Academic and Professional Biography


Frank L. Lambert, (born July 10, 1918 in Minneapolis, Minnesota) is a Professor Emeritus (Chemistry) of Occidental College, Los Angeles CA..  He is known for his successful advocacy of deleting the definition of thermodynamic entropy as “disorder” from U.S. general chemistry texts and its replacement by viewing entropy as a measure of molecular energy dispersal. [1-9]


  1. Education
  2. Industrial Experience and Military Service
  3. Teaching
  4. Research
  5. Achievements
  6. The Getty Years
  7. Entropy Concerns
  8. Quotable quotes
  9. Notes and Literature Citations
  10. Changes in Chemistry Texts
  11. Websites


Fortunate to be awarded a scholarship to Harvard in the competition initiated by President James Bryant Conant “to increase the geographical diversity of Harvard undergraduates” in 1935, Lambert had the privilege of being in the class of 1939.  (Students were assigned to bench spaces alphabetically in chem labs.  He was next to a student named Bill Knowles, and perhaps Frank made a grave error in not 'hanging around' with Bill more often because, in 2001, William S. Knowles won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.)  Thinking that he could shorten his grad school work by taking Kistiakowsky's thermodynamic course for graduate students, Lambert as a senior applied for this privilege and was admitted. Its difficulty resulted in a B and sealed his decision to become an organic chemist rather than a physical chemist.  However, he graduated with honors in 1939.

Applying to the University of Chicago because of the possibility of working on then-novel free-radical chemistry under the direction of the distinguished organic chemist, Morris S. Kharasch, Lambert learned that Chicago rejected any prior courses in thermo and required its own ‘brand’.  Fortunately, however, Kharasch accepted Lambert in his research group and in 1942 Lambert received the Ph. D. with a dissertation on the effect of metallic halides on some Grignard reactions.  Two articles resulted from these years, [10,11] initiating his 68-year span of publications in peer-reviewed scientific journals. [10 and 8]

Industrial Experience and Military Service

Lambert joined the Edwal Laboratories in Chicago after receiving his doctorate.  His projects involved syntheses of rare and custom chemicals (primarily for pharmaceutical companies) until he was drafted into the Medical Department of the U.S Army in 1944.   He served in the Philippines but was granted early discharge in 1946 because Edwal requested his services to speed the development of new nutrients for penicillin production by Pfizer.  A second major assignment was producing the first ton-lots of Lindane in the US, an effective pesticide whose synthesis involved thousands of gallons of benzene, but one that is now banned in 52 countries because of its unknown-in-1946 human toxicity. Fortunately, he beat the odds.


An unusual teaching opportunity at the University of California, Los Angeles, was offered to Lambert for 1947-48.  He and another organic chemist were appointed instructors, with one to be retained for a tenure track position in 1948.  His duties involved directing graduate student assistants in general chemistry for one semester and teaching organic chemistry the second.  For thirty-nine years, he was mildly disappointed that UCLA had decided to retain the other instructor – until the other man, Donald J. Cram, received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1987.  UCLA had chosen correctly.

Occidental College needed an organic chemist as an assistant professor in its chemistry department in 1948 and Lambert accepted the position, becoming a full professor in 1956.  His initial educational publications described innovations for organic chemistry lectures:  The design and construction of the first large-scale Fisher-Hirschfelder-Taylor molecular models (one inch to 10 nm) formed by precise cutting and joining Styrofoam balls. [12, 13]  Large Styrofoam models of atomic and molecular orbitals were then found to be equally readily constructed. [14]  Finally, he developed a novel mode of introducing students to atomic orbitals via simple ‘slicing’ of wave patterns (analogized in Styrofoam) . Lambert was asked to instruct other professors in constructing these models at UCLA summer sessions for four years and the details were published for the use of chemistry instructors world-wide. [15

In teaching organic chemistry, Lambert developed a procedure of ‘lecture-less’ instruction.  Students were given his outline of the major (and trivial/ignorable) points in the textbook for the class meetings of the next week.  Thereby, the classes could consist primarily of back and forth between the students and Lambert, emphasizing only the hard or ‘tricky’ portions of the assigned text.  He called it the “Gutenberg Method” because, obviously, there had been movable type for textbooks for centuries and most organic texts were adequate repositories of information. “Why should the instructor present a boardful of elegantly organized material with answers by the score to questions that the students have not asked?”

