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Question on Entropy

PeacefulChaos
Posts: 2,610
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4/20/2014 11:32:18 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
From my understanding of the science courses I've taken, the universe tends to go to lower energy levels (this is quite clearly seen with atoms and how they react among one another); however, at the same time I've been taught that entropy is always increasing.

These two ideas seem (on the surface) to contradict one another. Does anyone have any explanations for this, or perhaps a website or online book that I could access that would explain this for me?

Thanks.
PotBelliedGeek
Posts: 4,298
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4/20/2014 3:22:50 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 4/20/2014 11:32:18 AM, PeacefulChaos wrote:
From my understanding of the science courses I've taken, the universe tends to go to lower energy levels (this is quite clearly seen with atoms and how they react among one another); however, at the same time I've been taught that entropy is always increasing.

These two ideas seem (on the surface) to contradict one another. Does anyone have any explanations for this, or perhaps a website or online book that I could access that would explain this for me?

Thanks.

Right, these two concepts actually go hand in hand. Entropy, in its most simple understanding, is disorder. The universe defaults to disorder, because it takes less energy to maintain. Look at it like a childs bedroom. Its natural state is messy, disorderly, chaotic, entropic. In order to clean it, neaten it, stabilize it, and order it, one must input energy.

Same with the universe. A polar covalent bond is extremely orderly. Thus a massive amount of energy is contained in it and when it is broken the energy is released. It loses energy and gains entropy.
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PeacefulChaos
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4/20/2014 4:10:27 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 4/20/2014 3:22:50 PM, PotBelliedGeek wrote:
At 4/20/2014 11:32:18 AM, PeacefulChaos wrote:
From my understanding of the science courses I've taken, the universe tends to go to lower energy levels (this is quite clearly seen with atoms and how they react among one another); however, at the same time I've been taught that entropy is always increasing.

These two ideas seem (on the surface) to contradict one another. Does anyone have any explanations for this, or perhaps a website or online book that I could access that would explain this for me?

Thanks.

Right, these two concepts actually go hand in hand. Entropy, in its most simple understanding, is disorder. The universe defaults to disorder, because it takes less energy to maintain. Look at it like a childs bedroom. Its natural state is messy, disorderly, chaotic, entropic. In order to clean it, neaten it, stabilize it, and order it, one must input energy.

Same with the universe. A polar covalent bond is extremely orderly. Thus a massive amount of energy is contained in it and when it is broken the energy is released. It loses energy and gains entropy.

Thank you for the explanation.

I have a question for you, however. Would you say a system of nothing has more or less entropy than a system containing something?

The reason I ask is because the answer would initially seem to be that nothing has less entropy than something; however, a while back I did quite a bit of looking into quantum fields and vacuum space/energy, and several resources stated that entropy is higher in nothingness than in a system with something in it due to particles popping into and out of existence (the particles come in pairs of opposite charges, so apparently laws aren't technically invalidated, since -1 + 1 still equals 0). By giving more room to "nothing," there are more possibilities for the particles to come into existence, and by giving less room to nothing and more room to something, there is less entropy, sine there are less possibilities for particles to pop into and out of existence.

This ultimately leads to the question of why this happens. If the universe tends toward lower energy states and also has an increase in entropy, then this phenomenon would fulfill part of the statement (it would obviously increase entropy, since there is more disorder); however, it doesn't really seem to fulfill the other part of the statement (that the universe tends toward lower energy levels). I mean, technically speaking, it fulfills it mathematically speaking (since the total net energy is still 0), but it just seems like nothingness would be a lower or "easier" energy level to remain at than what we have right now.
PotBelliedGeek
Posts: 4,298
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4/20/2014 4:14:30 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 4/20/2014 4:10:27 PM, PeacefulChaos wrote:
At 4/20/2014 3:22:50 PM, PotBelliedGeek wrote:
At 4/20/2014 11:32:18 AM, PeacefulChaos wrote:
From my understanding of the science courses I've taken, the universe tends to go to lower energy levels (this is quite clearly seen with atoms and how they react among one another); however, at the same time I've been taught that entropy is always increasing.

These two ideas seem (on the surface) to contradict one another. Does anyone have any explanations for this, or perhaps a website or online book that I could access that would explain this for me?

Thanks.

