Entropy and Human Activity

Tier III
T3   4151

Richard D. Piccard

Syllabus   Announcements  Writing  LISTSERV  Bibliography

This Tier III course examines the application of the concept of entropy to human society as a whole, through the critical reading and discussion of works by Jeremy Rifkin and Bernard Cohen.

Energy is conserved, but most physical processes involve transformations of available energy into forms not as readily available. Jeremy Rifkin claims that civilized humanity should reorder its priorities so that increases of entropy, which characterize such transformations, should be minimized.

In order to provide adequate technical background to evaluate Rifkin's theses, several topics in the physical sciences are presented in some detail.

Students in the course discuss whether broad generalizations of such a principle make sense.


The syllabus includes information such as the timetable of readings, project assignments, and examinations.


Schedule changes, links to on-line resources, etc.


This essay on technical writing provides guidance for you as you prepare your term paper.


These instructions will help you get signed up for the class's E-mail discussion list.


This bibliography lists a number of hardcopy and on-line resources that should prove useful at various points in the course, especially as you begin your term paper.

Go to Richard D. Piccard's personal page   Go to the Physics Department home page

Dick Piccard revised this file (https://people.ohio.edu/piccard/entropy/index.html) on October 17, 2018.

Please E-mail comments or suggestions to piccard@ohio.edu