Unknown to Lambert before the page proof was sent him, a presentation of his “Gutenberg Method’ at a national American Chemical Society meeting in 1962 was selected by the editor of the Journal of Chemical Education for an editorial on effective teaching [16]  Most significant, Robert T. Morrison, co-author of the organic chemistry textbook that changed organic texts after 1959 [17] extolled the “Gutenberg Method” in a 1986 publication [18] that Lambert did not learn about until 2000.

Several educational publications by Lambert after his retirement dealt with the humane importance of thermodynamics and chemical kinetics – an important viewpoint rarely if ever before brought to adults who are not science-oriented, and “a humane angle” that is not mentioned to beginners in chemistry.  The first in 1996, “Shakespeare and Thermodynamics: Dam the Second Law!” [19], involved chemical reactions such as the burning of paper and wood or the rusting of shiny iron.  But this use of ‘before’ and ‘after’ energy levels permitted the introduction of the concept of activation energies as “dams”,  desirable obstacles to undesirable second law predictions of reactions such as forest fires or rapid oxidation of our biosubstances.  Extending the pattern to simple breakage of solid objects – where there is no thermodynamic change, but the fact that exceeding a given load (an “Eact solid”) results in instant fracture -- reveals a useful new generalization:  It is such obstacles (Eact and Eact solid ) that generally protect us from undesirable processes.  Things do not usually “go wrong” in our immediate physical world and frequently the helpful “dams” to such undesirable occurrences are activation energies.  Finnegan’s Law (proposed by Lambert) is a far more accurate predictor of what happens in our world than Murphy’s.  (Finnegan’s Law?  “Murphy’s Law is usually wrong.”)

Two related articles “Why Don’t Things Go Wrong More Often?  Activation Energies: Maxwell’s Angels, Obstacles to Murphy’s Law” [20] and “Chemical Kinetics: As Important As The Second Law of Thermodynamics?” [21] in chemical journals brought the preceding ideas to the attention of chemistry professors and students.


Lambert’s research in the synthesis and polarography/voltammetry of organic halogen compounds, always designed for undergraduate collaboration, resulted in a novel halogenation synthetic method [22] that became widely cited (47 times) and used internationally. Correction by his students of a publication from skilled scientists in Science [23] was a major professional lesson for beginners in chemical research.  In polarography, he and his students developed the novel expertise necessary to work in non-aqueous solutions [24-29] and to achieve the first reduction of chlorinated aromatic compounds [30] and then, with glassy carbon electrodes, the previously unattainable complete reduction of CCl4 [31]  This expertise provided the necessary techniques for determining the quantitative correlation of the reduction of 24 alkyl bromides with Taft polar constants [32] – a remarkable span that Professor Corwin Hansch stated to be the largest of more than 6000 such correlations in his QSAR text [33].


Becoming a member of a chemistry faculty of only three at a relatively unknown college in 1948, but led by a uniquely vigorous chair, Dr. L. Reed Brantley, as faculty numbers and facilities improved, Lambert worked with his colleagues to develop an unusual department.  The summer student research program (aided by the first National Science Foundation Grants for which he applied in 1959, and by similar applications for subsequent summers) has grown many-fold to be consistently among the three or four largest collegiate programs in the United States.  (This size is only possible because of extreme devotion to student research by current and previous faculty and a chemistry building with greater than usual space for undergraduate research for which Lambert was the principal departmental planner and construction supervisor.)  For three decades recently, Occidental had more chemistry graduates annually than other Southern California colleges and exceeded that of a nationally prominent California university and a nearby world-famous technology Institute. Probably no other US college has had three Rhodes Scholars from chemistry in a decade as did Occidental and only a few have received as much research support in grants and awards in recent years.

