The name was coined in 1849 by Lord Kelvin by combining Greek words for heat (thermos) and power (dynamos). Thermodynamics involves some of the most basic and important of all scientific concepts (Nos. 3 and 4 on one "top 10" list I've seen).
In some ways, thermodynamics is simpler than you might expect. All the fundamental concepts are based on observation of everyday experience. This observation has been formalized into 3 Laws of Thermodynamics that investigate
If everything is so simple, why does thermodynamics have the reputation of being hard?
It is full of hard words and signs and numbers, not very entertaining or understandable looking ... (quoted in Levenspiel, p. xi)The difficulty comes from making precise descriptions of phenomena and in developing a mathematical framework that allows us to cultivate an understanding of the Laws.
Modified: 5/22/2000; 5/20/2004
Copyright 2004 by R.M. Price -- All Rights Reserved