Struggling with Meaninglessness

searching meaning in meaninglessness

Law of Thermodynamics

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First Law of Thermodynamics

Putting it simply – Energy cannot be created out of nothing and cannot be destroyed to nothing.

The basic idea here is you can manipulate energy to change from one form to another – for example, using electricity to boil water (heat) or burning petrol to move a car. Or even converting energy to matter and vice versa.

As i have said, energy and matter cannot be totally destroyed. Many times, matter and energy were merely ‘transforming’  from one form to another. Let’s take a scenario for instance – you want to eliminate all evidences on a piece of paper. So you take a lighter, ignite the paper and burn the paper to ashes. From our human perspective, we have practically destroyed the paper. But from physics point of view, the paper has just undergone a transmutation process. The amount of energy and matter mass before and after the paper was burn will always be the same. This is called the equivalent principle.


Mass of Paper + Mass of Fire (Lighter) + Mass of Oxygen = Mass of Ashes + Mass of Carbon Dioxide + Mass of other after-burn gases (Smoke) + etc.

Therefore, the amount of energy we have since the first day when the universe was born (presuming from big bang) will always remain the same throughout the life span of the universe (billion of years). Energy will just keep on recycling and transforming to another forms over and over again.

Second Law of Thermodynamics

There are two implications from this law.

1. Centralized energy will always disperse and spread out.

2. The total amount of entropy (disorder) in the universe will always increases. Practically everything and anything.

The second law of thermodynamics deals with everyday human experience. Using back the example of burning paper, notice that whenever you light up a piece of paper, the fire will not just remain on a spot but will always spontaneously spread all over the paper. Likewise, the smoke will disperse to the surrounding instead of just remaining on a spot. 

Hence, this process will lead to entropy. Basically, everything in this universe goes from order to disorder, but not the opposite. You can burn the paper to ashes, but not assembling back the ashes to a paper. Human will age and die. but you can’t revive the dead and vitalize the youth on a person. Everything seems to move in a single direction, dictate by cause and effect. (Unless we could reverse time)

Richard Feynman once questioned – Why do we remember the past but can’t remember the future? This is not a stupid question. I can tell you the implication is much deeper than we think it is.

An example of Entropy: The Sun produces energy from nuclear fusion activities and shine light and heat across the galaxy because according to the Second Law of Thermodynamics, the heat, light and other form of energy must disperse. Therefore, the Sun will have to constantly produce energy to sustain the energy output in every moment. That means, someday one day, the resources on the sun will eventually deplete and run down.

Theoretically, if the Sun do not disperse energy, the Sun could live forever and will not die. (Though it is impossible not to disperse energy as everything has to obey the Second Law of Thermodynamics)

Third Law of Thermodynamics

Nothing can reach absolute zero temperature. That’s all i know about it =P.

Why is Thermodynamics important to our everyday life?

1. Understanding how matter and energy works.

2. I always believe that any philosophy which can be derived by observing how the nature work will be a good philosophy.


Written by elan85

March 4, 2008 at 3:38 pm

Posted in Physics

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