Tower in the Middle

To honor Foucault’s Pendulum (the novel), I am creating poetry from it – and in its spirit. Rules: Open the physical book at a random page and point to a random place. Pick a phrase touched by your finger tip. This becomes a line of your poem. Repeat until it feels like the poem has…

Consequences of the Second Law of Thermodynamics

Why a Carnot process using a Van der Waals gas – or other fluid with uncommon equation of state – also runs at Carnot’s efficiency. Textbooks often refer to an ideal gas when introducing Carnot’s cycle – it’s easy to calculate heat energies and work in this case. Perhaps this might imply that not only must the…

Random Thoughts on Temperature and Intuition in Thermodynamics

Recent we felt a disturbance of the force: It has been demonstrated that the absolute temperature of a real system can be pushed to negative values. The interesting underlying question is: What is temperature really? Temperature seems to be an intuitive everyday concept, yet the explanations of ‘negative temperatures’ prove that it is not. Actually, atoms have…