|Screenshot (4:47-4:53) from Mary Guthrie’s 2009 investigative report video “Why Students Choose Chemical Engineering”, wherein chemical engineering student Jawad Mirza comments, via tongue-in-cheek humor, or rather eludes to the premise that in thermodynamics, students, at NC State University, learn about heat transfer, in typical engineering systems, and also how heat transfers “between people” (see: social heat). |
Heat transfer | Social | a Joke?
See main: Social heat; Social heat transferThe humorous quip that chemical engineering students, at NC State University, learn, in their thermodynamics class, how "heat" transfers between people–meant as a thermal word stylized joke in fun—has great irony too it.
On one hand, it is funny: a side comment that makes people laugh (see: Rich Byrnes).
On the another hand, in a more serious note, it is also funny that what Mirza (or Guthrie, script writer) says is true, thermodynamics does indeed explain how heat transfers between people, at least in semi-worked-out theory, a subject that forms the backbone of hmolscience in general and physicochemical sociology, in particular, such as found in: Empedocles' four element theory of social aggregation (450BC), German polyintellect Johann Goethe’s human chemical theory (1809) to American sociologist Henry Carey’s social heat theory (1857), to Chinese ecological economist Wenyuan Niu’s social combustion theory (2001), to name a few dominate examples; yet it is NOT a subject taught in any engineering school in the world presently (Korea University’s 2011 “Seminar on Social Thermodynamics” graduate seminar aside) (Ѻ); whereas, conversely, a century ago, in the early 20th century this subject—of heat transferring between people—was the leading branch of modern sociology, according to Harvard sociology department founder Pitirim Sorokin (1928) and his mechanistic school classification, such as anchored in the work of engineers American Willard Gibbs (see: Sociology 23; Mathematical Economics) or Italian Vilfredo Pareto (see: Harvard Pareto Circle); or in the work of Leon Winiarski who built political economics and sociology, at the University of Geneva (1890s), on a Clausius inequality framed social mechanics.
In short, the phenomena of intellectual fragmentation, specialization, compartmentalization, and a decline of interdisciplinarity-based universal education, has resulted in a state of two cultures “hydraism”, so to say, wherein engineering departments have become diploma paper mills, producing niche subject focused (e.g. drug design) secular students without any foundational schooling in the fruits of the deeper universal genius type problems of human nature, the “heat” of the torch of 21st century enlightenment being drowned out by passing humor, as though the “heat” of passion, existence, and being was a metaphorical joke of modern day, which can be compared to 20th century enlightenment thinkers, such as Henry Adams, who after studying Willard Gibbs, physics, and chemistry for some 50-years, could declare, at age 70, that “no one shall persuade me that I am not a phase (see: social phase).
Thermodynamics forces | Social
In 2012, American chemical engineer Rich Byrnes commented on the parody: 
“I’m happy to know that the thermodynamic forces that compel folks to become ChE’s have not changed much over the years.”
Here again we see a double joke, namely the assertion that the subject of the "thermodynamic forces that compel people to become chemical engineers", the forces in question here being the isothermal-isobaric force function of Willard Gibbs (aka Gibb energy), is a standard subject taught in chemical engineering curriculum, which is not the case. When this subject is broached, e.g. Frederick Rossini's "Chemical Thermodynamics in the Real World" (1971), Mirza Beg's New Dimensions in Sociology: a Physico-Chemical Approach to Human Behavior (1987), or Erich Muller’s “Human Societies: a Curious Application of Thermodynamics” (1998), etc., the first barrier to hurdle is the religious obstacle, which tends to bring about so much "social friction", of human molecules "rubbing together", using Henry Carey's phraseology, that "sparks" of objection and debate quickly result, and the fire department of social status quo is called to put the kindling subjects out, before then can can successfully ignite.
Choice | Chemical thermodynamics
The term "choose" of the video title, i.e. why do students "choose" the major of "chemical engineering", brings to mind that fact that "choice" was the center piece philosophical puzzle of Goethe's 1809 human chemical theory based novel Die Wahlverwandtschaften, which translates (see: titled decoding) as: die [the] wahl [choice] [of] [one's] verwandtschaft [affinities or elections], the gist of which being that "humans", as evolved or "metamorphized" types of chemicals, or CHNOPS+20 molecules, as we say in modern terms, have their "choices" pre-configured by the "affinities" of the reactions or human chemical reactions they are thrown into, which in modern terms is quantified by the Gibbs energy of the system, affinity being equivalent to free energy change, proved by Hermann Helmholtz in his "On the Thermodynamics of Chemical Processes" (1882), the logic of which is found historically in the so-called human free energy theorists. This, however, is a branch of education so far removed from modern chemical engineering curriculum, which should be its centerpiece, as per humanities instructions go, that it is like a foreign language to newly-minted chemical engineers; despite recent engineering conference calls, e.g. Alec Groysman (2011), Libb Thims (2013), and Jaime Aguilar-Arias (2014).
1. Guthrie, Mary. (2009). “Investigative Report: on Why Students Choose Chemical Engineering” (Ѻ) (writer: Mary Guthrie) (Jawad Mirza quote, 4:47-4:53; Byrnes quote, comment section), ChETube, CHEnected, Jan 13.
2. Byrnes, Rich. (2012). “Forum Comment” (Ѻ) to “Why Students Choose Chemical Engineering”, AIChe.org, Jan 21.