All too often, courses in thermodynamics and statistical mechanics barrage their students with numerous equations that are left unexamined and uninvestigated. This note explains how to pause, examine a thermodynamic equation, and render it more meaningful. Three techniques are discussed: (1) design two experiments that would measure the quantities on either side of the equality; (2) examine special cases; (3) consider the consequences if the equality failed to hold.
%0 Journal Article %A Styer, Dan %D December 1, 1999 %T A thermodynamic derivative means an experiment %J Am. J. Phys. %V 67 %N 12 %P 1094-1095 %8 December 1, 1999 %U http://dx.doi.org/10.1119/1.19088
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