Right, these two concepts actually go hand in hand. Entropy, in its most simple understanding, is disorder. The universe defaults to disorder, because it takes less energy to maintain. Look at it like a childs bedroom. Its natural state is messy, disorderly, chaotic, entropic. In order to clean it, neaten it, stabilize it, and order it, one must input energy.

Same with the universe. A polar covalent bond is extremely orderly. Thus a massive amount of energy is contained in it and when it is broken the energy is released. It loses energy and gains entropy.

Thank you for the explanation.

I have a question for you, however. Would you say a system of nothing has more or less entropy than a system containing something?

The reason I ask is because the answer would initially seem to be that nothing has less entropy than something; however, a while back I did quite a bit of looking into quantum fields and vacuum space/energy, and several resources stated that entropy is higher in nothingness than in a system with something in it due to particles popping into and out of existence (the particles come in pairs of opposite charges, so apparently laws aren't technically invalidated, since -1 + 1 still equals 0). By giving more room to "nothing," there are more possibilities for the particles to come into existence, and by giving less room to nothing and more room to something, there is less entropy, sine there are less possibilities for particles to pop into and out of existence.

This ultimately leads to the question of why this happens. If the universe tends toward lower energy states and also has an increase in entropy, then this phenomenon would fulfill part of the statement (it would obviously increase entropy, since there is more disorder); however, it doesn't really seem to fulfill the other part of the statement (that the universe tends toward lower energy levels). I mean, technically speaking, it fulfills it mathematically speaking (since the total net energy is still 0), but it just seems like nothingness would be a lower or "easier" energy level to remain at than what we have right now.

I would have to do more read in into it to answer that. Im a biologist, not a physicist.
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PeacefulChaos
Posts: 2,610
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4/20/2014 4:16:09 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 4/20/2014 4:14:30 PM, PotBelliedGeek wrote:
At 4/20/2014 4:10:27 PM, PeacefulChaos wrote:
At 4/20/2014 3:22:50 PM, PotBelliedGeek wrote:
At 4/20/2014 11:32:18 AM, PeacefulChaos wrote:
From my understanding of the science courses I've taken, the universe tends to go to lower energy levels (this is quite clearly seen with atoms and how they react among one another); however, at the same time I've been taught that entropy is always increasing.

These two ideas seem (on the surface) to contradict one another. Does anyone have any explanations for this, or perhaps a website or online book that I could access that would explain this for me?

Thanks.

Right, these two concepts actually go hand in hand. Entropy, in its most simple understanding, is disorder. The universe defaults to disorder, because it takes less energy to maintain. Look at it like a childs bedroom. Its natural state is messy, disorderly, chaotic, entropic. In order to clean it, neaten it, stabilize it, and order it, one must input energy.

Same with the universe. A polar covalent bond is extremely orderly. Thus a massive amount of energy is contained in it and when it is broken the energy is released. It loses energy and gains entropy.

Thank you for the explanation.

I have a question for you, however. Would you say a system of nothing has more or less entropy than a system containing something?

The reason I ask is because the answer would initially seem to be that nothing has less entropy than something; however, a while back I did quite a bit of looking into quantum fields and vacuum space/energy, and several resources stated that entropy is higher in nothingness than in a system with something in it due to particles popping into and out of existence (the particles come in pairs of opposite charges, so apparently laws aren't technically invalidated, since -1 + 1 still equals 0). By giving more room to "nothing," there are more possibilities for the particles to come into existence, and by giving less room to nothing and more room to something, there is less entropy, sine there are less possibilities for particles to pop into and out of existence.

This ultimately leads to the question of why this happens. If the universe tends toward lower energy states and also has an increase in entropy, then this phenomenon would fulfill part of the statement (it would obviously increase entropy, since there is more disorder); however, it doesn't really seem to fulfill the other part of the statement (that the universe tends toward lower energy levels). I mean, technically speaking, it fulfills it mathematically speaking (since the total net energy is still 0), but it just seems like nothingness would be a lower or "easier" energy level to remain at than what we have right now.

I would have to do more read in into it to answer that. Im a biologist, not a physicist.

Sorry about that.
Subutai
Posts: 3,237
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4/20/2014 6:16:16 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 4/20/2014 11:32:18 AM, PeacefulChaos wrote:
From my understanding of the science courses I've taken, the universe tends to go to lower energy levels (this is quite clearly seen with atoms and how they react among one another); however, at the same time I've been taught that entropy is always increasing.

