Tom Stoppard

Tom Stoppard nsIn hmolscience, Tom Stoppard (1937-) is a British playwright noted, in literature thermodynamics, for his 1993 play Arcadia, themed on a mix of Goethe's 1809 Elective Affinities and modern views.

In 1993, Stoppard wrote and produced the play Arcadia, a modern day take on German writer Johann Goethe’s 1809 physicochemical sociology based novella Elective Affinities.

Stoppard's play Arcadia takes place in two different time periods, 1809, the year of Goethe’s novella and the modern day, wherein Stoppard incorporates talk of “sexual energy”, “heat”, entropy via his discussion of the “second law of thermodynamics”, and human chemical affinity via his talk of “the attraction that Newton left out … all the way back to the apple in the garden”, the steam engine, upon which the laws of thermodynamics were derived, among other topics. [1]

What is curious about Stoppard, and his Arcadia, is that in spite of his apparent lack of background (degrees) in the sciences, he has made the a significant connection between the second law of thermodynamics and chemical affinity, in storyline, a very elusive and advanced scientific connection that was ferreted out in the late 19th century, particularly by German physicist Hermann Helmholtz in 1882, albeit one that generally remains a long buried fact in the scientific community, as the term affinity is not used as much in modern day science, having been replaced by free energy.

1. Stoppard, Tom. (1993). Arcadia (heat, 6+ pgs; sexual energy, pg. 33; atom, 2+ pgs; second law, pg. 65; quote: "Ah. The attraction that Newton left out. All the way back to the apple in the garden.", pg. 74). London: Faber and Faber.

Further reading
● Kelly, Katherine. (2001). The Cambridge Companion to Tom Stoppard (thermodynamics, 4+ pgs). Cambridge University Press.

External links
Tom Stoppard – Wikipedia.

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