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That branch of physics which is concerned with the storage, transformation and dissipation of energy (including the flow of heat from which the term is derived). Its first law, or the conservation law, states that energy can neither be created nor destroyed. This law provides the basis for all quantitative accounts of energy, regardless of its form, and makes energy the most important concept in physics. Its second law, or the entropy law, states that in all processes some of the energy involved irreversibly looses its ability to do work and is degraded in quality. The latter is called thermodynamic entropy whose extreme form is dispersed heat and manifested in a uniform temperature distribution. Another statement of this second law is that in any process entropy never decreases. The irreversibility of physical processes implicit in this law makes the entropy law probably the most important law in understanding terrestrial processes including living organisms and social forms. The third law of thermodynamics, or the asymptotic law, states that all processes slow down as they operate closer to the thermodynamic equilibrium making it difficult to reach that equilibrium in practice. This law suggests that the powerful and fast changes which are typical of technology and characteristic of living forms of organization are bound to occur only at levels far removed from thermodynamic equilibrium. (Krippendorff)
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