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KnowingThe Nature of Physical Law$
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Michael Munowitz

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780195167375

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195167375.001.0001

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Ends and Odds

Ends and Odds

Chapter:
(p.241) 10 Ends and Odds
Source:
Knowing
Author(s):

Michael Munowitz

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195167375.003.0010

The microscopic laws of motion offer no sense of time, but in the world at large, time marches on. Macroscopic systems progress irreversibly from one state of thermodynamic equilibrium to another, driven forward by the statistical imperatives of large numbers and overwhelming odds. Energy becomes increasingly dispersed and harder to extract, even as the total amount remains constant. The entropy of the universe grows and grows.

Keywords:   energy, entropy, equilibrium, irreversibility, statistical mechanics, thermodynamics

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