Sunday, October 23, 2005

Show 16

(Run Time: 19:53)

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Correction: Mole Day is actually celebrated on October 23, not November 23, as was mistakenly stated in the podcast.


Wayne (AP Physics B teacher) said...

I am curious as to what your definition of "heat" is?

From (a standard physics textbook for majors) "The Fundamentals of Statistical and Thermal Physics" by F. Reif

"The mean energy transferred from one system to another as a result of a purely thermal interaction is called heat."

This above definition is consistent with the wikipedia entry on heat. From my experience the misuse of the term "heat" stems more from confusing it with mechanical work. For instance, if you vigorously rub your hands together the surface temperature of your palms increase. Most individuals would claim that you heated your hands when in fact no heat was transferred. The increase in temperature was due to mechanical work from frictional forces.

It seems that the common usage of the term "heat" applies to any situation where the temperature of an object increases. Whereas the physical definition is very specific . Physicists thus define heat to be the flow of energy from one obect to another due to differences in temperature. If two objects are not in thermal equilibrium and are placed in thermal contact then energy will naturally flow between them. It is this energy that has been traditionally labelled "heat".

When you state that heat is not used as a noun are you saying it is grammatically incorrect to make a statement such as the following? "The heat absorbed by one system is equal to the heat given off by another."

Even the first law of thermodynamics implies the use of the term "heat" as a noun since it is a physical quantity in the equation. (delta U = Q + W), where U is the internal energy of the system, Q is the heat transferred and W is the work done.

I guess I am confused by your statements in your podcast. I think at one point you were referring to the mechanical equivalent of heat principle where on the atomic level heat and work are basically the same phenomenon. Both arise from the collisions between atoms and thus heat is not some mysterious fluid as originally believed.

However, heat and work are both classically defined as nouns.

Heat - amount of energy transferred between objects due to differences in temperature.

Work - amount of energy transferred between objects due to macroscopic forces.

Anonymous said...

Nice podcast... but I can't help but correct you on a few things here...

1. Open Source products are implicitly free - anything that is "Open Source' means you can see and USE its source code (as defined by Of course it all depends on your definition of "free"

2. You want tabbed browsing for Internet Explorer? - head over to and have a look at windows desktop search - it includes tabbed browsing for IE! Of course, it's still got nothing on firefox.