We’ve Got a Big Big Mess on Our Hands Tonight

Good morning! I should have written this post yesterday, but my laptop battery ran out and I was too lazy to go charge it (the charging cord is upstairs, very very far from my couch!). But here we are now, time for a quick recap of yesterday’s work. It was a good day of studying. I actually finished quite early and had enough time on my hands to start consuming A Series of Unfortunate Events, which has been sitting in my to-watch list forever.

I got through another two chapters in Tipler and Mosca: The Second Law of Thermodynamics and Thermal Properties and Processes. This was a pretty big milestone, because not only did it complete Part III (Thermodynamics), but it also completed Volume I! That’s right, tomorrow I am on to Volume II where more of the fun resides. That made me feel pretty good, especially because after Tipler and Mosca I am going to dive into BoB and I am super excited for that!

One of the things I really enjoyed about this section was the various statements of the second law of thermodynamics. This text included five—the Kelvin statement, the heat-engine statement, the Clausius statement, the refrigerator statement, and the entropy statement. Here we have this fundamental law of nature, and we have all these different ways of trying to express and get at the underlying truth. To me, this kind of goes back to the debate of whether mathematics (and physics) are created or discovered. Not something I propose to answer (I’m not the philosopher in the family!), but something I find interesting to think about.

After the physics, I got to dive into some math. As I’m getting a little farther in the Mathematical Methods text, I’ve broken down my studying into sections (not trying to do a whole chapter at once) and I’ve started actually working through the in-line examples. It was fun to break out pencil and paper and get to work! I even got to bang my head against the wall of trigonometric identities and simplifying functions. I’m on the third chapter, focused on complex numbers, and did the sections on introducing complex numbers, manipulation of complex numbers, polar representation, and de Moivre’s theorem. Complex numbers are amazing. I remember being blown away the first time I learned that we could just assign an imaginary component to deal with a thorny issue (in this case, the square root of -1), and that it opened up a whole new world of math. It’s still pretty amazing to me today.

Today’s fun “new” fact: The entropy of the universe is constantly increasing ahhhh! Okay, so I didn’t actually forget this one, but for some reason reading about it always sounds vaguely ominous. Energy becomes unavailable to do work! It’s irreversible! Disorder is inevitable! Panic!

Just kidding! As the late great Douglas Adams would say, don’t panic. 🙂

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