Thermodynamics humorThis is a featured page







Entropy (perfume)
The Entropy Institute
Entropy for Nerds fragrance by Lord Kelvin, humor by Lyle Zapato?). [10]The Entropy Institute: Science cartoon by T McCracken.
In thermodynamics, thermodynamics humor consists of classical quotes, jokes, cartoons, articles, songs, videos, etc., that bring about laughter on the subject of thermodynamics.

Humorous examples include: the Entropy Clock, The Entropy Institute, and the 2004 rap parody entropy (song) by MC Hawking.


Jokes
The following is a thermodynamics joke: [12]

Joke: “What is the difference between thermodynamics and a stick?

Answer: “A stick has two ends and no beginning. Thermodynamics has two ‘beginnings’ (the first and second law) and no end.”

Funny quotes
A noted, albeit unreferenced quote, dated before circa 1950, tracing loosely to a 1941 publication of American physicist Percy Bridgman, is: [1]

“There’s as many versions of the second law as there are thermodynamicists.”

In one episode of the The Simpsons, after Lisa constructs a perpetual motion machine whose energy increases with time, Homer scolds her with:

“In this house, we obey the laws of thermodynamics!”

In the late 1940s, German theoretical physicist Arnold Sommerfeld, having previously written a series of books in physics: mechanics (1943), electrodynamics (1948), optics (1950), etc., was asked why he had never written a book on thermodynamics? The following is his humors and frequently quoted answer: [8]

Thermodynamics is a funny subject. The first time you go through it, you don't understand it at all. The second time you go through it, you think you understand it, except for one or two small points. The third time you go through it, you know you don't understand it, but by that time you are so used to it, it doesn't bother you anymore.”

In an odd twist of fate to this quote, in April of 1951, while in the midst of writing a book on thermodynamics (Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics), and having been nominated 81 times for the Nobel Prize (more than any other physicist), but not yet having won, Sommerfeld was killed from injuries after a traffic accident while walking his grandchildren. The book was published post-humorously the following year. [9]

Thermodynamics and suicide
See main: Founders of thermodynamics and suicide
A large number of thermodynamics founders and founders of human chemistry (e.g. Otto Weininger) and their relations have notoriously met their reaction end (death) by their own hand:
Thermodynamics and suicide
Political thermodynamics
The following is a funny political thermodynamics themed take on Middle Eastern tensions, presented in the form of what one might call "perpetual motion politics" of the Rude Goldberg / mousetrap style contraption of movement, blended in with thermal words and human thermodynamics concepts, e.g. social friction, war thermodynamics, etc.:

Political thermodynamics humor (by kallagher)


Hell (frozen)Thermodynamics of hell
See main: Thermodynamics of hell
The seed of the thermodynamics of hell joke originated in the circa 1920 article “The Temperature of Heaven and Hell” written by American physicist Paul Foote.

In 1972, a humorous article appeared in Applied Optics, arguing, via thermodynamics, that heaven is hotter than hell. [3] A following up refutation article appeared in 1979, in the Journal of Irreproducible Results, arguing the converse situation. [4]


Another humorous tidbit is the story about a thermodynamics professor gave a take-home exam to his graduate student with the question: “Is hell exothermic or endothermic”, with the conditioner: support your answer with a proof. [5] One source argues that Tim Graham, a student of the University of Oklahoma, is the author of the story. [6] Another source claims that it was given in a University of Washington chemistry mid-term. [7]

Cartoons
The following are humorous entropy or thermodynamics cartoons:

Entropy cartoon
Entropy cartoon 2
Damn You Thermodynamics (poster)

entropy cartoon 3
entropy cartoon 5
Entropy cartoon 4
Entropy cartoon 7
hottest girl (first law)

The following is a 2010 “Sandra and Woo” humorous cartoon on the second law, heat death, and the meaning of life: [11]

Second law heat death (cartoon)

Videos
The following are funny or humorous thermodynamics-related videos. One is a funny November 15, 2007 video titled "Baby Thermodynamics", on the nature of absolute zero of temperature in relation to motion, is shown adjacent. The second is a Lego animation on the four laws of thermodynamics:


"Baby Thermodynamics" (15 Nov 07)"Lego Stop Motion Thermodynamics" (28 Apr 09) Simpsons and thermodynamics

Other
In 1956, Danish protein physicochemist Kaj Linderstrom-Lang gave a humorous 1956 lecture “The Thermodynamic Activity of the Male Housefly”.

