Four Laws That Drive the Universe

This little book is a gem. I have to admit that most of the students who have completed my first physical chemistry semester, which is all about thermodynamics, would benefit from reading this wonderful explanation of the central place that these topics play in every aspect of life. In courses, we all tend to teach our students what is necessary to solve problems and to survive the partial derivatives. In Four Laws, Peter Atkins beautifully and clearly describes the larger tableau. He even begins with the afterthought - the Zeroth Law - and spends a chapter each on the other three, with an additional one on Free Energy. While he did not have the courage to put the dreaded T word in the title (for which he apologizes in the first paragraph of the Preface), he has kept the volume so small and light that it might entice the unwary to actually pick it up. It would be a good idea to read it before or during a thermo course. This is a small cousin to another of Atkins' books that is a favorite of mine, The Second Law, which one can still find in the used book market or in libraries.

Publication information
Pick Attribution: 

Peter Atkins

Publication Date: 
Monday, January 1, 2007