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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Second Law Poll

The purpose of this post is to document the final results of a poll on the site.  I do not intend to comment on the results until I conclude my series on the second law of thermodynamics.  It is worth noting at this point that there is no clear consensus on the correct answer from respondents.

 I think that this fact is reflective of the state of confusion that exists in public discourse regarding the second law of thermodynamics.

The poll asked the respondents to pick an option to complete the statement:  "The second law of thermodynamics states:"

The option were:
  • The disorder of the universe must increase.
  • You can't win.
  • The entropy of an isolated system must stay the same or increase.
  • The entropy of a closed system must stay the same or increase.
  • Heat cannot be transferred from a cold body to a hot body.
  • The entropy of the world must increase.
  • Let's keep score.
The results are shown in the following figure with truncated responses:

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