The Laws of Thermodynamics: A Very Short Introduction
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The Laws of Thermodynamics: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions #224)

3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  124 ratings  ·  24 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--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...more
Paperback, 103 pages
Published April 19th 2010 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published January 1st 1990)
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The Laws of Thermodynamics: A Very Short Introduction by Peter W. Atkins

“The Laws of Thermodynamics" is a very solid and practical book that covers the core concepts of thermodynamics. Accomplished author of many science books and Professor of Chemistry at the University of Oxford, does the wonderful A Very Short Introduction series justice by providing readers with an accessible account of the four laws of thermodynamics. This well-written 144 page-book is composed of the following five chapter...more
Entropy is increasing? DUH! Who knew?

Amazon review:
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 read...more
Chris Lynch
I felt that I needed to brush up my Thermodynamics, and this little pocket-sized introduction was just the ticket to get me re-started. Not by any means an exhaustive treatment of the subject but a good memory-jogger for someone whose last encounter with Gibbs' Free Energy was sometime around 1987. Each chapter gives firstly a treatment of a concept in classical, 'bulk' thermodynamics, and then explains the statistical link to the micro-world. Peter Atkins tackles the subject with an appealing,...more
Dan Cohen
Peter Atkins has an excellent dry writing style and the type of keenly pedantic Oxbridge mind that helps the reader to see things in a different way. He starts this right at the beginning by surprising me with a "zero'th law" and ends the book surprising me again by talking about temperatures below absolute zero. Most importantly, he explains why conventional measures of temperature are an accident of history and that a better approach would be to use inverse temperature. A good book.
This is an interesting and thought provoking book about the laws of thermodynamics. The level of treatment is accessible to any intelligent person, being mostly a qualitative discussion with occasional mathematical formulas. Concepts are illustrated with diagrams and examples.

The book covers the four laws of thermodynamics (Zeroth: the concept of temperature, First: the conservation of energy, Second: the increase in entropy, and Third: the unattainability of zero temperature). The concept of f...more
Ryan Cutter
This book is very handy for A-level difficulty work, without skimping out on the algebra. The ideas are presented clearly and without much abstraction allowing for a clear view on the subject at hand.
(In my copy)The diagrams are clear and well printed and compliment the writing, far better than usual for this series I find.
Though this isn't an enthralling read and is easily forgotten about,it makes for a good reference in times of revision.
I had to read this book because I was doing a physics project on thermodynamics. This is a good starting point for people who didn't know anything about the subject before because (like all very short introductions) it's quite easy to understand. If there is anything you don't understand it'll become clear after reading the section again a few times. Nothing really difficult is presented, which I guess is good because it didn't scare me off the topic! However what you learn from the book is kin...more
THE most delightful book on thermodynamics you might ever read. Short too.
Jun 09, 2014 Gerd marked it as to-read
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A clear and concise review of thermodynamics in under 100 pages
As a layman with no college math, this helped me understand a little bit about thermodynamics, though I think I'll need to reread a few more times for the concepts to sink in, but not sure you could ask more of a tiny 100 page treatment on the subject. I picked this up because I wanted to understand entropy better, especially as it relates to information theory. The author cops at the end to not daring to get into this domain, understandably sticking to the core concepts.
I thought I could never understand "real" physics, but this book gave me courage that I can! This is a clearly written and fairly complete assessment of thermodynamics that leaves you with no nagging unanswered questions, if you are willing to invest time and concentration to it.
Atkins' book reads like an enjoyable romp through thermo, explaining often-difficult concepts in everyday language and everyday examples. I recommend it to anyone wanting a refreshing, fun overview of the field.
Lost me after a while. Much seems like it's made up just for the sake of accounting. I did like the suggestion that we should be measuring inverse temperature.
Ravi Bhim
Nov 08, 2012 Ravi Bhim marked it as to-read
Okay, that isn’t necessarily true. The laws of thermodynamics will not have to be repealed cars are manuafacured with body and frame integrity of a Dixie Cup.

A good introduction to thermodynamics. Only just covers the basics, but then again it is the 'very short introduction' so can't really complain
A must-read. Most of us have read it all in school. But did we really appreciate it for what it's worth? Science writing at its best!!!
Artem Barinov
A very well written introduction to Thermodynamics, which encloses a lot of very interesting information in a very small amount of words.
Ollie Ford
Couldn't tell you how many times I yawned. I don't blame the author, I just really have no appetite for thermodynamics.
Nothing too complicated, still quite interesting and broader than what I studied this year.
Excellent first half - difficult second half as things got more abstract. Will need to read again!
Refreshes 3 semesters of thermo in a few sittings. Doesn't read like a textbook.
Hanrong Tham
A great book for all beginning undergraduate students.
Educational and at times surprising.
Dathi marked it as to-read
Jul 24, 2014
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