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9th October 2001: "The Second Law made simple"

Professor Peter Atkins explains:

"One of the greatest ideas of science is embodied in the Second Law of thermodynamics. C.P. Snow likened not knowing the Law to never having read a work of Shakespeare. The Law governs all the changes that take place in the world, from very simple changes like the cooling of hot metal, to very complex changes, like the formation of opinions. I will talk about the origin of the Law from elementary observations on steam engines, and then show how it is easy to understand in terms of the behaviour of atoms. Then I will show how the Law enables complex events---like chemical reactions, living, and thinking to occur. We shall see that all of us have a highly abstract steam engine inside us."

The speaker: Peter Atkins is professor of chemistry in the University of Oxford and Fellow of Lincoln College. He has written numerous books. Many are textbooks (Physical Chemistry, Inorganic Chemistry, Chemical Principles, etc) and others are books for the general reader (Molecules, The Second Law, The Periodic Kingdom, and Creation Revisited).

Come along and join us at 7pm in Blackwells Main Bookshop, Broad Street, Oxford.
No ticket, no booking, no scientific background required.

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