When I started reading some of the latest books by well-known physicists, I realized that there were some foundational concepts and terminology that I needed to revisit and review. Thanks, Wikipedia (to which I have indeed donated money).
So, I’m not talking about Einstein’s famous E = mc^2. No, something more basic: energy and entropy.
We talk about energy all the time. At least we have a better sense of that term than entropy, which is key to an understanding of modern cosmology. Huge concepts with a long history. Lots of reading, even without all the mathematics.
Just because physicists talk about these things easily and engineers build marvelous things based on understanding them — that doesn’t imply there’s no mystery.
One can see that entropy was discovered through mathematics rather than through laboratory results. It is a mathematical construct and has no easy physical analogy. This makes the concept somewhat obscure or abstract, akin to how the concept of energy arose. … nobody knows what entropy really is. … Clausius wrote that he “intentionally formed the word Entropy as similar as possible to the word Energy”, basing the term on the Greek ἡ τροπή tropē, “transformation”.
There are other things with names that start with the letter ‘e’ and boggle my imagination: electron, electric constant, elementary charge.
2 thoughts on “Starting with ‘e’ it’s a mystery”
Today, an unexpected source for a cool quote about energy.
• Wired > “How Much Power Does Batman Need for His Ascender Gun?” by Rhett Allain (Jul 22, 2022)
• Wired > “Have Some Scientists Gotten Too Excited About the Multiverse?” by Geek’s Guide To The Galaxy (9-9-2022) – Episode 525 of the Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast, an interview with Sabine Hossenfelder
Credit: Pixabay/CC0 Public Domain
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