Selected by a faculty committee in 1961, Lambert was the first scientist at Occidental to be a Faculty Award Lecturer, the faculty’s highest award at that time for teaching and for national scholarship.  In 1968, selected by vote of the senior class and despite his small classes, compared to large lectures by eminent and charismatic professors, he became the first recipient of a now-traditional student honor for outstanding teaching, the Loftsgordon Award.

The Getty Years

After his retirement from Occidental College in 1981 Dr. Lambert joined the staff of the J. Paul Getty Museum (located then in the present Getty Villa in Malibu) as the first permanent scientific advisor to the Museum, working primarily with the Antiquities Conservation Department.  He initiated videotaping at the Getty, demonstrating its utility for exact recording of new acquisitions when they were received, documenting procedures in conversation, training docents, and interviewing applicants for Getty positions. (As of 2011, there are 16 individuals in such recording, now part of the Getty "Information Technology Services".) When the large bequest from the Getty estate was received by the Museum, he became the principal aide to the Scientific Research Director of the new Getty Conservation Institute in 1983.  As ‘GCI’ grew to have some fifteen scientists on staff, he continued research [34], principally on problems of maintaining low-oxygen atmospheres in sealed display cases, and aided in the writing of three books [35-37] until 2002.

Entropy: "Disorder", A Century-old "Mystery" in Chemistry? No Longer!

Fortunately, responsible only for organic chemistry classes at Occidental, Lambert never had to teach general chemistry, in which the concept of entropy, an important factor in understanding chemical thermodynamics, was universally described in textbooks as related to "disorder". (This common word was often over-extended to analogize molecular disorder to messy desks or untidy dorm rooms.)  Unfortunately, for a new course for non-science majors that he had to teach for several years, he chose a text that forcefully presented entropy as “disorder” (but otherwise well developed simple chemical kinetics and thermodynamics).  Two decades after that period and at the end of his Getty career, he began to think about the serious problem of defining a scientific concept, entropy, by such a non-scientific measure as “disorder” or "mixedup-ness".

The initial result was a 1999 article [1] pointing out that macro “disorder” – mixed-up objects in dorm rooms or messy desks or shuffled cards -- had nothing to do with thermodynamic entropy.  This was followed in early 2002 by an article that collected comments from scientists and common examples showing the failure of “entropy as disorder”. [2]  Included therein were Lambert’s  first statements about a scientific description of entropy increase “as the result of the dispersal of energy in space generally and the occupancy of more microstates specifically…”.  This was further developed in late 2002 [4] where a simple statement of the second law was “Energy associated with macro objects or with molecules disperses, spreads out, dissipates from being localized if the dispersal process is not hindered”.  The online version of “Entropy Is Simple, Qualitatively” [entropy_is_simple] then extensively supported this view. A final important addition is in a 2007 article [6] : “This statement of the second law is not complete without identifying the overall process as an increase in entropy including the fact that spontaneous thermodynamic entropy change has two requisites:  The motional energy of molecules that most often enables entropy change is only actualized/completed if the process makes available an increased number of microstates, a probability requisite.  Thereby, thermodynamic entropy change is clearly distinguished from information ‘entropy' by having two essential requisites, energy relatable to molecular behavior as well as probability.”  (Information ‘entropy’ has only one, probability, and unlike the definition of entropy, does not require any connection to atoms, molecules, or energy.) The literally hosts of 'entropy' that proponents vaguely connect with 'disorder' or 'mixed-upness' have nothing to do with scientific entropy.

A 2007 article [6] showed that “configurational/conformational/positional” entropy is essentially an artifact of statistical mechanics: the process of counting locations or arrangements in three-dimensional space – translated to phase space – actually is equivalent to the count of momenta in phase space, i.e., a count of energetic microstates.  That is why the results of a Boltzmann calculation of the spontaneous entropy change in a doubling of volume of an ideal gas (e.g., expansion to an evacuated bulb in the stereotypical two-bulb system) is equal to a Clausius calculation via reversible compression to the original volume, R ln V2/V1.  Entropy change is entropy change, whether isothermal (“positional”) or thermal.

