Thermodynamics and the Free Energy of Chemical SubstancesThis is a featured page

Thermodynamics (1923)

In famous publications, Thermodynamics and the Free Energy of Chemical Substances is a 1923, 653-page, 762-equation, textbook, written by American physical chemists Gilbert Lewis and Merle Randall, that introduced the science of thermodynamics to the chemists of the world. It is one of the founding books of modern chemical thermodynamics. Into the 1960s, it was being proclaimed as the "thermodynamic bible" or the "bible" to students of chemistry working in this field. [6]

This influential book, by 1956, according to American chemistry historian Henry Leicester, led to the replacement of the term “affinity” by the term "free energy" in much of the English-speaking world. [1] The general function of the book was to make the methods of America mathematical physicist Willard Gibbs' very-dense 1876 On the Equilibrium of Heterogeneous Substances accessible to the chemists.

In 2005, American chemical engineer Libb Thims, in dissection of the references of his new-amassing thermodynamics book collection, who at that point had never really been aware of the name "Lewis", began to see the citation "Lewis and Randall (1923) Thermodynamics", over and over and over, far mar than any other citation. [3]

The following are noted tributes:

“Lewis’ Thermodynamics is the world’s most-quoted scientific book.”
— Stanley Angrist (1967) [2]

“One of the more significant books on [thermodynamics] after Gibbs.”
— David Crerar (1993) [3]

The following are noted quotes:

“The fascination of a growing science lies in the work of the pioneers at the very borderland of the unknown, but to reach this frontier one must pass over well traveled roads; of these one of the safest and surest is the broad highway of thermodynamics”
— Gilbert Lewis (1923), Thermodynamics

1. Leicester, Henry. (1956). The Historical Background of Chemistry (pg. 206). New York: Dover.
2. Angrist, Stanley W. and Helper, Loren G. (1967). Order and Chaos – Laws of Energy and Entropy, (pg. 27: "most-quoted"). New York: Basic Books.
3. Anderson, Greg, M. and Crerar, David A. (1993). Thermodynamics in Geochemistry - the Equilibrium Model, (pg. 3). New York: Oxford University Press.
4. The "most referenced" book in the reference sections of all of the books in American chemical engineer Libb Thims' 200+ thermodynamics book collection is Lewis and Randall's Thermodynamics.
5. (a) Lewis, Gilbert & Randall, Merle. (1923). Thermodynamics and the Free Energy of Chemical Substances, (pg. x). New York: McGraw-Hill Book Co., Inc.
(b) Cavazox-Gaither A.E. (2002). Chemically Speaking: A Dictionary of Quotations, (section: “Thermodynamics”, pg. 428). CRC Press.
6. (a) Devine, Elizabeth. (1983). Thinkers in the Twentieth Century (quote: ‘it soon became the “bible” in the field for chemistry students’, pg. 333). MacMillan.
(b) Author. (1962). “article”, Journal of the American Chemical Society (quote: ‘it was also a thermodynamic bible for many of Lewis’ students and for some of us’, pg. 3792), Vol. 84.

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