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The temptation to defeat thermodynamics

  1. Nov 17, 2014 #1
    A brilliant quote on Wikipedia:

    "The law that entropy always increases holds, I think, the supreme position among the laws of Nature. If someone points out to you that your pet theory of the universe is in disagreement with Maxwell's equations — then so much the worse for Maxwell's equations. If it is found to be contradicted by observation — well, these experimentalists do bungle things sometimes. But if your theory is found to be against the second law of thermodynamics I can give you no hope; there is nothing for it but to collapse in deepest humiliation".

    Arthur Stanley Eddington, The Nature of the Physical World (1927)

    There seemed to be a very specific temptation among a great number of people (some very clever) to defeat the 2nd law. Even Maxwell's demon proves he'd spent some time on it.

    What is it that makes it such a temptress? Is it that it lends so well to thought experiments? Or that its effects can so easily be observed in a number of environments?
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 17, 2014 #2


    Staff: Mentor

    Perhaps its because if you can deflect the thermodynamics arrow then you can be a master of time.
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