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Newscientist claims machine violates 2nd law of thermodynamics

  1. Jun 26, 2008 #1
    http://www.newscientist.com/channel/fundamentals/mg19826614.400-physicists-atomsorting-demon-created-with-lasers.html?feedId=online-news_rss20



    "The demon appears to bring order to chaos without expending energy, violating the second law of thermodynamics. "

    So correct me if im wrong, but it wouldnt violate the 2nd law because an external powersource is used to change the internal equilibrium. It seems simple to me but I keep thinking I must be missing something since it is in a printed article. What is your take on this one?



    Cheers,
    Medline
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 26, 2008 #2
    Sorry if this is common knowledge, but what in the heck is a demon, I'm assuming not a minion of hell!
     
  4. Jun 26, 2008 #3
    I think that was his 19th century interpretation of a mechanism that he could not imagine. In this case the "demon" would be the lasers.
     
  5. Jun 26, 2008 #4

    russ_watters

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  6. Jun 26, 2008 #5
    Ok so I should have done a bit more research on this. Here is a better link about this contraption. After reading this, it becomes clear that no laws are broken in the process. I was caught off guard by such bold claims coming from a publication that pretends to be scientific. Either way, it is a neat experiment and it appears that it could have some significant practical use (quantum computing).

    http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/33454/title/Left_in_the_cold_
     
  7. Jun 27, 2008 #6

    Chronos

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    There are many bold, unsupported assertions ponied up on this forum. There are also some very bright people here who autopsy every corpse.
     
  8. Jun 27, 2008 #7

    D H

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    L. Niven, "Unfinished Story", F&SF, December 1969, describes an approach to defeating the 2nd law of thermodynamics, and using a demon no less! F&SF is, without a doubt, a better reference than New Scientist.
     
  9. Jun 27, 2008 #8

    f95toli

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    You should read the full article. There they DO clearly state (at least in the printed version of the ournal) that the 2nd law is NOT violated since energy is added to the system by the lasers.
     
  10. Jun 27, 2008 #9

    D H

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    Which full article -- the one in Science or the one in New Scientist? The New Scientist article is a subscription article, and I am not paying. That once great journal has fallen immensely. If they got it right this time, good for them. I'm still not paying.
     
  11. Jun 27, 2008 #10

    f95toli

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    New Scientist.
    Pop-Sci journals are by definition unreliable (it is hard to see how they could not be), but at least in the printed article they got the facts right this time. Although I agree that the free introduction to the article on their website is misleading.
     
  12. Jun 29, 2008 #11

    cristo

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    The New Scientist article is presumably referring to this recent paper: http://arxiv.org/abs/0802.1585. It was submitted to PRL in February, and published on 20th June as Phys. Rev. Lett. 100, 240407 (2008). Thus, since this is a published paper, I'm moving this thread to the Physics forums.
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2008
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