A Fresh Look at Entropy and the Second Law of Thermodynamics

The existence of entropy, and its increase, can be understood without reference to either statistical mechanics or heat engines
  • Elliott H. Lieb
  • Jakob Yngvason


In days long gone, the second law of thermodynamics (which predated the first law) was regarded as perhaps the most perfect and unassailable law in physics. It was even supposed to have philosophical import: It has been hailed for providing a proof of the existence of God (who started the universe off in a state of low entropy, from which it is constantly degenerating); conversely, it has been rejected as being incompatible with dialectical materialism and the perfectibility of the human condition.


Simple System Heat Engine Entropy Function Compound System Macroscopic System 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elliott H. Lieb
    • 1
  • Jakob Yngvason
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Princeton UniversityPrincetonUSA
  2. 2.Erwin Schrödinger Institute for Mathematical PhysicsViennaAustria
  3. 3.University of ViennaAustria

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