Flanders and Swann online email Tim

At the Drop of Another Hat
At the Drop of a Hat
The Bestiary
Tried by the Centre Court
And Then We Wrote...
EPs
Other albums

Album index
Alphabetical index
Home


First and Second Law

One of the great problems in the world today is undoubtedly this problem of not being able to talk to scientists, because we don't understand science. They can't talk to us because they don't understand anything else, poor dears. This problem, I think it was C.P. Snow first raised it - Sir Charles Snow in private life - in his books Science and Government and so on. Mind you, I haven't read it. I'm waiting for the play to come.
He says, quite rightly, he says it's no good going up to a scientist and saying to him as you would to anybody else, you know, "good morning, how are you, lend me a quid" and so on, I mean he'll just glare at you or make a rude retort or something. No, you have to speak to him in language that he'll understand. I mean you go up to him and say something like, "Ah, H2SO4 Professor! Don't synthesize anything I wouldn't synthesize. Oh, and the reciprocal of pi to your good wife." Now, this he will understand.
Snow says that nobody can consider themselves educated who doesn't know at least the basic language of science. I mean things like Sir Edward Boyle's Law, for example - the greater the external pressure, the greater the volume of hot air. The simple . . . or . . . the Second Law of Thermodynamics, this is very important. I wasn't so much shocked the other day to discover that my partner not only doesn't know the Second Law, he doesn't even know the First Law of Thermodynamics!
Going back to first principles, very briefly: thermodynamics, of course, is derived from two Greek words, thermos, meaning hot - if you don't drop it - and dynamics, meaning dynamic, work; and thermodynamics is simply the science of heat and work, and the relationships between the two as laid down in the Laws of Thermodynamics, which may be expressed in the following simple terms - after me, Donald.


Note: Michael alone is in blue, Donald alone is in red, speech is italicised.

The First law of Thermodynamics.
Heat is work and work is heat
Heat is work and work is heat
Very Good.
The Second law of thermodynamics.
Heat cannot of itself pass from one body to a hotter body
Heat cannot of itself pass from one body to a hotter body
Heat won't pass from a cooler to a hotter
Heat won't pass from a cooler to a hotter
You can try it if you like but you'd far better not-a
You can try it if you like but you'd far better not-a
'Cos the cold in the cooler will get hotter as a rule-a
'Cos the cold in the cooler will get hotter as a rule-a
'Cos the hotter body's heat will pass to the cooler
'Cos the hotter body's heat will pass to the cooler
Heat is work and work is heat and work is heat and heat is work
Heat will pass by conduction and
Heat will pass by conduction and
Heat will pass by convection and
Heat will pass by convection and
Heat will pass by radiation
Heat will pass by radiation
And that's a physical law

Heat is work and work's a curse
And all the heat in the universe
Is gonna cool down,
'Cos it can't increase
Then there'll be no more work
And there'll be perfect peace
Really?
Yeah, that's entropy, Man.
And all because of the second law of thermodynamics which lays down:

That you can't pass heat from a cooler to a hotter
Try it if you like but you'd far better not-a
'Cos the cold in the cooler will get hotter as a rule-a
'Cos the hotter body's heat will pass to the cooler

Oh, you can't pass heat from a cooler to a hotter
Try it if you like but you'll only look a fool-a
'Cos the cold in the cooler will get hotter as a rule-a
And that's a physical law
Oh, I'm hot
That's because you've been working!
Oh, Beatles, nothing!

That's the first and second laws of thermodynamics.


Originally from the album 'At The Drop of Another Hat'.