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Entropy Demystified: The Second Law Reduced To Plain Common Sense (Revised Edition): The Second Law Reduced to Plain Common Sense with Seven Simulated Games Paperback – 18 Jun 2008


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Product details

  • Paperback: 262 pages
  • Publisher: Wspc; Expanded Ed edition (18 Jun 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9812832254
  • ISBN-13: 978-9812832252
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.6 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 886,828 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

This book makes very good reading for all students of thermodynamics, as well as for more-advanced people who do (or do not) feel comfortable with the fascinating concept of entropy.
--CERN Courier

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Rasrasmussen on 17 Aug 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A thought-provoking book suitable for non-specialists. It briefly describes the conventional formulations of the law before providing detailed illustrations of how changes are 'driven' in terms of probability, and of entropy's description of these changes in terms of 'missing information'. Perhaps the middle section has a few too many extra illustrations, but, overall, the book is engaging and leaves the reader with a solid understanding of change in simple systems.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Kowalewski Jozef on 3 July 2009
Format: Paperback
Arieh Ben-Naim's book "Entropy demystified" provides a nice explanation of the second law of thermodynamics, directed in principle to laymen but also highly interesting to physical chemists or physicists. Entropy is explained in terms of well-defined "missing information" (rather than the less precise "disorder") or, simply, as a consequence of common sense.
Jozef Kowalewski, Stockholm University
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 5 Jan 2011
Format: Paperback
A good clarifying introduction to an important but challenging concept for A-level physics students contemplating a degree in the physical sciences as well as for first year physics and chemistry undergraduates needing a better grasp of a somewhat slippery idea. No attempt is made to develop the subject in a mathematically formal manner.
The writer's purpose is to help readers gain some insight into the nature of entropy, not to provide a course in thermodynamics or statistical mechanics. This is simply a helpful primer for rigorous study and it performs its introductory task well.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Andreas M. Argeitis on 18 May 2010
Format: Paperback
The book is mainly intended for people who have had no previous exposure to probability theory and probabilistic thinking. That is why its biggest part is devoted to explaining the basic notions of probability theory, together with a little bit of information theory (without any mathematical rigor, however). I found this introduction quite wordy, with several unnecessary diversions. On the other hand, the connection of entropy with thermodynamics (given in the first Chapter) is not analytically presented, although I acknowledge that this would require substantially more background information in order to be understandable.
The Second Law is presented through several "thought experiments", which all look very much alike (especially if one understands that the underlying stochastic dynamics in every case are practically the same), making the middle section of the book too lengthy for what it offers. On the other hand, these repetitions could prove to be useful for beginners, who may not be able to understand everything from the first example. In general, the clarity of the presentation and the simplicity of the author's approach (which, however, is not simplistic) are the two very strong points of the book. In terms of difficulty and complexity, it ranks a little bit above the "popularized science" books, but still it is not as concise and to-the-point as a more informed reader would like, due to its wordy presentation.
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As a way of explaining the second law of thermodynamics and especially the elusive and mysterious concept of entropy this is a fascinating book. It attempts to introduce this concept without the use of physical concepts, or at least states this as its aim. It states that noone needs any knowledge of maths or physics to follow the account. However, this is not actually true since throughout the author refers, at many stages, to physical concepts with little explanation. It must also be stressed that he attempts to explain entropy through the use of probability in it most basic foundation. Remarkably, he succeeds and explains some of the central aspects of thermodynamics such as equilibrium without recourse to any physics at all merely through the basic laws of probability. This gives the strong impression that thermodynamics is actually simply mathematics and no physics is required at all. Then in one of the last chapters he attempts to connect his earlier probabilistic explanations with physical reality through the usual gas molecules partitioned between two volumes, the left full of gas and the right empty of gas, when the partition is released. It then comes unstuck to some degree since he very quickly makes this connection without it being at all convincing. For example: the probability of any molecule crossing the distance from one side of the volume across the barrier (which remains open enough for one molecule to cross and for a very short time) is the same for each of the molecules on the left hand side. This seems totally unbelievable since only molecules near the partition can hope to cross it in the time available and then only if their velocity vectors are oriented towards the right.Read more ›
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