Subjects — T
Although mechanical energy is indestructible, there is a universal tendency to its dissipation, which produces throughout the system a gradual augmentation and diffusion of heat, cessation of motion and exhaustion of the potential energy of the material Universe.
There is at present in the material world a universal tendency to the dissipation of mechanical energy.
We have the sober scientific certainty that the heavens and earth shall ‘wax old as doth a garment.’
The second law of thermodynamics holds, I think, the supreme position among the laws of Nature. If someone points out to you that your pet theory of the universe is in disagreement with Maxwell’s equations — then so much the worse for Maxwell’s equations. If it is found to be contradicted by observation, well, these experimentalists do bungle things sometimes. But if your theory is found to be against the second law of thermodynamics I can give you no hope; there is nothing for it but to collapse in deepest humiliation.
Heat, like gravity, penetrates every substance of the universe, its rays occupy all parts of space. The object of our work is to set forth the mathematical laws which this element obeys. The theory of heat will hereafter form one of the most important branches of general physics.
— Analytical Theory of Heat
You should call it entropy, for two reasons. In the first place your uncertainty function has been used in statistical mechanics under that name, so it already has a name. In the second place, and more important, no one really knows what entropy really is, so in a debate you will always have the advantage.
Quoted by M. Tribus — Scientific American, 225, “Energy and Information”, p. 180, 1971, Suggestion of von Neumann to Shannon regarding the name of his new uncertainty function.
The old adage ‘knowledge is power’ is a very cogent truth, both in human relations and in thermodynamics.