational principles and Ljapunov functionals. The book starts by providing basic concepts and terminology, illustrated by examples from both the macroscopic and microscopic lines of thought. In-depth surveys covering the macroscopic, microscopic and probabilistic approaches follow. Part I gives a basic introduction from the views of thermodynamics and probability theory. Part II collects surveys that look at the macroscopic approach of continuum mechanics and physics. Part III deals with the microscopic approach exposing the role of entropy as a concept in probability theory, namely in the analysis of the large time behavior of stochastic processes and in the study of qualitative properties of models in statistical physics. Finally in Part IV applications in dynamical systems, ergodic and information theory are presented.

The chapters were written to provide as cohesive an account as possible, making the book accessible to a wide range of graduate students and researchers. Any scientist dealing with systems that exhibit entropy will find the book an invaluable aid to their understanding. ... Read more

20. Grammatical Man: Information, Entropy, Language and Life
by Jeremy Campbell
Hardcover: 319 Pages (1982-07)
list price: US$16.95
Isbn: 0671440616
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Grammar very important. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (8)

5-0 out of 5 stars Truly interesting, a book to read more than once
This is one of the most interesting books I've read since Godel Escher & Bach. This was better, in that it didn't spend time constructing verbal parallels to Bach's very interesting musical structures.

Grammatical Man opens your brain to a bunch of ideas about what exactly is meant by "information".Very nice intro to the formal aspects of info theory a la Claude Shannon, but with an amazingly approachable way of talking about it. Not at all condescending, and technically interesting.You could build a PhD from the ideas that this book lays out for you.PhD not your inclination, OK.You could build an interesting life investigating what Campbell lays out for you.

3-0 out of 5 stars Bridging a gap
A fascinating introduction to Information theory. And we need it too. Information theory is still unfortunately largely unknown, even amongst the generally well educated classes of society. An educated person today needs, at least a rudimentary understanding of evolution, plate tectonics, genetics and the big bang. Information theory really should be in this short list too. Campbell helps bridge this gap.

4-0 out of 5 stars An Intro to Information Theory
This book succeeds in its stated intention of giving an overview of the development of information theory. Human beings are "decoders" who interpret information. Scientific theories are human creations seeking to enlighten. The author explains a basic explanation from information theory, i.e., that "in an ordinary conversation, information is conveyed when the speaker says something that changes the listener's knowledge."

Campbell attacks Darwin's theory, writing, "One major difficulty is that the central argument of Darwinian theory circles back on itself, explaining nothing." He goes into detail on why evolution is unscientific.

The brain makes decisions along the way as to what information it will process and how it will interpret what it takes in. "All seeing is interpretation" he writes. He describes the "editing" process of the brain: "...that does not imply that memory necessarily preserves the original meaning intact. The brain goes to work on information while it is being stored in memory,interpreting, drawing inferences, making assumptions, fitting it into a context of past experience and knowledge already acquired."

This is a helpful book on information theory, the workings of the brain, and the process of interpreting what one sees. It will open the mind of the nonjudgmental reader.

3-0 out of 5 stars Grammatical man is also very verbose
The grammatical man has been highly recommended by some of the icons of popular science including Martin Gardner (Intellectual Journey of the highest sort) This is however a book that makes that journey too circuitous, sometimes even tortuous, to complete. For a book on information theory it is quite ironic that the average sentence in the book has brain-numbingly little information. Some examples: 'The pioneers of communication theory, cybernetics, and intelligent machines came to recognize that they were dealing with a new set of concepts and a new vocabulary unlike any that the science had previously known' Another hollow pearl 'On this issue, researchers tend to be divided along Chomskyan and anti-Chomskyan lines, some at the extreme edges, others somewhere in no man's land, being shelled by both sides' Fine lines, but vacuous if entire chapters are filled with them. Definitely not a book for the impatient reader or one with a reasonable mathematical aptitude. The book tires itself out after the first five or six chapters by needlessly running around the same Chomskyan and shannonian bushes. You (a person with a little exposure to either of the fields) would find that the same theory is phrased and rephrased in words. I do agree that popular science books need to assume little prior knowledge on the readers part, but that should not mean that a point has to belabored and hammered (eloquently...have to give him that) in. I gave the book three stars because of the the first few chapters. It is a steady boring downhill intellectual journey after that.

3-0 out of 5 stars somewhat "outdated"
If you're attracted to this book because of an interest in the implications of entropy on various aspects of life, including language and information, then you should keep looking.

This was no doubt a radical and satisfying read when it first came out in the early 1980s, but the subject area has matured since then.

I will recommend the very recent "Mother Nature's Two Laws" by A. D. Kirwan as a fine alternative. ... Read more

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