The Laws of Thermodynamics: A Very Short Introduction [#226]
The Laws of Thermodynamics: A Very Short Introduction [#226]
  • Explains how the laws of thermodynamics establish fundamental concepts such as temperature and heat, and the nature of energy itself
  • Peter Atkins' uses acccessible language and virtually no mathematics to guide the reader from the Zeroth Law to the Third Law
  • Explores and introduces new concepts such as 'entropy', 'free energy' and 'absolute zero'

From the sudden expansion of a cloud of gas or the cooling of a hot metal, to the unfolding of a thought in our minds and even the course of life itself, everything is governed by the four Laws of Thermodynamics. These laws specify the nature of 'energy' and 'temperature', and are soon revealed to reach out and define the arrow of time itself: why things change and why death must come. 

In this Very Short Introduction Peter Atkins explains the basis and deeper implications of each law, highlighting their relevance in everyday examples. Using the minimum of mathematics, he introduces concepts such as entropy, free energy, and to the brink and beyond of the absolute zero temperature. These are not merely abstract ideas: they govern our lives. 

In this concise and compelling introduction Atkins paints a lucid picture of the four elegant laws that, between them, drive the Universe.


1: The Zeroth Law
2: The First Law
3: The Second Law
4: The Third Law


Peter Atkins is Fellow of Lincoln College, University of Oxford. He is the author of nearly 60 books, which include the world-renowned textbook Physical Chemistry due to publish in its nineth edition). His other textbooks include Inorganic Chemistry, Chemical Principles, and Molecular Quantum Mechanics. He has also written a number of books for the general public, including Galileo's finger: The Ten Great Ideas of Science, The Periodic Kingdom, and Molecules. He has been a visiting professor in France, Israel, New Zealand, and China, and continues to lecture widely throughout the world.

Review from previous edition It takes not only a great writer but a great scientist with a lifetime's experience to explains such a notoriously tricky area with absolute economy and precision, not to mention humour. - Books of the Year, Observer.

His engaging account...the lucid figures offer readers a firm understanding of energy and entropy. - Science

Concise, well-written, engaging and carefully structured... an enjoyable and informative read. - Chemistry World

Peter Atkins's account of the core concepts of thermodynamics is beautifully crafted. - Simon Mitton, THES

A brief and invigoratingly limpid guide to the laws of thermodynamics. - Saturday Guardian

Atkins's systematic foundations should go a long way towards easing confusion about the subject...an engaging book, just the right length (and depth) for an absorbing, informative read. - Mark Haw, Nature

[Atkins'] ultra-compact guide to thermodynamics [is] a wonderful book that I wish I had read at university. - New Scientist


ISBN : 9780199572199

Peter W. Atkins
120 ページ
111 x 174 mm
Very Short Introductions





The Laws of Thermodynamics: A Very Short Introduction [#226]

The Laws of Thermodynamics: A Very Short Introduction [#226]

The Laws of Thermodynamics: A Very Short Introduction [#226]