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THE THERMODYNAMICS FINAL

posted on 9:44 AM, July 8, 2010
1. Free energy and entropy were whirling in his brain
With partial differentials and Greek letters in their train;
For delta, sigma, gamma, theta, epsilon, and pi
Were causes of distraction as they danced before his eye.

Chorus: Glory, glory, dear old thermo
Glory, glory, dear old thermo
Glory, glory, dear old thermo
I’ll get you by and by.

2. Activity and fugacity revolved within his mind,
Like molecules and atoms that you never have to wind.
With logarithmic functions doing cakewalks in his dreams,
And partial molal quantities about to make him scream.

3. They asked him on the final if the mole of any gas
In a vessel with a membrane through which hydrogen could pass
Were compressed to half its volume, what the entropy would be
If two thirds delta sigma equaled half of delta P.

4. He said he guessed the entropy would have to equal four,
Unless the second law would bring it up a couple more.
But then it might be seven, if the thermostat was good,
Or it might be almost zero if once rightly understood.

5. The professor read his paper with corrugated brow,
For he knew he’d have to grade it but he didn’t quite know how
Till a sudden inspiration on his cerebellum smote,
And he seized his trusty fountain pen and this is what he wrote:

6. “Just as you guessed the entropy, I’ll have to guess your grade,
But the second law won’t raise it to the mark you might have made
For it might have been a hundred if your guesses had been good
but I think it must be zero ‘til they’re rightly understood.”
— tune: “Battle Hymn of the Republic”