Greg Myers

Greg Myers nsIn hmolscience, Greg Myers (1954-) is an American-born English rhetoric and communications professor noted, in human thermodynamics, for his 1985 “Nineteenth-Century Popularizations of Thermodynamics and the Rhetoric of Social Prophecy”, wherein he gives a short history of the usage of thermodynamics in the humanities.

In 1985, Myers, in his “Nineteenth-Century Popularizations of Thermodynamics and the Rhetoric of Social Prophecy”, gives a fairly through account of the usage and application of thermodynamics in the humanities, and in particular social prophecy. [1] Myers thematically opens his paper to German historian-philosopher Oswald Spengler’s 1918 quote regarding his cyclical entropy-based theory of the rise and fall of civilizations: [2]

“What the myth of Gotterdammerung signified of old, the myth of entropy signifies today—the world’s end as completion of an inwardly necessary evolution.”

The German Götterdämmerung is a translation of the Old Norse phrase Ragnarök, which in Norse mythology refers to a prophesied war of the gods that brings about the end of the world. [3]

Myers then goes on to discuss similar discussions and extensions of thermodynamics and the physical sciences into the humanities made by others: Henry Adams, Erwin Hiebert, William Jordy, Henry Buckle, John Tyndall, John Ruskin, Stephen Brush, David Wilson, Theodore Porter, Balfour Stewart, Thomas Huxley, Peter Tait, Karl Marx, Nicholas Georgescu, Jeremy Rifkin, Yevgeny Zamyatin, Herbert Spencer, and Thomas Pynchon, to name a few. [4]

Myers completed his BA at Pomona College, California, his PhD at Columbia University, and in 1985 was associated with the University of Lancaster. Presently, Myers is a professor of rhetoric and communication at Lancaster University.

1. Myers, Greg. (1985). “Nineteenth-Century Popularizations of Thermodynamics and the Rhetoric of Social Prophecy. Victorian Studies, 29: 35-66.
2. (a) Spengler, Oswald. (1918). The Decline of the West (Der Untergang des Abendlandes) (entropy, 8+ pgs). Publisher
(b) The Decline of the West – Wikipedia.
3. Gotterdamerung – Wikipedia.
4. (a) Jordy, William. (1952). Henry Adams: Scientific Historian. Yale University Press.
(b) Brush, Stephen G. (1967). “Thermodynamics and History: Science and Culture in the Nineteenth Century”, The Graduate Journal, 7: 481-543.
(c) Wilson, David B. (1974). “Kelvin’s Scientific Realism: the Theological Context”, Philosophical Journal, 11: 41-60.
(d) Brush, Stephen G. (1976). “Irreversibility and Determinism: Fourier to Heisenberg”, Journal of the History of Ideas, 37: 603-30.
(e) Brush, Stephen G. (1978). The Temperature of History: Phases of Science and Culture in the Nineteenth Century. Burt Franklin.

External links
Greg Myers (faculty) – Linguistic and English Language department, Lancaster University.
Myers, Greg (1954-) – WorldCat Identities.

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