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Herbert B Callen

Thermodynamics and an introduction to thermostatistics

Most people learning thermodynamics probably want to do so for practical reasons. My feeling is that the subject is important from a philosophical point of view. Thermodynamics, and an introduction to thermostatistics by H.B. Callen is suitable for those with either view, since it gives a solid grounding in thermodynamics, but always keeping in mind the deeper questions of the subject. Part I of the book deals with classical thermodynamics - unlike most such books which emphasise the microscopic explanation of the subject. Part II, on statistical mechanics, gets on to this aspect of thermodynamics. Part III is a short section on foundational questions.

The book has chapters the third law and quantum fluids as well as on phase transitions and critical phenomena. If you're primarily interested in the applications of thermodynamics though then this book might not be for you. The theory is there - for example the chapter on irreversible thermodynamics looks at thermoelectric devices - but the book doesn't go into great detail explaining how it is used - there are no diagrams illustrating such devices. But if you want to to get a thorough understanding of a range of thermodynamic topics then you should consider working through this textbook.  |  Chronon Critical Points  |  Recent Science Book Reviews