For chemistry textbooks to revise their views of a concept that was a century and a half old is highly improbable. However, within the last decade, 26 texts -- the majority of first-year chemistry texts and two in physical chemistry -- have discarded the previous conceptual definition, "entropy is disorder", and adopted Lambert's view, introducing a quantitative evaluation, "entropy is a measure of the dispersal of energy in space and phase space."

In 2005, the editor of Khymia, the Bulgarian Journal of Chemistry, asked for an article describing a modern view of entropy. It was published in 2006 and can be accessed here. [38] In an effort to reach non-English speaking students, Lambert wrote somewhat informally. Thus, although there are essential technical terms in the article, it may be clearer to the U.S. non-chemist than the usual scientific paper.


Wikipedia Contributions:  Lambert spent several hundred hours in 2006-7 contributing to discussions involving thermodynamics and entropy.  His views are represented here and there in four or five entropy-related articles, but the extremely democratic nature of Wikipedia almost insures that any controversial topics would attract individuals with endless time. Thus, Lambert’s record of peer-reviewed articles and comments from them were usually buried beneath paragraphs and pages of  trivial or pseudo-learned comments from anonymous viewers or non-experts who merely enjoyed writing.  (His original Wikipedia article, “Entropy as Energy Dispersal” was completely and poorly rewritten by a professor of economics!)

Although individuals are not permitted to write their own biographies in Wikipedia, due to their respect for Lambert’s contributions, two skilled contributors to Wikipedia installed a short bio of Lambert around 2008.  It was revised and enlarged by a member of Wikipedia’s inner circle of administrators in March 2011 and is accessible by typing Frank L. Lambert – Wikipedia in Google Search and then clicking the specific Wikipedia URL.

                        Trivial, but remarkable:  Most Google Searches for a specific individual, with or without a topic involved ( e.g., John Jones entropy), dwindle to many non- pertinent references (e.g., to William Jones, etc., etc. John Willson) within 10 or 15 pages.  However,  “Frank L. Lambert entropy” is producing apropos  results even to 25 pages.  (At the 30th page, ‘normal’ attrition is occurring with only 4 adequate references and 6 merely referring to the words at random.)

Quotable Quotes

      A vase gives form to the void.
         - Music to silence.
              Thermodynamics and kinetics to events.

Georges Braque
Henry Bent
Frank Lambert
      The second law of thermodynamics is time’s arrow
          but chemical kinetics is time’s clock.

Arthur Eddington
Frank Lambert
      Chemical kinetics firmly restrains “time’s arrow”
         in the taut bow of thermodynamics
            for milliseconds or millennia.

Frank Lambert

Citations and Notes

1. Lambert, Frank L., Shuffled Cards, Messy Desks, and Disorderly Dorm Rooms – Examples of Entropy Increase? Nonsense!,  Journal of Chemical Education, 1999, 76, 1385-1387.  (Online at shuffled_cards.html and lambert1999.pdf)

2. Lambert, Frank L., Disorder – A Cracked Crutch for Supporting Entropy Discussions, Journal of Chemical Education,  2002, 79, 187-192. (Online at cracked_crutch.html and lambert2002.pdf)

3. Although all U.S. chemistry texts for first-year university classes prior to 1999 had some sort of illustration of a disorderly room, or shuffled cards, or a mixture of red and green marbles as depictions of “increased entropy”, in 2007 no major text used such illustrations.

