|Cover to the fifth edition of Turkish mechanical engineer Yunus Cengel and American mechanical engineer Michael Boles 1989 textbook Thermodynamics: an Engineering Approach, wherein the give human thermodynamics examples.|
economics thermodynamics quote by American-born English mathematical physicist Robert Ayres:
“Economic activities are inherently dissipative and governed by the second law of thermodynamics.”
Boles and Cengel seem to be one of the first thermodynamics textbook authors, aside from American chemical engineer Benjamin Kyle and his Chemical and Process Thermodynamics (1999), and a few others, to incorporate a section with applications of thermodynamics to human existence.
The chapter section in which Boles and Cengel do this in is their two their two-page entropy chapter subsection: “Entropy and Entropy Generation in Daily Life”, in which state associate entropy as a measure of disorder, and go onto speculate on a number of possible ways that the second law, entropy, and irreversibility apply to human existence. They introduce the subject by stating that the extension of the entropy concept to nontechnical fields is not a novel idea: "It has been the topic of several articles, and even some books."
|Boles and Cengel's example of entropy generation or entropy increase associated with human activity. |
The only person they cite, however, to backup this claim is American economist Jeremy Rifkin and his 1980 book Entropy, which is hardly the best example out of the four hundred plus human thermodynamics pioneers to have theorized in this field, over the last two centuries. They also cite, to their credit, American economist Robert Ayres in their opening quotes section. In any event, Boles and Cengel go on to present several ordinary events and show their relevance to the concept of entropy and entropy generation, as outlined by topic below.
Boles and Cengel state that efficient people lead low-entropy or highly organized lives. The give diagram 6-26, pictured adjacent, to illustrate this idea. They state in full that:
"Efficient people lead low-entropy (highly organized) lives. They have a place for everything (minimum uncertainty), and it takes minimum energy for them to locate something. Inefficient people, on the other hand, are disorganized and lead high-entropy lives. It takes them minutes (if not hours) to find something they need, and they are likely to create a bigger disorder as they are searching since they will probably conduct the search in a disorganized manner."
Here they seem to be equating the term "high-entropy lives" to a human molecule in a "high-entropy state" of existence, which may or may not be correct, depending on discussion.
This passage and theory, to note, seem to be most-similar to the positive psychology concept of "Csíkszentmihályi flow" or flow states of mental work production associated with high-efficient hours, days, and year of optimized personal work experience, such as writing a masterpiece or composing a great sonata; a theory developed in the 1970s by Croatian-born American psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi modeled on his earlier studies of the entropy and psychic entropy ideas of his mentor Swiss psychologist Carl Jung.
|Left: English astrophysicist Stephen Hawking's 1996 diagram of entropy decrease, via learning, and entropy increase associated, supposedly, with the body or surroundings, which is assumed to be greater than the former, in accordance with the second law.  Right: Boles and Cengel's diagram example of human frictions, resulting from anger and arguments, that are said to be associated with entropy increase or entropy generation. |
Boles and Cengel state that some people have “low-entropy learning” styles and are quick learners. This may be similar to English physicist Stephen Hawking’s 1996 model of neurological entropy and reading (pictured adjacent).
Boles and Cengel state that a disorganized library is in a high entropy state. The association of entropy with disorder is large subject, to say the least, applicable only under select conditions, circumstances, and processes and one that is very difficult to extrapolate into the human sphere. Historically, in terms of entropy models, the idea of associating the magnitude of entropy |S| with disorder was first stated explicitly in 1882 by German physicist Hermann Helmholtz. Prior to this, however, the concept of disorder can be found in Rudolf Clausius' 1862 disgregation models of entropy and following that the Boltzmann chaos assumption as popularized by Max Planck with his usage of this model in near absolute zero situations (such as in the work of Walther Nernst) and in quantum mechanics.
See main: War thermodynamicsBoles and Cengel state that that entropy can be applied to warfare organizations and processes, to the effect that a high entropy army is less powerful than a low-entropy army, namely one that is divided into divisions. The state that the old cliché ‘divide and conquer’ equates thermodynamically to the phrase ‘increase the entropy and conquer’. The use of thermodynamics arguments in warfare traces at least as far back as 1919 in the writings of Russian engineer Yevgeny Zamyatin and his idea that revolutions and wars are the product of thermodynamic laws.
Boles and Cengel state that that friction in the workplace between co-workers equates is a type of human friction that is quantified as entropy generation. They state that:
"We know that mechanical friction is always accompanied by entropy generation, and thus reduced performance. We can generalize this to daily life: friction in the workplace with fellow workers is bound to generate entropy, and thus adversely affect performance (Fig. 7–27). It results in reduced productivity."
The theory that human frictions generate a type or variant of physical heat (not in a metaphorical sense) was first proposed in 1858 by American sociologist and economist Henry Carey who outlined a theory of social heat associated with the rubbing together of human molecules in daily activity. The model that frictions in the workplace accrue and can be quantified as a type of entropy was first outlined by English-born American engineer William Fairburn in his 1914 book Human Chemistry.
Boles and Cengel go on to argue that unrestrained expansion, such as in an explosion or uncontrolled chemical reaction are highly irreversible processes that are similar to the unrestrained scattering of angry words and the damage these transmissions to in their generation of entropy.
Human thermodynamics education
See main: Human thermodynamics educationBoles and Cengel' outline arguments that someday the second law will be used to improve human well-being has been insipiration for some to do graduate school work in pursuit of this objection. In 2009, Hmolpedia member Turnkey13, a Turkey third-year undergraduate mechanical engineer, expressed desire to come to America to complete a master’s degree in on a topic related to thermodynamic of human life, having been inspired by passages (shown below) in the 2006 thermodynamics textbook by Cengel and Boles who state that: 
“The arguments presented here are exploratory in nature, and they are hoped to initiate some interesting discussion and research that may lead into better understanding of performance in various aspects of daily life. The second law may eventually be used to determine quantitatively the most effective way to improve the quality of life and performance in daily life, as it is presently used to improve the performance of engineering systems.”
The above query about human thermodynamics graduate programs was sent to American electrochemical engineer Libb Thims, in reply to which Thims told the inquiring student engineer that there weren't yet graduate programs (or even undergraduate classes) of that sort yet in the US, as their have been in Europe (Leon Winiarski's 1894-1900 University of Geneva course being one of the earliest examples).
Thims suggested to the engineering student that to better understand this topic with regard to entropy and human relations, he should start off with Thims' 2007 textbook Human Chemistry, as (in 2009) it contained the majority of the known publications written on entropy and human relations. 
1. (a) Cengel, Yunus A. and Boles, Michael A. (2002). Thermodynamics: an Engineering Approach (4th ed) (ch. 6: Entropy; subsection: Entropy and Entropy Generation in Daily Life, pgs. 318-19). McGraw-Hill.
(b) Entropy and Entropy Generation in Daily Life (2010) – Technocktail.info.
3. (a) Cengel, Yunus A. and Boles, Michael A. (2006). Thermodynamics: an Engineering Approach (ch. 4, pg. 193, ch. 7, pg. 349, ch. 8, pgs. 465-69). McGraw-Hill.
(b) Email communicate to American chemical engineer Libb Thims.
4. Hawking, Stephen. (1996). The Illustrated - A Brief History of Time, (keyword: Entropy, pgs. 130-33, 137, 184, 190; ch. 9: "The Arrow of Time", pgs. 182-95). New York: Bantam Books.
● List of thermodynamics textbooks that include human thermodynamics