R. Stephen Berry - "Three Laws of Nature" - Stuart A. Rice

Friday, May 24, 2019 - 6:00pm - 7:00pm
Event Presenter/Author: 
R. Stephen Berry

“This is a fascinating, thoughtful, and carefully constructed journey through the concepts, development, and significance of a fundamental part of science, its interdependence on technological development, and science’s continuing evolution.”Ilan Chabay, Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies

A discussion with R. Stephen Berry, author of Three Laws of Nature: A Little Book on Thermodynamics. He will be joined in conversation by Stuart A. Rice.

At the Co-op

RSVP HERE (Please note that your RSVP is requested but not required.)

About the Book: A short and entertaining introduction to thermodynamics that uses real-world examples to explain accessibly an important but subtle scientific theory.

A romantic description of the second law of thermodynamics is that the universe becomes increasingly disordered. But what does that actually mean? Starting with an overview of the three laws of thermodynamics, MacArthur “genius grant" winner R. Stephen Berry explains in this short book the fundamentals of a fundamental science. Readers learn both the history of thermodynamics, which began with attempts to solve everyday engineering problems, and ongoing controversy and unsolved puzzles. The exposition, suitable for both students and armchair physicists, requires no previous knowledge of the subject and only the simplest mathematics, taught as needed. 

With this better understanding of one science, readers also gain an appreciation of the role of research in science, the provisional nature of scientific theory, and the ways scientific exploration can uncover fundamental truths. Thus, from a science of everyday experience, we learn about the nature of the universe.

About the Author: R. Stephen Berry is James Franck Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus at the University of Chicago and a 1983 MacArthur Fellow. His work has contributed to the understanding of the atomic origins of freezing, melting, crystallization, and glass formation.

About the Interlocutor: Stuart A. Rice attended Bronx High School of Science, received Bachelor's degree from Brooklyn College in 1952, and a Ph.D. from Harvard in 1955, working with Paul  Doty. He spent a year at Yale with John Kirkwood and joined the faculty of The University of Chicago in 1957. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society. Among many other accomplishments, one of his most significant has been the introduction of quantum control of chemical reactions.


Event Location: 
The Seminary Co-op Bookstore
5751 S Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637