Archive for 31 December 2009
To me as a physicist, one of the most important aspects of ‘energy’ is not the different types that we divide it into – electrical, potential, nuclear, gravitational, as the project currently labels some of them – but the fact that it can transform from one for to another.
The electromagnetic energy of the sub gets absorbed by a plant , converting some of it into carbohydrates where it is stored chemically. The plant dies, and millions of years pass, during which the plant is transformed into coal. We dig it up, burn it in a power plant, releasing the stored chemical energy into heat, which in turns boils water making steam which drives a turbine to make electricity. This is passed down a cable to a home where someone turns on a light. And we have electromagnetic energy again.
There are myriad different classifications of energy in this trail, but the capacity to do work, in a technical sense, unifies them all.
And in the background we have the pervasive rule of the second law of thermodynamics, with more entropy being generated at each stage and we get less and less useful energy out of the system.
How does this become an exhibit? I really don’t know, but it’ll be interesting finding out!
2009 Der Werwolf von Wien
2008 Ballungscenter aller Energien II
2007 Ballungscenter aller Energien I