Order, Disorder, and Entropy:
Misconceptions and Misuses of Thermodynamics

Michael Elzinga
Kalamazoo Area Mathematics and Science Center

7:00 p.m.
Tuesday, October 5, 2010

There are a number of common misconceptions propagating in our society about order, disorder, entropy, and the second law of thermodynamics that have consequences going far beyond the "Two Culture" differences proposed by C. P. Snow. They impact our perceptions about the universe, our place in it, how we view the history of life on this planet, and how we treat our resources as we search for new sources of energy.

Certainly reading the works of Shakespeare provides insights into human nature and behavior. But having a concise and basic understanding of how the universe behaves also provides an excellent backdrop against which to evaluate the claims of those who would have us negotiate our lives by canonical traditions only. Nature cannot be fooled.

This Science Café attempts to provide part of that basic understanding in a way that is understandable to the layperson.

Here is an audio recording of this science cafe in mp3 format. (Note: The last 30 minutes of this cafe were not recorded.)

Click here for the PowerPoint presentation that accompanied this event.