Perpetual motion

Escher waterfall
The famous Escher house perpetual motion water wheel, a 1961 lithograph by Dutch artist M.C. Escher depicting water paradoxically running uphill to the, which is said to be representative of perpetual motion of the first kind. [7]
In science, perpetual motion, aka "self-impelling power", refers to any number of machines or mechanisms, often built using various mixtures of levers, water wheels, screws, gears, balls running down ramps, etc., conceived to create continuous motion or mechanical work endlessly without an external power source. [1] The dipping bird is kind of like a perpetual motion machine, a contraption that runs for weeks on end, albeit one that runs on atmospheric heat gradients.

All early perpetual motion machines were concerned with efforts to replace the work of the miller who used either water (waterpower) or wind (windpower) to grind corn. [5] Various modern-age perpetual motion devices continue to be made every year up to the present by individuals with dreams of solving the energy crisis. [3]

These devices were built endlessly, beginning in about the 8th century and over the following millennium, up until the invention of the steam engine by French physicist Denis Papin in 1691, which soon thereafter worked alleviate the hard work of the miller. In 1775, the Paris Academy of Sciences made the decision not to examine inventions concerning perpetual motion engines. [1]

“The celebrated problem of a self-impelling power, though denied by Huygens and de la Hire (Ѻ), who have attempted to demonstrate its fallacy, has yet been supported by some of the most celebrated among the ancient as well as modern philosophers. Innumerable have been the machines to which the idea of the perpetual motion has given birth; but the most celebrated among the modems is the Orffyrean wheel. This machine, according to the description given of it by G.F. ‘s Graevesande, in his Oeuvres Philosophiques, consisted of a large circular wheel or drum, twelve feet in diameter, and fourteen inches in depth.”
— Charles F. Partington (1825), note on Edward Somerset’s 1663 presumed perpetual motion device [11]

“It has long been, and so remains to this day, an unsettled question, whether perpetual motion is, or is not, possible. To name no other, it is evident, from their writings, that Bishop Wilkins, Gravesande, Bernoulli, Leupold, Nicholson, and many eminent mathematicians, have favored the belief in the possibility of perpetual motion, although admitting difficulties in the way of its discovery. Against it, we find De la Hire, Parent, Papin, Desaguliers, and the great majority of scientific men of all classes and countries.”
— Gardner Hiscox (1927), Mechanical Appliances and Novelties of Construction [12]

A popular example of an interesting perpetual motion machine is English physician Robert Fludd’s 1630s grain grinding machine which supposedly operated via a water recirculation using a water wheel and an Archimedean screw. A late 17th century version of Fludd's perpetual motion grain grinding machine, as shown in Böckler's Theatre of New Machines, is depicted adjacent.

Dutch mathematician and engineer Simon Stevin, in his 1586 Beghinselen Der Weegkunst (Statics and Hydrostatics), is said to be the first to have given a complete statement of the impossibility of perpetual motion. [9]

Perpetual motion of the first kind
See main: Perpetual motion of the first kind
With the rise of thermodynamics in the 1850s, through the work of Rudolf Clausius, a general disproof of the possible existence of perpetual motion machines was established. A disproof of perpetual motion using the first law of thermodynamics defines perpetual motion of the first kind. The 1961 lithograph by Dutch artist M.C. Escher, as pictured (above), depicting water paradoxically running from the base of the waterfall uphill to the top of the waterfall, is said to be representative of perpetual motion of the first kind. [2]

Perpetual motion of the second kind
See main: Perpetual motion of the second kind
French engineer Sadi Carnot was the first to have introduced the impossibility of perpetual motion of the second kind with his 1824 so-called "proof" on the coupling of heat engine with a refrigerator, as discussed in one of his appended footnotes. [10] This impossibility of perpetual motion of the second kind was then expanded on in more elaborate detail by German physicist Rudolf Clausius (1850-75).

A disproof of perpetual motion using the second law of thermodynamics defines perpetual motion of the second kind. The phrase “perpetual motion of the second kind”, supposedly, was introduced by German physical chemist Wilhelm Ostwald. [4]

Perpetual motion of the living kind
See main: Perpetual motion of the living kind
In theories of human existence, thinkers of all ages, past and present, continue to posit so-called "self-motion" theories or "self-driven" theories of human movement. These types of theories can be classified as "perpetual motion of the living kind" or perpetual motion of the biological kind, in the sense that human existence is some type of perpetual motion chemical reaction that started 3.9-billion years ago with a strike of lightening in Darwin's warm pond. This, however, is a defunct view, as is the case with any and all types of perpetual motion theories. In the view of a human as a "human engine", for instance, attempts to argue that a human is self-driven is an attempt to argue that the human motor, mind, brain, and body, is a perpetual motion machine.

