12 November 2015
SCI's Thames and Kennet Regional Group
Charterhouse School, Godalming
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This talk will be delivered by Prof Peter Atkins of University of Oxford.
What is energy? Although we use it in every aspect of our lives, pay enormous sums for it, and fear for its future availability, few can say exactly what it is. That the concept is important is reflected by the fact that once the concept had been identified in the early nineteenth century, it swept to prominence. After presenting an explanation of it, I shall consider the laws that govern it. These are the laws of thermodynamics. Each law raises a variety of questions. For instance, what is temperature? Why does the total energy of the universe remain the same? Where do the laws of Nature come from? How much energy is there in the universe? But as well as dealing with the quantity of energy, we have to consider its quality. That means we have to understand the concept of entropy too, a concept that greatly puzzled the Victorians. I shall present a qualitative account of this hugely important concept. Through it, we shall see what drives every action in the universe.
Charterhouse, Lecture Theatre
Godalming, GU7 2DX
Tel: +44 (0) 1483 291713
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