Parents Guide for Unit 48
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Below are notes on the main points of each assignment.
One of the key issues in thermodynamics is that it challenges the idea of a deterministic universe. Thermodynamics is based on the likelihood that a group of particles will together behave in a particular way, but it can't absolutely predict the behavior of either an individual particle or the system as a whole. This is a radically different idea of how things work than the Newtonian idea of classical mechanics, which leads to determinism.
We have a long article on thermodynamics, written in an entertaining fashion by Isaac Asimov, also known for his science fiction. Be sure to have the student set aside enough time read this article carefully, and not rush through it! Go over the study questions, and make sure that the student can answer these.
Homework focusses on helping students articulate and apply some of the consequences of the laws of thermodynamics and entropy.
Discussion will draw from the questions on Asimov's article, and the difference between statistical and deterministic laws and how they shape our view of the universe.
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