`Review from previous edition It takes not only a great writer but a great scientist with a lifetime's experience to explains such a notoriously tricky area with absolute economy and precision, not to mention humour.' Books of the Year, Observer. `His engaging account...the lucid figures offer readers a firm understanding of energy and entropy.' Science `Concise, well-written, engaging and carefully structured... an enjoyable and informative read.' Chemistry World `Peter Atkins's account of the core concepts of thermodynamics is beautifully crafted.' Simon Mitton, THES `A brief and invigoratingly limpid guide to the laws of thermodynamics.' Saturday Guardian `Atkins's systematic foundations should go a long way towards easing confusion about the subject...an engaging book, just the right length (and depth) for an absorbing, informative read.' Mark Haw, Nature `[Atkins'] ultra-compact guide to thermodynamics [is] a wonderful book that I wish I had read at university.' New Scientist
From the sudden expansion of a cloud of gas or the cooling of a hot metal, to the unfolding of a thought in our minds and even the course of life itself, everything is governed by the four Laws of Thermodynamics. These laws specify the nature of 'energy' and 'temperature', and are soon revealed to reach out and define the arrow of time itself: why things change and why death must come.
In this Very Short Introduction Peter Atkins explains the basis and deeper implications of each law, highlighting their relevance in everyday examples. Using the minimum of mathematics, he introduces concepts such as entropy, free energy, and to the brink and beyond of the absolute zero temperature. These are not merely abstract ideas: they govern our lives.
In this concise and compelling introduction Atkins paints a lucid picture of the four elegant laws that, between them, drive the Universe.
ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.