Supreme law

In laws, supreme law, superseding all other laws, refers to []

In 1927, English mathematical physicist and astronomer Arthur Eddington , in his The Nature of the Physical World, stated that the second law of thermodynamics was the supreme law of the universe: [1]

“The law that entropy always increases — the second law of thermodynamics — holds, I think, the supreme position among the laws of nature. If someone points out to you that your pet theory of the universe is in disagreement with Maxwell’s equations — then so much the worse for Maxwell's equations. If it is found to be contradicted by observation — well, these experimentalists do bungle things sometimes. But if your theory is found to be against the second law of thermodynamics I can give you no hope; there is nothing for it but to collapse in deepest humiliation.”

The above passage is one of the most frequently repeated thermodynamics quotes. In typical freely going earth bound natural systems, such as found test tubes or societies, Eddington’s supreme law becomes, through derivation, the universal rule of chemical thermodynamics as explained by American physicist Gilbert Lewis in 1923.

1. Eddington, Arthur. (1928). The Nature of the Physical World (a course of Gifford Lectures delivered at the University of Edinburgh in January to March 1927) (ch. 4: "The Running-Down of the Universe", pgs. 63-86). The University of Michigan Press.

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