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 Definition The statistical description of the properties of molecular systems [d] [e]

Requesting reviews

I think this article was originally a port from WP, but not sure. In any event, I just made a number of changes such as re-ordering the sections and formatting changes without making any changes in content.

I would like to ask that Paul Wormer, Daniel Mietchen, David Volk and any others with thermodynamics expertise review this article and make whatever revisions are needed to start it down the road for approval. Please! Milton Beychok 17:54, 10 October 2009 (UTC)

Two further points: (a) Does this article need a section on non-equilibrium thermodynamics? (b) Thermodynamics has links to Laws of thermodynamics ... but when I go to Laws of Thermodynamics, I find it to be an almost useless stub of an article. Is the much better "Laws of thermodynamics" section of Thermodynamics inclusive enough for me to ask for speedy deletion of the useless Laws of thermodynamics stub? Milton Beychok 19:32, 10 October 2009 (UTC)
Didn't have a closer look yet but in general, if there is sufficient material (as in this case), I would think it is better to have a separate article rather than a section in another one with a broader scope. This would also facilitate interlinking of the concepts, as well as approval of the individual articles. --Daniel Mietchen 23:45, 10 October 2009 (UTC)
You've convinced me. I have gone ahead and merged parts of this article into Laws of Thermodynamics to upgrade it somewhat as a separate article. It still could use a good bit more work. Milton Beychok 05:50, 11 October 2009 (UTC)
Milt, I'll take a look and give it some thought per your request. Karl D. Schubert 18:31, 11 October 2009 (UTC)

Suggestions after a first read

Having had a closer look now, I think the article first needs some restructuring before we can dive into details of content matters. Here are my initial suggestions:

  1. Change Thermodynamic processes/ Thermodynamic potentials/ Thermodynamic systems/ Thermodynamic parameters/ Thermodynamic states from second- to third-level headings under a new second-level heading of "Key concepts" or so.
  2. Move "History" section up, perhaps best right after "Overview".
  3. Change Classical thermodynamics/ Statistical thermodynamics/ Chemical thermodynamics from second- to third-level headings under a new second-level heading of "Subfields" or so; add Biological thermodynamics.
  4. This article needs illustrations, particularly for the key concepts.

I have a number of further observations (e.g. neither industrial applications nor key concepts like diffusion or Maxwell's demon are mentioned in the current draft) but whether and how they fit in depends on whether and how the restructuring proposed above will be implemented. --Daniel Mietchen 20:39, 25 October 2009 (UTC)

See: James Clerk Maxwell#Maxwell's demon --Paul Wormer 08:43, 29 October 2009 (UTC)

This article seems intended to be a top of the heirarchy article

The Thermodynamics article looks to me as if it were intended as an overall, top of the heirarchy article with many links to more detailed articles of each subject. That worked okay in Wikipedia where there are indeed many separate detailed articles on each subject ... but in CZ, we have only a few such articles that can linked to. For example, CZ has Laws of thermodynamics, Chemical thermodynamics, Internal energy written by Paul Wormer, Enthalpy and a section of Internal energy that covers the First law in detail. Paul is also currently working on an article about the Second law. That's about all we have currently in CZ. Milton Beychok 15:56, 29 October 2009 (UTC)

A few random comments

I made a few minor changes, which are self-explanatory and the following are three more comments:

  1. The lede says "by analyzing [...] using statistics." Classical thermodynamics does not use statistics. Formally, it does not even use that matter consists of (many) particles. Of course, statistical thermodynamics does use statistics.
  2. I would not call Robert Boyle Irish, although it is true that he was born in Ireland. He and his father belonged to the infamous class of absentee English landlords.
  3. Milt, could you modify the 2nd figure and write "1 to 2 is adiabatic compression of vapor" (i.e., add adiabatic)?

--Paul Wormer 08:59, 4 November 2009 (UTC)

Added word "adiabatic"" to drawing. Milton Beychok 16:06, 4 November 2009 (UTC)


Why add "deceased" to Robert H. Perry? Surely Carnot, Kelvin, and Gibbs are too?--Paul Wormer 13:03, 7 November 2009 (UTC)

The reason was that the title page in my copy of the book lists him as a "Late editor" (meaning deceased) and his name appears in the title of the book as well. However, I'll go ahead and remove the word deceased. Milton Beychok 16:37, 7 November 2009 (UTC)


Under the heading "classical thermodynamics" there is quite a bit of history. Wouldn't it be better to move it to the section history? --Paul Wormer 15:02, 7 November 2009 (UTC)