These two ideas seem (on the surface) to contradict one another. Does anyone have any explanations for this, or perhaps a website or online book that I could access that would explain this for me?

Thanks.

The entropy of the universe is always increasing, as the entropy in an isolated system can never decrease and tends to increase, and the universe is the ultimate isolated system. Everything tends to disorder. Atoms and molecules reacting with one another represent the change from an ordered system to a disordered system because the number of microstates, or number of possible arrangements increases.
I'm becoming less defined as days go by, fading away, and well you might say, I'm losing focus, kinda drifting into the abstract in terms of how I see myself.
tkubok
Posts: 5,044
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4/21/2014 12:33:02 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 4/20/2014 4:10:27 PM, PeacefulChaos wrote:
At 4/20/2014 3:22:50 PM, PotBelliedGeek wrote:
At 4/20/2014 11:32:18 AM, PeacefulChaos wrote:
From my understanding of the science courses I've taken, the universe tends to go to lower energy levels (this is quite clearly seen with atoms and how they react among one another); however, at the same time I've been taught that entropy is always increasing.

These two ideas seem (on the surface) to contradict one another. Does anyone have any explanations for this, or perhaps a website or online book that I could access that would explain this for me?

Thanks.

Right, these two concepts actually go hand in hand. Entropy, in its most simple understanding, is disorder. The universe defaults to disorder, because it takes less energy to maintain. Look at it like a childs bedroom. Its natural state is messy, disorderly, chaotic, entropic. In order to clean it, neaten it, stabilize it, and order it, one must input energy.

Same with the universe. A polar covalent bond is extremely orderly. Thus a massive amount of energy is contained in it and when it is broken the energy is released. It loses energy and gains entropy.

Thank you for the explanation.

I have a question for you, however. Would you say a system of nothing has more or less entropy than a system containing something?

The reason I ask is because the answer would initially seem to be that nothing has less entropy than something; however, a while back I did quite a bit of looking into quantum fields and vacuum space/energy, and several resources stated that entropy is higher in nothingness than in a system with something in it due to particles popping into and out of existence (the particles come in pairs of opposite charges, so apparently laws aren't technically invalidated, since -1 + 1 still equals 0). By giving more room to "nothing," there are more possibilities for the particles to come into existence, and by giving less room to nothing and more room to something, there is less entropy, sine there are less possibilities for particles to pop into and out of existence.

This ultimately leads to the question of why this happens. If the universe tends toward lower energy states and also has an increase in entropy, then this phenomenon would fulfill part of the statement (it would obviously increase entropy, since there is more disorder); however, it doesn't really seem to fulfill the other part of the statement (that the universe tends toward lower energy levels). I mean, technically speaking, it fulfills it mathematically speaking (since the total net energy is still 0), but it just seems like nothingness would be a lower or "easier" energy level to remain at than what we have right now.

A system of nothing, has zero entropy. but the problem here is that physicists define "nothing", differently. If the system of nothing is comparable to no space, i.e no volume, then it pretty much has zero entropy. After all, Zero volume, is the same as a system of nothing.

But a system of nothing that has volume, is essentially a Quantum electrodynamic vacuum, where virtual particles pop in and out. Heres a Wiki article about it:
http://en.wikipedia.org...
Sidewalker
Posts: 3,713
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4/21/2014 5:52:08 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 4/20/2014 11:32:18 AM, PeacefulChaos wrote:
From my understanding of the science courses I've taken, the universe tends to go to lower energy levels (this is quite clearly seen with atoms and how they react among one another); however, at the same time I've been taught that entropy is always increasing.

These two ideas seem (on the surface) to contradict one another. Does anyone have any explanations for this, or perhaps a website or online book that I could access that would explain this for me?

They only seem to contradict because the term entropy refers to a system's approach to thermodynamic equilibrium, or disorder, maximum energy is minimum entropy and vice versa. So the entropy "increases" as the energy "decreases". A "lower" energy level equates to a "higher" entropy level.