4. Lambert, Frank L., Entropy Is Simple, Qualitatively, Journal of Chemical Education, 2002, 79, 1241-1246.  (Online at entropy_is_simple)

5. Kozliak, Evguenii I, Lambert, Frank L., Order-to-Disorder” for Entropy Change? Consider the Numbers!, The Chemical Educator,2005, 10, 24-25. (Online at order_to_disorder.pdf )

6. Lambert, Frank L., Configurational Entropy Revisited, Journal of Chemical Education,  2007, 84, 1548-1550.  (Online at ConFigEntPublicat.pdf )

7. Kozliak, Evguenii I., Lambert, Frank L., Residual Entropy, the Third Law and Latent Heat, Entropy,  2008, 10, 274-284. (Online at loc. cit. ENTROPY)

8. Lambert, Frank L., Leff, Harvey S., The Correlation of Standard Entropy with Enthalpy Supplied from 0 to 298.15 K, Journal of Chemical Education, 86, 2009, 94-98. (Online at StanEnt12-27.pdf and StanEnt12-27Suppl.pdf)

9. In 1999 all U.S. general chemistry texts described entropy as “disorder”.  One gave 89 “examples” of “order to disorder” for entropy increase and another text 65.  By 2011, 19 first-year textbooks – including those two just mentioned, two physical chemistry, and three textbooks for non-majors – had adopted some description of the spontaneous dispersal of molecular motional energy in space or in occupancy of an increased number of accessible microstates as their definition of entropy increase.  The texts are listed online at #whatsnew and following these footnotes.

10. Kharasch, Morris S., Lambert, Frank L., The Effect of Metallic Halides on the Reaction Between Benzophenone and Methylmagnesium Bromide, Journal of the American Chemical Society, 1941, 63, 2315-2316.

11. Kharasch, Morris S., Lambert, Frank L., Urry, W. H., The Effect of Metallic Halides on the Reactions of Grignard Reagents with 1-Phenyl-3-Chloropropane, Cinnamyl Chloride, and Phenylethynyl Bromide,  Journal of Organic Chemistry, 1945, 10, 298-306.

12. Lambert, Frank L., Molecular Models for Lecture Demonstrations in Organic Chemistry (illustrated), Journal of Chemical Education, 1953, 30, 503-507.

13. ACS Meeting News report (illustrated), Styrofoam Molecular Models, Chemical and Engineering News, April 6, 1953, 31, [14] 1397.

14. Lambert, Frank L., Atomic and Molecular Orbital Models (illustrated), Journal of Chemical Education, 1957, 34, 217-219.

15. Lambert, Frank L.,  Atomic Orbitals from Wave Patterns, Chemistry, 1968, 41, [2] 10-15, [3] 8-11.  (Translated into Spanish by R. Cernich in Argentina and published in Spain in the educational journal, Rev. Iber. Ed. Quim, 1969, 3, [2] 42-51.

16. Lambert, Frank L., Effective Teaching of Organic Chemistry, Journal of Chemical Education, 1963, 40, 173-174. (Online at JCE1963.pdf)

17. ACS Meeting News report (illustrated), A Tale of Two Textbooks, Chemical and Engineering News, 2005, 83, [41] 48-51. (Online at

18. Morrison, Robert T., The Lecture System in Teaching Science, Proceedings of the Chicago Conferences on Liberal Education, [1], Undergraduate Education in Chemistry and Physics (edited by Marian R. Rice). The College Center for Curricular Thought: The University of Chicago, (October 18-19, 1986).  (Online at morrison.html )

19. Lambert, Frank L., “Shakespeare and Thermodynamics: Dam the Second Law!”, The Chemical Intelligencer, 1996, 2 [2], 20-25. (Online at )

20. Lambert, Frank L., “Why Don’t Things Go Wrong More Often?  Activation Energies: Maxwell’s Angels, Obstacles to Murphy’s Law”, Journal of Chemical Education, 1997, 74, 947-948. (Online at lambert1997.pdf)

21. Lambert, Frank L., “Chemical Kinetics: As Important As The Second Law Of Thermodynamics?”, The Chemical Educator, 1998, 3 [2], 1-6. (Online at lambert1998.pdf)

22. Lambert, Frank L., Ellis, William D., and Parry, Ronald J., Halogenation of Aromatic Compounds by N-Bromo- and N-Chlorosuccinimide under Ionic Conditions, Journal of Organic Chemistry, 1965, 30, 304-307.