Summation of the first and second law into a unified understanding of perpetual motion is captured in the combined law of thermodynamics, which means to the effect that system movement will only accrue when there is a decrease in free energy. This is the guideline that applies to what has been historically considered as the biological world, humans included.
A perpetual motion device.

This was stated by Erwin Schrodinger in 1944 when after being attacked by his physicist colleagues for his negative entropy based "What is Life?" lecture, replied that he would have turned the discussion to "free energy". Subsequently, in short, those who propound on theories of human movement that not in accord with the governance of the combined law of thermodynamics are promoting what are called "perpetual motion theories of the biological kind."

In recent decades, beginning generally with Belgian chemist Ilya Prigogine’s 1977 book Self-Organization in Non-Equilibrium Systems, in many thermodynamic explanations of biological processes or evolution the term “self-”, as in self-organizing, self-reproducing, self-activating, etc., are being used, which are akin to biological perpetual motion. These descriptions are typically found in origin of life discussions. An example is American biochemist Stuart Kauffman's 1995 theory of self-catalyzing looped chemical reactions that comes alive, seeming going on its own; which he equates to the threshold of the start of life in the evolution timeline. [6] Another example is Indian chemical engineer DMR Sekhar's 2010 "self-driven" theory of human motion. [8]

The following are related quotes:

“Oh ye seekers after perpetual motion, how many vain chimeras have you pursued? Go and take your place with the alchemists.”
— Leonardo da Vinci (1494), Notebooks (SKM, ii. 92 v) (Ѻ)(Ѻ)

1. Perrot, Perrie. (1998). A to Z of Thermodynamics (pgs. 234-35). Oxford University Press.
2. Waterfall (M. C. Escher) – Wikipedia.
3. History of perpetual motion machines – Wikipedia.
4. Hokikian, Jack. (2002). The Science of Disorder: Understanding the Complexity, Uncertainty, and Pollution in Our World (pg. 24). Los Feliz Publishing.
5. Ord-Hume, Arthur W.J.G. and Ord, Hume A. (2006). Perpetual Motion: The History of an Obsession. Adventures Unlimited Press; St. Martin’s Press, 1977.
6. Kauffman, Stuart. (1995). At Home in the Universe - the Search for the Laws of Self-Organization and Complexity (pg. 50). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
7. Waterfall (M.C. Escher) – Wikipedia.
8. (a) Sekhar, DMR. (2010). “The Drive and the Direction of Evolution” (cached), Knol .
(b) Defunct theory of life (2011) – forums.
9. (a) Mach, Ernst. (1911). History and Root of the Principle of Conservation of Energy. Open Court Publishing.
(b) Mirowski, Philip. (1989). More Heat than Light: Economics as Social Physics, Physics as Nature’s Economics (pg. 15). Cambridge University Press.
10. (a) Carnot, Sadi, Hippolyte Carnot, and Thomson, William. (1890). Reflections on the Motive Power of Fire and on Machines fitted to Develop this Power (Appendix B: Carnot’s Foot-notes, Note A: Perpetual Motion, pgs. 237-). J. Wiley.
(b) Mirowski, Philip. (1989). More Heat than Light: Economics as Social Physics, Physics as Nature’s Economics (pg. 25). Cambridge University Press.
11. Somerset, Edward (Marquis of Worcester). (1825). The Century of Inventions: Original Manuscript with Historical and Explanatory Notes and a Biographical Memoir (editor: Charles F. Partington) (pg. 54). Murray.
12. Hiscox, Gardner D. (1927). Mechanical Appliances and Novelties of Construction (Ѻ). Norman W. Henley Publ. Co.

Further reading
● Angrist, Stanley W. “Perpetual Motion Machines.” Scientific American, 218 (January, 1968): 114-22.
● Ord-Hume, W.J.G. (1977). Perpetual Motion: the History of an Obsession. Adventures Unlimited Press.

External links
Perpetual motion – Wikipedia.
● Simanek, Donald E. (date). “Perpetual Futility: A Short History of the Search for Perpetual Motion”, Lock Haven University.

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