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Re: [Phys-L] The second law of thermodynamics

John Denker (2012) in a postscript "Philosophical and pedagogical point" to his PhysLrnR post "Re: The second law of thermodynamics" wrote:

As it says at <>: "Thermodynamics is celebrated for its power, generality, and elegance. However, all too often, students are taught some sort of pseudo-thermodynamics that is infamously confusing, limited, and ugly."

As I indicated in "Re: The Abysmal Foundations of Thermodynamics" [Hake (2010), a response to Denker (2010)], the power, generality, and elegance of classical thermodynamics is cogently set forth by Brian Pippard (1957) in "Elements of Classical Thermodynamics" [Pippard (1957)].

Who's Brian Pippard? See the Wikipedia entry at <>.

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"It may be objected by some that I have concentrated too much on the dry bones, and to little on the flesh which cloths them, but I would ask such critics to concede at least that the dry bones have an austere beauty of their own."
- Brian Pippard (1957, p. vii)

REFERENCES [All URL's shortened by <> and accessed on 05 Jan 2013.]
Denker, J. 2010. "Re: The Abysmal Foundations of Thermodynamics," Phys-L post of 07 Dec 2010 11:48:32 -070; online on the OPEN! Phys-L archives at <>. Denker wrote: "To me, thermodynamics is synonymous with statistical mechanics. It is predicated on being able to count the microstates. I am aware that classical thermodynamics flourished for many decades before QM was invented . . . . . but personally I don't understand classical thermodynamics, certainly not the foundations thereof."

Denker, J. 2012. "Re: The second law of thermodynamics," on the CLOSED! PhysLrnR archives at <>. Post of 4 Jan 2013 13:23:35-0700 to PhysLrnR. See also Denker's (2010) Phys-L post. To access the archives of PhysLnR one needs to subscribe : - ( , but that takes only a few minutes by clicking on <> and then clicking on "Join or Leave PHYSLRNR-LIST." If you're busy, then subscribe using the "NOMAIL" option under "Miscellaneous." Then, as a subscriber, you may access the archives and/or post messages at any time, while receiving NO MAIL from the list!

Hake, R.R. 2010. "Re: The Abysmal Foundations of Thermodynamics," online on the OPEN! Phys-L archives at <>. Post of 8 Dec 2010 08:20:27-0800 to Phys-L and PhysLrnR.
Pippard, A.B. 1957. "Elements of Classical Thermodynamics" Cambridge University Press, publisher's information at <>. information at <>. Note the searchable "Look Inside" feature.