The laws of thermodynamics drive everything that happens in the universe. From the sudden expansion of a cloud of gas to the cooling of hot metal - everything is moved or restrained by four simple laws. Written by Peter Atkins, one of the world's leading authorities on thermodynamics, this powerful and compact introduction explains what these four laws are and how they work, using accessible language and virtually no mathematics.
Guiding the listener a step at a time, Atkins begins with Zeroth (so named because the first two laws were well established before scientists realized that a third law, relating to temperature, should precede them - hence the jocular name Zeroth), and proceeds through the First, Second, and Third Laws, offering a clear account of concepts such as the availability of work and the conservation of energy. Atkins ranges from the fascinating theory of entropy (revealing how its unstoppable rise constitutes the engine of the universe), through the concept of free energy, and to the brink, and then beyond the brink, of absolute zero.
In a hurry? Listen to more Very Short Introductions.
©2010 Peter Atkins (P)2011 Audible, Inc.
Boomer-type who loves science, especially physics and cosmology.
I took beginning thermo in my wasted youth and wished that I could have had this book to lean on while I was taking the class. I thought it was humorous and accessible. I listened to it walking to work and I chuckled out loud at several things. Near the end, when the narrator was talking about phase diagrams, I could have used the figures in the "downloadable pdf" he kept referring to. Apparently Audible doesn't offer this with the book, which is a glaring omission. The book itself is worth getting if you want a very general overview of the 0th through 3rd laws of thermodynamics. It made me want to study the topic further!
This entertaining discussion of the laws of thermodynamics was originally published in hardback as "Four Laws that Drive the Universe." The author, Peter Atkins, is a famous chemist and the author of textbooks on physical chemistry and popular science books like "Galileo's Finger: The Ten Great Ideas of Science." Atkins is also a famous atheist in the Richard Dawkins "God Delusion" mold, but his atheism does not figure into this book, which I downloaded because I was interested in a moderately rigorous review of thermodynamics. This was partially because of the relationship between the 2nd Law and Information Theory (see Gleick's "The Information: A History, A Theory, A Flood), partially because of CP Snow's famous essay on "The Two Cultures" in which he compares ignorance of the 2nd Law to ignorance of Shakespeare's "Hamlet", and partially because it has been 35 years since I took physical chemistry in college. This met my needs perfectly. Atkins manages to balance readability/listenability with scientific rigor. I do own the print version of this Very Short Introduction and referred to it periodically as I listened. For example, I would look at the figures in a chapter before listening to it while jogging. I doubt it would work well without the print copy. I have downloaded several of these Very Short Introductions as audiobooks, and this is one of the better ones.
I wish my engineering prof could have told it to me this way.
It gave me a better picture of the whole then what I learned
I studied Thermodynamics as a young man and thought this be a good work to clear the basics of the subject that I hadn't got years ago. From the write up I expected it to be a basic introduction to thermodynamics. It isn't - it's just some professor up on cloud nine totally unable to communicate to anyone except perhaps persons at his level who of course don't need it. No problem with the reader but it's difficult to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.
Not really, this is not a story book. You need the print version to digest ideas which sometimes are not easy..
I do not think this question applies to this book.
He was very clear and read at a good speed. He gave the topic a very "friendly atmosphere" - much better than listening to an ordinary lecturer.
No,you need to ponder at the ideas, read the text and then listen again.
Overall, an excellent book and narration.
I learned a lot from the book (minus the downloadable charts), so I would rank it fairly high.
He is an OK reader.
There are frequent references to downloadable figures. These are unfortunately NOT included.
The first CD burn was a disastrous quality. On trying again I kept on beinn tols that Audible downloads couls only be burnt one time. Please send me a new download so I can try burning this title on CD.
A PDF was supposed to accompany this but it doesn't download. Iv'e tried it twice to no avail.
"Very good book,"
I thought this book was great. It did not speak down to you but it also did not use complicated language. I work in refrigeration and found this book very helpful.
There are no listener reviews for this title yet.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.