Thanks.
"It is one of the commonest of mistakes to consider that the limit of our power of perception is also the limit of all there is to perceive." " C. W. Leadbeater
slo1
Posts: 4,359
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4/22/2014 7:32:59 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 4/21/2014 12:33:02 AM, tkubok wrote:
At 4/20/2014 4:10:27 PM, PeacefulChaos wrote:
At 4/20/2014 3:22:50 PM, PotBelliedGeek wrote:
At 4/20/2014 11:32:18 AM, PeacefulChaos wrote:
From my understanding of the science courses I've taken, the universe tends to go to lower energy levels (this is quite clearly seen with atoms and how they react among one another); however, at the same time I've been taught that entropy is always increasing.

These two ideas seem (on the surface) to contradict one another. Does anyone have any explanations for this, or perhaps a website or online book that I could access that would explain this for me?

Thanks.

Right, these two concepts actually go hand in hand. Entropy, in its most simple understanding, is disorder. The universe defaults to disorder, because it takes less energy to maintain. Look at it like a childs bedroom. Its natural state is messy, disorderly, chaotic, entropic. In order to clean it, neaten it, stabilize it, and order it, one must input energy.

Same with the universe. A polar covalent bond is extremely orderly. Thus a massive amount of energy is contained in it and when it is broken the energy is released. It loses energy and gains entropy.

Thank you for the explanation.

I have a question for you, however. Would you say a system of nothing has more or less entropy than a system containing something?

The reason I ask is because the answer would initially seem to be that nothing has less entropy than something; however, a while back I did quite a bit of looking into quantum fields and vacuum space/energy, and several resources stated that entropy is higher in nothingness than in a system with something in it due to particles popping into and out of existence (the particles come in pairs of opposite charges, so apparently laws aren't technically invalidated, since -1 + 1 still equals 0). By giving more room to "nothing," there are more possibilities for the particles to come into existence, and by giving less room to nothing and more room to something, there is less entropy, sine there are less possibilities for particles to pop into and out of existence.

This ultimately leads to the question of why this happens. If the universe tends toward lower energy states and also has an increase in entropy, then this phenomenon would fulfill part of the statement (it would obviously increase entropy, since there is more disorder); however, it doesn't really seem to fulfill the other part of the statement (that the universe tends toward lower energy levels). I mean, technically speaking, it fulfills it mathematically speaking (since the total net energy is still 0), but it just seems like nothingness would be a lower or "easier" energy level to remain at than what we have right now.

A system of nothing, has zero entropy. but the problem here is that physicists define "nothing", differently. If the system of nothing is comparable to no space, i.e no volume, then it pretty much has zero entropy. After all, Zero volume, is the same as a system of nothing.

But a system of nothing that has volume, is essentially a Quantum electrodynamic vacuum, where virtual particles pop in and out. Heres a Wiki article about it:
http://en.wikipedia.org...

What Tubuk said. In other terms what you gave as an example of "nothing" is really "something" and since virtual particles are widely spread across space time with no order it has high entropy.

Input energy into a section of space time and one can give those virtual particles enough energy to stay for a while. There was an experiment a year or two ago that did exactly that.
Floid
Posts: 751
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4/22/2014 7:55:41 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 4/20/2014 11:32:18 AM, PeacefulChaos wrote:
From my understanding of the science courses I've taken, the universe tends to go to lower energy levels (this is quite clearly seen with atoms and how they react among one another); however, at the same time I've been taught that entropy is always increasing.

These two ideas seem (on the surface) to contradict one another. Does anyone have any explanations for this, or perhaps a website or online book that I could access that would explain this for me?

Thanks.

Entropy is a negative quality. In essence it is the lack of stored energy.

Think of a room full of gas. If there is a higher pressure on one side of the room than the other (higher pressure would mean there are more atoms/molecules of that gas on that side then the other) then there is stored energy on that side of the room. We would say that side of the room has a higher energy level or less entropy. Over time the gas atoms/molecules would arrange themselves so that they were more or less equally spaced throughout the room (no pressure difference in the room). This would mean there is no stored energy (at least due to a concentration of particles) in the room and the room has achieved equilibrium or maximum entropy.

The second law of thermodynamics says that closed systems naturally seek to maximum entropy. So if you have a system with one hot (more energy) and one cold (less energy) object they will naturally exchange heat until a thermodynamic equilibrium is reached (minimum energy, nothing is hotter/colder than the other). If you have a system with a concentration of atoms in one place more than another the atoms will naturally move about and try to arrange themselves in a uniform manner (at least if they aren't a solid where other forces are holding them together).