Honors 1500, Perspectives in the Physical Sciences
Readings and References
Last modified on 28 August 2001.
- Hans Christian von Baeyer,
Warmth Disperses as Time Passes (Random House, 1998, previously
published as Maxwell's Demon).
On sale in the WSU Bookstore. A very nicely
written history of the laws of thermodynamics, with an emphasis on the deeper,
- Alan Lightman, Great Ideas in Physics (McGraw-Hill, 2000).
The first two chapters of this book present the laws of energy and entropy in a
fairly straightforward way, though without many applications.
- Martin Goldstein and Inge F. Goldstein, The Refrigerator and
the Universe (Harvard University Press, 1993). A popular book on
thermodynamics with an emphasis on applications.
- Philip and Phylis Morrison, The Ring of Truth (Random
House, 1987). Chapter 2, "Change", gives
a wonderfully vivid introduction to the concept of energy. We'll watch
the video version in class.
- Richard Feynman, The Character of Physical Law
(MIT Press, 1965). Feynman was one of
the greatest physicists of the 20th century; this book contains a
series of seven popular lectures that he delivered in 1964. Energy
is discussed on pages 69-77, while the second law is the subject
of Chapter 5.
- Isaac Asimov, Life and Energy (Doubleday, 1962).
Still the best elementary treatment of how living things use and transform
energy. Unfortunately out of print.
- Robert H. Romer, Energy: An Introduction to Physics
(W.H. Freeman, San Francisco, 1976).
Among the many textbooks on energy and its role in today's society,
this one is by far the best written. Unfortunately, it is getting
out of date and is now out of print. Fortunately, the author has given
me permission to reproduce chapters for this class.
- Robert A. Ristinen and Jack J. Kraushaar, Energy and the
Environment (Wiley, 1999). Another energy-and-society textbook,
this one is much more up-to-date than Romer but treats the reader with
less respect. Not in the library, but you are welcome to borrow my
- The best source of up-to-date data on energy production, energy
consumption, and new energy technology is the internet. See the
links on our course home page.