Into the Cool: Energy Flow, Thermodynamics and Life

Into the Cool: Energy Flow, Thermodynamics and Life


By (author) Eric D. Schneider, By (author) Dorion Sagan

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  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Format: Paperback | 378 pages
  • Dimensions: 150mm x 226mm x 25mm | 590g
  • Publication date: 31 December 2006
  • Publication City/Country: Chicago, IL
  • ISBN 10: 0226739376
  • ISBN 13: 9780226739373
  • Edition: New edition
  • Edition statement: New edition
  • Illustrations note: 30 halftones, 3 tables
  • Sales rank: 166,002

Product description

This discourse on the second law of thermodynamics, that refers to the tendency of energy to spread out rather than concentrate or remain stable, considers how this law underpins the most important of processes, such as evolution, ecology, economics & the origin of life.

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Author information

Eric D. Schneider served as senior scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and director of the National Marine Water Quality Laboratory of the Environmental Protection Agency. His work on thermodynamics--a topic he has pursued for more than twenty years--has been widely anthologized and cited. Dorion Sagan is coauthor of "Acquiring Genomes" and "Up from Dragons." Called an "unmissable modern master" of science writing by "New Scientist," Sagan has written for the "New York Times," "Natural History," and "Wired," among other publications.

Review quote

"In his well-known essay 'The Two Cultures, ' C.P. Snow famously remarked that an inability to describe the Second Law of Thermodynamics was a form of ignorance comparable with never having read a work of Shakespeare. It's fair to say that these days, the Second Law gets far less press than the Bard. Enter "Into the Cool," in which the authors claim that the study of thermodynamics (in some ways the neglected stepchild of the sciences) can inform our understanding of biology, ecology and even economics. The authors begin by rephrasing the Second Law-as 'Nature abhors a gradient'-and proceed to illustrate its relevance to large systems in general. Whether one is considering the difference between heat and cold or between inflated prices and market values, they argue, we can apply insights from thermodynamics and entropy to understand how systems tend toward equilibrium. The result is an impressive work that ranges across disciplinary boundaries and draws from disparate literatures without blinking. It's also a book that (much like Shakespeare and the Second Law of Thermodynamics) requires effort on the reader's part-it's not for casual reading."--Publishers Weekly