Place: 4274 Chamberlin Hall (refreshments will be served)
Speaker: Jim Reardon, UW Department of Physics
Abstract: Climb into an automobile and drive in any direction on the highway of your choice, and in anywhere between a few minutes and a few hours, you'll find that your automobile refuses to go any farther. You could reasonably say that this is because it has run out of energy. You might wait for a while by the side of the road, and then try to start the car again, but it won't work. Since you're now stranded in the middle of nowhere, you now have a good opportunity to try this experiment: after doing appropriate warm-up exercises, start sprinting as fast as you possibly can (presumably in the direction of the nearest gas station). In something less than 40 seconds, your legs will refuse to carry you any farther, and you will either slow down or fall down. Yet if you lie there for a while by the side of the road, and then try to sprint again, you'll find that you can, nearly as well as before. It cannot be said that you have run out of energy. It might perhaps be said that you have temporarily accumulated too much entropy, and have to wait a while for it to dissipate. Whether or not this is a reasonable statement depends on whether entropy can be thought of as a fluid. In this seminar I'll argue that the answer is "yes" and support the argument with quantitative phenomonological data.