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ERIC Number: EJ1115433
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Sep
Pages: 4
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0031-921X
The Macro and Micro of It Is That Entropy Is the Spread of Energy
Phillips, Jeffrey A.
Physics Teacher, v54 n6 p344-347 Sep 2016
While entropy is often described as "disorder," it is better thought of as a measure of how spread out energy is within a system. To illustrate this interpretation of entropy to introductory college or high school students, several activities have been created. Students first study the relationship between microstates and macrostates to better understand the probabilities involved. Then, each student observes how a system evolves as energy is allowed to move within it. By studying how the class's ensemble of systems evolves, the tendency of energy to spread, rather than concentrate, can be observed. All activities require minimal equipment and provide students with a tactile and visual experience with entropy.
American Association of Physics Teachers. One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740. Tel: 301-209-3300; Fax: 301-209-0845; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education; High Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A