What is the nature of heat? How does it relate to atoms, black holes, information and a demon in a box full of gas molecules? This course answers these questions by developing the history of thermodynamics. That history begins with early 18th-century caloric theories of heat, 19th-century analyses of steam engines, the kinetic theory of gases, the statistical approach to mechanics, atomic theories of matter, the concept of entropy, early 20th-century concepts of formation and, finally, current applications to black holes (as well as Maxwell and his famous demon). The course considers theoretical descriptions of the phenomena and the technologies derived from them.
Prerequisites: Completion of first year writing requirements. Co-requisites: None. Notes: Satisfies a HuSS elective.