History

In 1929, Hungarian-American physicist Leó Szilárd devoted his thesis “On the Increase of Entropy in a Thermodynamical System by the Action of Intelligent Beings” to Maxwell’s demon, noting that the demon would require the use of information. [3] The 1948 paper “A Mathematical Theory of Communication” attempted to make a mathematical connection between statistical thermodynamics (gas phase systems) and information in telephone lines (current or voltage signals), thus initiating the science of information theory. [4]

The 1956 book

In 1969, American mechanical engineer Robert Evans put forward an essergy theory, in which he attempted to reformulate chemical thermodynamics in terms of information. In his own words: [11]

“A possible consequence of the proof may be a more general formulation for the concept of information based on Brillouin's principle of the equivalence of thermodynamic information and potential work. The proof indicates that negentropy is not as general a measure of potential work as is the quantity, essergy. This result could imply that essergy is a more general measure of thermodynamic information than negentropy, an implication that might lead to a broader formulation about information and, thus, new insight into the foundations of information theory.”

In the 1987 book

The 2007 book

Criticisms

The general science of information thermodynamics, if it is indeed to be considered as a science, from a rigorous physics perspective, is more often than not seen as a contrived sort of mathematical extrapolation from true thermodynamics, which is based on the heat and work interactions in the steam engine. Indeed, the suggested name of “information”, i.e. to be called entropy, on the statistical thermodynamic sense, was done as a sort of mathematical joke between Neumann and Shannon. To exemplify this, Wicken, for instance, called Shannon’s terminological choice of borrowing the word entropy from statistical thermodynamics: [10]

“Loose language [that served] the dark god of obfuscation.”

The general poor state of the subject, in modern terms, could possibly been attributed to the association and origination of the subject at Bell Labs, by a number of its founders, such as John Neumann, Claude Shannon, Léon Brillouin, etc., who may have been driven beyond the limit of academic credibility-justification by the lucrative state of the fervent financial flow at AT&T during these years?

References

1. (a) Wiener, Norbert. (1961).

(b) Bertalanffy, Ludwig von. (1968).

(c) Yu, Francis T.S. (2000).

(d) Trincher, Karl S. (1965).

(e) Zotin, Aleksandr I. (1990).

2. (a) Bulletin de L'Académie Polonaise Des Sciences, (pgs. 119, 125, etc.). by

(b) Mathematical Reviews (pg. 4950), by

3. (a) Szilárd, Leó. (1929). “On the Decrease in Entropy in a Thermodynamic System by the Intervention of Intelligent Beings”,

(b) English translation of “On the Decrease in Entropy in a Thermodynamic System by the Intervention of Intelligent Beings” by Anatol Rapoport and Mechthilde Knoller in

4. Shannon, Claude E. and Weaver, Warren. (1949).

5. Brillouin, Léon. (1956).

6. (a) Jaynes, E. T. (1957) “Information theory and statistical mechanics”, (PDF),

(b) Jaynes, E. T. (1957) “Information theory and statistical mechanics II”, (PDF),

7. Tribus, Myron. (1961).

8. (a) Wicken, Jeffrey S. (1987).

(b) Corning, Peter A. (2005).

9. Ben-Naim, Arieh. (2007).

10. Peterfreund, Stuart. (1990).

11. Evans, Robert B. (1969).

Further reading

● Campbell, Jeremy. (1982).

● Gleick, James. (1987).

● Weber, Bruce H., Depew, David J., Smith, James D. (1988).

● Sardar, Ziauddin and Abrams, Iwona. (1998).

● Applebaum, David. (1996).

● Avery, John (2003).

● Baeyer, Hans Christian von. (2004).

● Yockey, Hubert P. (2005).