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Old 07-07-2018, 03:01 PM   #43
O_P_T
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Baron Samedi View Post
I know, it's a long post that isn't even on topic...but I've seen so many stupid explanations like "You and the president go to a party, and everyone gathers around the president and not you, and that's what the Higgs does"
...crap like that. It's almost like they don't want people to grasp it.
Good analogy.

That's what my Professor was referring to. If you understand a subject, you can come up with multiple analogies to explain it. Hopefully one of them will work.

People who stick with one analogy, typically don't fully grasp the subject, so they have to keep repeating the one they heard.

One I hear all the time that makes me grimace, is when someone tries to explain the thermodynamic concept of Entropy by saying "it's like a refrigerator".



That's a partial explanation at best.

Entropy the measure of "disorder" in a thermodynamic system and imposes some limits on being able to perform useful "work".

If you had a system at a constant uniform temperature, that would be the maximum amount of "disorder". You also would not be able to do any "work".

If you have different parts at different temperatures, that is "structure" in a thermodynamic sense. If you have different parts at different temperatures, you can use the movement of heat from hot to cold areas to do "work"

Think of a car's engine, the heat of the burning gas, is used to do "work" i.e., move the car.

The Laws of Thermodynamics say that Entropy in a system can never decrease, only remain the same or increase.

That's why the refrigerator analogy is incomplete.

A refrigerator represents "structure". You have taken heat from inside the refrigerator and expelled it to outside the refrigerator.

Locally you have decreased Entropy, since you have made "structure".

So for that to happen, Entropy must have increased elsewhere in the "system".

We can consider the "system" to be the Earth.

And the increase in Entropy occurred in making the refrigerator and making the electricity to run the refrigerator.

None of the processes are 100% efficient, so energy was expended without doing "work", generating the electricity more so than the manufacturing.

It also implies that in any given system the Entropy will eventually increase to a maximum value and no more "work" can be performed.

That's why I instead made the statement.

"Eventually everything ends up on the floor"


The idea of everything being on the floor implies a room is a mess which is the conventional idea of disorder.

More importantly, if everything is on the floor, nothing is elevated and so it can't "fall".

Gravitational potential energy is a source of energy to do "work", and is what is harnessed by a hydroelectric dam.

If you don't have that, you can't extract any more energy and so do more "work".
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