entropy

January 6, 2013 § 4 Comments

I’ve been stewing for quite a while over this chapter in one of the mainstream books in that life called “B.S. Chemical Engineering”. It’s a chapter after one of the more easily understood topics, heat. I have a habit of photocopying specific chapters of my textbooks whenever I’m studying them. It bore from my need to write on books with multicolored pens for me to remind myself that “yes, at one point in your life you understood this. do not re-read unless exam is near. go to next sentence”. Let’s just say without those technicolored annotations, I would be doomed to rereading a sentence for hours on end.  Plus it’s easier to clutch a pile of sheets than lug around a cumbersome textbook. So anyway, going back to this one chapter, I couldn’t put myself into the mood of even reading it. (for the uninformed: Christine has a hard time with thermodynamics. let’s drop the hate word for new year. :p) This morning while trying to go over the paragraphs in exasperation, I asked my mom out loud if she knew what entropy was. “Inay, do you know what entropy is?”. And since she was in the mood to play the game, she started with her teacher tone and started blabbing “entropy comes from the words, en and tropy. to know the meaning of a word, (insert random babble)…” There was actually a moment where I thought she said something relevant, and I asked her with a surprised “what?”, to which she reprimanded me again with a teacher-toned “you’re not listening. you fail!”. haha. my mom is funny like that. I placed reading it on the top of my To-Do List today but I ended up finishing everything some of the things below it first. I even brought it with me downstairs while cooking in the hope that I’d get to read a section. ended up watching TV. I placed it in the book holder while playing the piano. covered it with the piano book, completely forgot about it. I sat it beside me while reading the newspaper. oh how I missed reading the newspaper. I even invited it to lunch on the dining table. I forget everything in front of food. And so when the afternoon was almost ending, of course I had to face it. It’s my job to explain this so I had to understand it. I then made myself sit still for awhile and after a few more procrastinating activities, I finally forced myself to start on the section I left off. To my surprise, I suddenly understood that section which I had never understood EVER. I probably pretended to understand it before, and I was actually planning to do the same for now, but the point that the author was trying to make suddenly dawned on me. It astonished me so much that it has led me to an overwhelming sense of tiredness again and therefore back to some procrastinating activity (define blogging). hahaha. I digress, as usual. I guess all that stewing helped, unconsciously? haha. Okay, what’s my point? My point is, it feels so wonderful to finally understand something. While reading it, I literally felt the words unraveling their meaning to me (and I just had to underline everything with orange and green and blue and purple). no matter how damn nerdy that sounds like. Finally, all this [nonsense to me before] was just saying that entropy is a state function (late warning: nerd alert). Imagine, like 300 lines of text saying that.That was the whole point of that circuitous dissertation. I actually can’t wait to help my students dissect this body of literature. :) My English10 skills have once again saved me from the drowning stream of lexis of brilliant people. Text books can after all be treated as a body of literature. And I commend Smith, Van Ness or Abbott (whoever wrote this particular essay) because it was a thorough explanation after all. Just not that well-written probably. But we can’t blame their leftt-sided genius  for what lacks on the right. okay, must continue this pursuit of knowledge.

On a side note, entropy is not disorder, as most students of my generation have been erroneously taught. For more information, read here: secondlaw.oxy.edu for that partially accessible take on such an abstract thought care of physics. okay, back to work! :)

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§ 4 Responses to entropy

  • czar says:

    I loved reading this entry :) you know what, you really write well. I bet you can rewrite the entropy essay in sentences we laymen would understand haha. Na curious naman ako what it really means :D

  • persnicketybunny says:

    Ma’am Tin, pa-seat in! (Or is it sit-in? Both makes sense haha) :D But this is probably the only fun read I’ll find about entropy :D

    • haha oonga they would both make sense :)), in any case if you want to sleep, feel free to sit-in! hahaha. it’s okay with me if you want haha. :D if you’re really interested, you can look for this article: “On Teilhard, Entropy and Love: A Unifying Vision” :) you can skip the part about Teilhard. haha. the gist is that “the counter-isentropic things we do in life are what surmounts to love” :D

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