In 1997, Internet writer Lyle Zapato, a great William Thomson (Lord Kelvin) fan, conceived of the Thermodynamic Law Party (TLP) and prior to that, in 1989, the Kelvinic University. [2]
Nature Abhors a Vacuum (the Far Side)
A 1992 Far Side cartoon parody of the "nature abhors a vacuum" postulate, used used as a humorous illustration for Derek Halpern’s theory that knowledge vacuums exist in social arenas and that nature abhors them, subsequently advertisers can use this rule to pull readers in. [13]

References
1. 110+ Variations of the Second Law of Thermodynamics – IoHT publications.
2. Thermodynamic Law Party - Zapatopi.net
3. (a) Applied Optics (1972), 11 A14.
(b) Theological Thermodynamics – a Donald Simanek’s Page
4. This paper appeared in The Journal of Irreproducible Results, Vol 25, No.4:17-18 Copyright © 1979 by The Journal of Irreproducible Results, Inc.
5. Thermodynamics Humor – Tavi’s page, Department of Genetics, Yale.
6. The Thermodynamics of Hell – Writer’s Dreamtools, Best Internet Humor.
7. Thermodynamics of Hell – Scott’s Little Corner of the Web (Humor).
8. Angrist, Stanley W. and Helper, Loren G. (1967). Order and Chaos – Laws of Energy and Entropy (pg. 215). New York: Basic Books.
9. (a) Sommerfeld, Arnold. (1952). Thermodynamik und Statistik - Vorlesungen über theoretische Physik Band 5 Herausgegeben von Fritz Bopp und Josef Meixner. Diederich sche Verlagsbuchhandlung.
(b) Sommerfeld, Arnold, edited by F. Bopp and J. Meixner, and translated by J. Kestin. (1964). Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics - Lectures on Theoretical Physics Volume V. Academic Press.
(c) Crawford, Elisabeth. (2001). “Nobel Population 1901-50: Anatomy of a Scientific Elite”, November 15, 2007, PhysicsWorld.com.
10. Entropy for Nerds (fragrance).
11. Powree and Knorzer, Oliver. (2001). “Sandra and Woo: Second Law, Heat Death Humor”, Oct. 07. SandraandWoo.com.
12. Costa, Josep M. (2004). Trends in Electrochemistry and Corrosion at the Beginning of the 21st (section: Humor in Physical Chemistry Education, pgs. 1220-22). Edicions Universitat Barcelona.
13. James, Neil. (2011). “Nature Abhors a Vacuum: Advertisers Should Embrace It”, Russell Herder blog, Feb 7.

Further reading
● Bredt, James F. (1988). The First and Second Laws: A Cartoon Introduction to Classical Thermodynamics. Publisher: Bredt.
● Highfield, Rodger. (1998). The Physics of Christmas: From the Aerodynamics of Reindeer to the Thermodynamics of Turkey. Back Bay Books.

External links
Thermodynamic Jokes - Joachim Verhagen's science jokes site.
● Thermodynamics: Beer and Ice Cream Diet – School of Physics, University of Sydney.

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Sadi-Carnot
Sadi-Carnot
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Keyword tags: thermodynamics humor
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Sadi-Carnot Rectal temperature and entropy 0 Oct 2 2009, 7:31 AM EDT by Sadi-Carnot
Thread started: Oct 2 2009, 7:31 AM EDT  Watch
This has to be one of the funniest incidents I've read about in thermodynamics: in circa 1930, psychologist Siegfried Bernfeld:

http://www.eoht.info/page/Siegfried+Bernfeld

together with physicist Sergei Feitelberg sought to prove that the second law of thermodynamics didn’t apply or conform to animate systems, and so attempted to measure an irregular pulsation of entropy in a man. They did this by taking measurements of a man’s rectal temperature and brain temperature. The results are detailed in the 1931 article “The Principle of Entropy and the Death Instinct”.
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