Biology, Reviews

Review: Schneider, Into the Cool

jacket imagePhysics Today recently reviewed Eric D. Schneider and Dorion Sagan’s Into the Cool: Energy Flow, Thermodynamics, and Life. Christopher Jarzynski wrote: "Into the Cool shows that there is much more to thermodynamics than Carnot cycles and phase diagrams. The book delivers an engaging, non-technical introduction to a variety of topics, with some interesting speculations along the way, and an excellent bibliography for those interested in learning more. Although I have not been converted to Schneider and Sagan’s point of view, the book left me thinking long after I had closed its pages."
Scientists, theologians, and philosophers have all sought to answer the questions of why we are here and where we are going. Finding this natural basis of life has proved elusive, but in the eloquent and creative Into the Cool, Eric D. Schneider and Dorion Sagan look for answers in a surprising place: the second law of thermodynamics. This second law refers to energy’s inevitable tendency to change from being concentrated in one place to becoming spread out over time. In this scientific tour de force, Schneider and Sagan show how the second law is behind evolution, ecology,economics, and even life’s origin.
Read an excerpt.