- Heat death paradox
The heat death paradox, also known as Clausius paradox and thermodynamic paradox, is an argument attempting to use thermodynamics to make deductions about the nature of the universe. Specifically, it attempts to argue against an infinitely old, static model of the universe using reductio ad absurdum.
The argument holds that: If the universe were infinite in extent it would also have to be infinitely old. Any hot object transfers heat to its cooler surroundings, until everything is at the same temperature. For two objects at the same temperature as much heat flows from one body as flows from the other, and the net effect is no change. If the universe were infinitely old there must have been enough time for the stars to cool and warm their surroundings. Everywhere should therefore be at the same temperature and there should either be no stars, or everything should be as hot as stars.
Since there are stars and the universe is not in thermal equilibrium it can not be infinitely old; since it is not infinitely old it cannot be infinite in extent.
The paradox does not arise in steady state or chaotic inflationary cosmologies. They escape the paradox because they are expanding. Radiation is continually being red-shifted by the expansion, causing background cooling.
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
Heat death of the universe — For the album, see The Heat Death of the Universe. Physical cosmology Universe … Wikipedia
Heat capacity — Thermodynamics … Wikipedia
Heat engine — Thermodynamics … Wikipedia
Loschmidt's paradox — Loschmidt s paradox, also known as the reversibility paradox, is the objection that it should not be possible to deduce an irreversible process from time symmetric dynamics. This puts the time reversal symmetry of (almost) all known low level… … Wikipedia
Near death experience — A near death experience (NDE) refers to a broad range of personal experiences associated with impending death, encompassing multiple possible sensations ranging from detachment from the body, feelings of levitation, extreme fear, total serenity,… … Wikipedia
Entropy — This article is about entropy in thermodynamics. For entropy in information theory, see Entropy (information theory). For a comparison of entropy in information theory with entropy in thermodynamics, see Entropy in thermodynamics and information… … Wikipedia
Enthalpy — Thermodynamics … Wikipedia
Thermodynamic system — A thermodynamic system is a precisely defined macroscopic region of the universe, often called a physical system, that is studied using the principles of thermodynamics. All space in the universe outside the thermodynamic system is known as the… … Wikipedia
Thermodynamics — Annotated color version of the original 1824 Carnot heat engine showing the hot body (boiler), working body (system, steam), and cold body (water), the letters labeled according to the stopping points in Carnot cycle … Wikipedia
Thermodynamic cycle — Thermodynamics … Wikipedia