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Thermodynamics is not the oldest of sciences. Mechanics can make that claim. Thermodynamicsisaproductofsomeofthegreatestscienti?cmindsofthe19thand 20th centuries. But it is suf?ciently established that most authors of new textbooks in thermodynamics ?nd it necessary to justify their writing of yet another textbook. I ?nd this an unnecessary exercise because of the centrality of thermodynamics as a science in physics, chemistry, biology, and medicine. I do acknowledge, however, that instruction in thermodynamics often leaves the student in a confused state. My attempt in this book is to present thermodynamics in as simple and as uni?ed a form as possible. As teachers we identify the failures of our own teachers and attempt to correct them. Although I personally acknowledge with a deep gratitude the appreciation for thermodynamics that I found as an undergraduate, I also realize that my teachers did not convey to me the sweeping grandeur of thermodynamics. Speci?cally the s- plicity and the power that James Clerk Maxwell found in the methods of Gibbs were not part of my undergraduate experience. Unfortunately some modern authors also seem to miss this central theme, choosing instead to introduce the thermodynamic potentials as only useful functions at various points in the development.
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With the aim of presenting thermodynamics in as simple and as unified a form as possible, this textbook starts with an introduction to the first and second laws and then promptly addresses the complete set of the potentials in a subsequent chapter and as a central theme throughout. Before discussing modern laboratory measurements, the book shows that the fundamental quantities sought in the laboratory are those which are required for determining the potentials. Since the subjects of thermodynamics and statistical mechanics are a seamless whole, statistical mechanics is treated as integral part of the text. Other key topics such as irreversibility, the ideas of Ilya Prigogine, chemical reaction rates, equilibrium of heterogeneous systems, and transition-state theory serve to round out this modern treatment. An additional chapter covers quantum statistical mechanics due to active current research in Bose-Einstein condensation. End-of-chapter exercises, chapter summaries, and an appendix reviewing fundamental prerequisites supply students with helpful reinforcement and practice with key concepts.Review:
From the reviews:
"Helrich (physics, Goshen College) is to be commended for managing to cover in this modest volume a wide spectrum of topics ... . his book can be viewed as a self-teaching guide to thermodynamics. The well-thought-out problems at the end of each chapter require in-depth thinking that strengthens students’ learning. This book is ideal for physicists and engineering students ... . It also is suitable for graduate students pursuing research in thermodynamics ... . Summing Up: Highly recommended. Libraries serving upper-division undergraduates through professionals/practitioners." (R. N. Laoulache, Choice, Vol. 46 (11), July, 2009)
"Thermodynamics plays a central role in physics, chemistry, biology and medicine. ... The author of the present work had the aim to present modern thermodynamics in an as simple and as unified as possible form. He elected to present statistical mechanics as an integral part of the text. ... Every chapter ends with exercises ... . some of the exercises are intended as vehicles for investigations. ... The work is intended to be used as an introduction to modern thermodynamics and statistical mechanics." (Claudia-Veronika Meister, Zentralblatt MATH, Vol. 1159, 2009)
“Carl Helrich has written a lucid account of the field. His explanations are extremely clear and the book is particularly well structured, beginning as it does with the basic principles and developing from there to a consideration of thermodynamic potentials in terms of surfaces. ... The explanations are clear and the mathematics is well presented. ... an excellent work on which to base a university thermodynamics course. ... the level is appropriate for a moderately mathematically-able undergraduate ... .” (Stephen H. Ashworth, Contemporary Physics, Vol. 52 (1), 2011)
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