Entropy Is Simple…
   If We Avoid the Briar Patches!

Entropy…
  and the second law of thermodynamics…
    are the most important scientific concepts to anyone
      who wants to understand how the world works.

They're both simple, if expressed in plain English without briars like
#1. Writers who are not scientists or who are joking mathematicians.
#2. "Isolated systems" instead of our open system of earth and sun
#3. Misleading statements like "Entropy is disorder" (It isn't disorder!)
#4. Messy desks -- erroneous examples of an increase in entropy

The second law of thermodynamics is our "greatest good but it's also our "baddest bad".

Everything we do …and everything good in nature …
is ultimately possible because of the second law’s relation to the sun--
but so are death, the violence of car accidents and hurricanes!

 

Who should read this site?
Any mature adult who wants to know how the material world works.



Why do you say "mature adult"?
Because most young students are in a hurry. However, for students in the humanities and the arts this site would be very useful for their information and for their thinking lifelong.



Not for science students?
No. Most chemistry and bio and physics majors want quick answers to specific technical questions -- not a broad introduction to the general ideas behind thermo and the second law such as this site.

[http://2ndlaw.oxy.edu was written for science students, and a shorter introduction to entropy and the second law for chemistry majors is at http://entropysite.oxy.edu/students_approach.html]



Who is writing these pages?
A chemistry professor with experience in teaching thermodynamics to non-science majors, not just chemistry students.



I don't want to waste any time if I don't like the approach.
Let me glance at some bits fast.
The site is written as a rather continuous unit -- with most "briar patches" first, then some examples of the way the second law works, leading to conclusions about it and its effect on us in many areas of our physical lives. But here are links to some section headings:

Introduction
The second law of thermodynamics
What is entropy? How is it related to the second law?
Our greatest good, the second law of thermodynamics
Obstruction of the second law
How the earth benefits from the second law
Photosynthesis, another coupling of energy  dispersal
Entropy increase without energy change (cream in coffee)


The NEXT page finally starts us on our way!