• the second law •

Playwright George Bernard Shaw ordered this headstone comment: “I knew if I stayed around long enough, something like this would happen.”

Conversely, the iconic terse form of the equation S = kB log W on the tombstone of Austrian physicist and philosopher Ludwig Eduard Boltzmann (February 20, 1844 – September 5, 1906) more or less, amounted to the mathematical equivalent of “I knew my entropy would reach a maximum eventually.” Not exactly the life of the party, I’m guessing. Then again, I’m Texan, not Austrian, so what do I know. His ‘maths friends’ probably found him hilarious.

Aside from the fact that the consequences of the Second Law of Thermodynamics are particularly immutable and irrevocable, what important life lesson are we to take from this?

Well, clearly: playwrights are funny; not so much, with physicists.

~ Tim Burchfield

3/5/14

# • the second law •

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