Every generation must reinterpret the vital ideas of its culture or else the culture stagnates. Our culture has evolved upon innumerable ideas from science and technology, including those from thermodynamics: without the vital ideas of thermodynamics, our culture could neither exist nor continue to mature.
Yet in most cases, engineering students and instructors must grapple with revised editions of thermodynamics books created by and for earlier generations. Those books are out-of-touch with the needs, talents, and capabilities of today's students. Students now communicate in small, concentrated packets of information; they are impatient with abstractions that appear to be irrelevant to their lives; they seek order and structure, but they have not yet developed skills for imposing the order they seek; they bring considerable energy and enthusiasm to learning, but they need guidance to make their efforts effective and fruitful.
Lectures in Thermodynamics was written to communicate the richness of thermodynamics and to help undergraduates grow as professional engineers. The book is divided into 44 "lectures"—small chapters that balance a systematic development of fundamentals against the application of those fundamentals to engineering analysis and design. The presentation is rigorous but informal, multi-layered but focused. The book also contains thirteen "Learning Devices" that show students nonlinear ways for approaching technical material. Lectures in Thermodynamics: Heat and Work is available in paperback for $54.95 from the publisher's website.
J. M. Haile has 24 years experience in teaching science and engineering. He is the author of Molecular Dynamics Simulation (Wiley), Lectures in Thermodynamics (Macatea), Technical Style (Macatea), and former North American editor of the international journal Molecular Simulation (Gordon and Breach, London).
Lectures in Thermodynamics: Heat and Work, J. M. Haile, 1st ed., 7 x 10, 592 pages, pbk., ISBN 0-9715418-1-7, $54.95, published May 2002.