Entropy and Evolution

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Chapter 6: Introduction to Chemistry and Entropy

This chapter will introduce chemistry, organic chemistry, quantum mechanics, and thermodynamics. The goal is to make sure that all readers understand how and why chemicals react with each other, and how and why the laws of thermodynamics influence these reactions.

   The key concept of entropy will be introduced in this chapter. Entropy is often defined as disorder, but this definition is both misleading and incorrect.

   In classical thermodynamics, entropy is a mysterious concept. Entropy is difficult to define without considering quantum mechanics and micro-states. While these last two topics are usually only found in advanced chemistry and physics textbooks, they are absolutely necessary to understand entropy. Entropy is not a difficult concept. It is simply a measure of uncertainty that must always increase with time.

   Entropy makes it very difficult for a self replicating molecule to exist because self replication decreases entropy. Life has many ways around this problem. The most common solution involves tapping plentiful energy sources to drive replication (chapter 7). Simple self replicating molecules cannot do this.

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Navigation Menu Chapter 6

Chapter 6: Introduction to Chemistry and Entropy
        Chemicals and Atoms
        The Hydrogen Atom
        Representing Chemicals with Symbols
        Chemical Bonds
        Chemical Symbols
        Matter, Energy, Heat and Temperature
        Quantum Mechanics
        Micro-states and Entropy
        The Second Law of Thermodynamics
        Heat Flows from Hot Objects to Cold Ones
        Entropy and Chemical Reactions
        Chemical Kinetics
        Chemical Equilibria
        Closed vs. Open Systems

PDF: Introduction to Chemistry and Entropy (1 Mb)

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