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Four Laws That Drive the Universe

4.02 of 5 stars 4.02  ·  rating details  ·  184 ratings  ·  19 reviews
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, and from the unfurling of a leaf to the course of life itself--everything is moved or restrained by four simple laws. They establish fundamental concepts such as temperature and heat, and reveal the arrow of time and even the na ...more
Hardcover, 130 pages
Published November 1st 2007 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published 2007)
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Community Reviews

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Mengsen Zhang
this book is amazing. If it's not dad's recommendation I wouldn't have read that with the look of the title. And I was shocked. This is the most elegant book I have ever read about thermodynamic. It's concise, accessible but doesn't sacrifice its depth. No dramatic statement or attempts to elicit unnecessary or unscientific imagination. no cheezy fantasy. if I had read this in college, physical chem would not have to be a pain in the ass.
This guy is an english chemistry professor who's specialty is to make simple things complicated for the lay person.
I'd like to state first why i wanted to read that book ? because i wanted to understand the second law of thermodynamics and to have an understanding perhaps provisional one in case i study thermodynamics in the future quantitatively with equations , my review : the first two chapter are very good and introduce the idea of Temperature , i love very much the third chapter in my humble opinion it is the best chapter written , i made me get a good intuition about entropy and the second law , his ex ...more
Sehar  Moughal
A great read. I stumbled upon this book by accident (I had no active interest in studying the field of thermodynamics). Suffice to say, I am now very much interested! Peter Atkins has a flare of delivering a difficult concept using stories and scenarios. I could picture the steam engines and the inside working of a refrigerator as he explained the 1st and 2nd law of thermodynamics. In my mind, I could see the electrons bouncing back and forth as Atkins explained temperature, heat and work. High ...more
Rory Foster
Accessible and clear explanation of some very subtle ideas, with no more complicated math than first-order algebra. Really enjoyable.
Likes to take a simple explanation, draw 5 or 6 analogies (when 2-3 are enough), and bastardize a concept.

The 0th and 1st Laws of Thermodynamics are the simplest to understand but he just made them unnecessarily complicated. But I think he did a decent job on the 2nd and 3rd Laws.
Una buena pincelada a las 4 leyes de la termodinámica. Recomendado para refrescar conceptos y lenguaje asociado al tema
Raúl Eduardo
Thats awesome ...more
Francisco Luis
Manual de termodinámica para diletantes. Fácilmente aprensible, pero en algunos momentos se hace difícilmente comprensible. La simplificación de las Leyes de la Termodinámica se hace muy complejo, y más cuando se hace desde la perspectiva de un químico que no de un físico. No obstante, explica muy bien conceptos como el de la entropía, entalpía o la energía libre. Recomendable para entender como funciona el universo y entender la complejidad de los estudios de la cosmología o la física de altas ...more
Very comprehensive and detailed exposition of 4 laws of thermodynamics as well as Gibbs, Helmholtz free energies. The mathematics is confined to the theorems only, and yet the description is essential to understand these laws without sacrificing rigour. The only thing that is not covered is probably the mathematics of it. Highly recommended for those seeking the first detailed understanding of thermodynamics.
"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler"
Albert Einstein.

I like that this is only 130 pages long,focused on a single topic and is made as simple as possible.This simplicity I'm found quite challenging. I didn't understand it all and will have to return again or find other sources to learn more.
Very nicely described the basics of universe laws. Easy to understand it's more fact and math book then some others of topic but still if you are having need to fill in you physics class from past this good be good start. Altough - it may be easier to stay along with Cox's or Hawking's book. Do keep up though.
For anyone who either forgot about the laws of thermodynamics or never learned them, this is an amazingly concise description of the laws of the universe that usually take much longer to describe. If you generally are not intersted in science I would not recommend it.
Bloody brilliant. Would have blitzed my chem papers if I'd read this while taking them, no question about it. Definitely on the READ AGAIN list.
A review of the four laws of thermodynamics. I stalled in the meantime I've been reading other books. I will get back to it. Its a bit dry.
I should probably read it a few more times to really get it all, but it was a great discussion on these laws.
Wonderfully accessible but not overly simplistic. (At least for this B.F.A.-holder.)
Dec 19, 2009 Lisa marked it as to-read
Four Laws That Drive the Universe by Peter Atkins (2007)
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Peter Atkins is a fellow of Lincoln College, University of Oxford and the author of about 70 books for students and a general audience. His texts are market leaders around the globe. A frequent lecturer in the United States and throughout the world, he has held visiting professorships in France, Israel, Japan, China, and New Zealand. He was the founding chairman of the Committee on Chemistry Educa ...more
More about Peter Atkins...
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