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In this course, we shall focus almost exclusively on those physical properties of everyday materials which are associated with the motions of their constituent atoms or molecules. In particular, we shall be concerned with the type of motion which we normally call ``heat.'' We shall try to establish what controls the flow of heat from one body to another when they are brought into thermal contact. We shall also attempt to understand the relationship between heat and mechanical work. For instance, does the heat content of a body increase when mechanical work is done on it? More importantly, can we extract heat from a body in order to do useful work? This subject area is called ``thermodynamics,'' from the Greek roots thermos, meaning ``heat,'' and dynamis, meaning ``power.''

Richard Fitzpatrick 2006-02-02