23. Lambert, Frank L., Ellis, William D., Phelan, Nelson F., and Flegal, Carl A., Coupling of Butyl Bromide on Hot Magnesium, Science, 1964, 146, 1049.

24. Lambert, Frank L., Cleaning of Capillaries for Use in Polarography, Chemist-Analyst, 1957, 46, 10.

25. Lambert, Frank L., Polarography at Very Negative Potentials, Analytical Chemistry, 1958, 30, 1018.

26. Lambert, Frank L., Kobayashi, K., Polarographic Reduction of Organic Halogen Compounds, Chemistry and Industry, 1958, 30, 949-950.

27. Lambert, Frank L., Kobayashi, K., Polarography of Organic Halogen Compounds. 1. Steric Hindrance and the Half-wave Potential in Alicyclic and Aliphatic Halides, Journal of the American Chemical Society, 1960, 82, 5324-5328.

28. Lambert, Frank L., Albert, A. H., Hardy, J. P., Polarography of Organic Halogen Compounds. 2. Sterically Hindered Alicyclic Bromides, Journal of the American Chemical Society, 1964, 86, 3155-3156.

29. Lambert, Frank L., Ingall, G. B., Voltammetry of Organic Halogen Compounds. 4. Reduction of Organic Chlorides at the Vitreous (Glassy) Carbon Electrode, Tetrahedron Letters, 1974, 36, 3231-3234.

30. Lambert, Frank L., Kobayashi, Kunio, Reduction of Chlorobenzene at the Dropping Mercury Electrode, Journal of Organic Chemistry, 1958, 23, 773-774.

31. . Lambert, Frank L., Hasslinger, Bruce L., Franz III, Robert N., The Total Reduction of Carbon Tetrachloride at the Glassy Carbon Electrode, Journal of the Electrochemical Society, 1975, 122, 737-739.

32. Lambert, Frank L., Quantitative Correlation of the Half-Wave Potentials of Alkyl Bromides with Taft Polar and Steric Constants, Journal of Organic Chemistry, 1966, 31, 4184-4188.

33. Equation 3-28, p. 90 in Hansch, Corwin; Leo, Albert, Exploring QSAR:Fundamentals and Applications in Chemistry and Biology, ACS Professional Reference Book, American Chemical Society, 1995. ISBN 0-8412-2987-2

34. Lambert, Frank L., Daniel, Vinod; Preusser, Frank D., The Rate of Absorption of Oxygen by Ageless™: The Utility of an Oxygen Scavenger in Sealed Cases, Studies in Conservation, 1992, 37, 267-274.

35. Selwitz, Charles; Maekawa, Shin, Inert Gases in the Control of Museum Insect Pests, Research in Conservation, Getty Conservation Institute, 1998.  ISBN 978-0-89236-502-1

36. Maekawa, Shin, ed., Oxygen-Free Museum Cases, Research in Conservation, Getty Conservation Institute, 1998.  ISBN 978-0-89236-529-3

37. Maekawa, Shin; Elert, Kerstin, The Use of Oxygen-Free Environments in the Control of Museum Insect Pests, Tools for Conservation, Getty Conservation Institute, 2002. ISBN 978-0-89236-693-4

38. Lambert, Frank L., A Modern View of Entropy, Khymia, The Bulgarian Journal of Chemistry, 2006, 13-21. (Accessible here.)

Chemistry Texts Not Describing Entropy In Terms of Disorder

A minority of US general chemistry texts for majors still describe entropy in terms of “disorder” – an unfortunate subjective concept whose source appears to be a naïve statement by Boltzmann (boltzmann.html).  Now, however, most  ‘gen chem’ texts have discarded this non-scientific view and describe both entropy (e.g. standard molar entropy) and entropy change as measuring the result of energy becoming dispersed in physical or chemical processes – literally spreading more widely in space, while abstractly dispersing on additional energy levels in a conventional “particle in a box” diagram of one microstate.  (The latter, of course, then directly implies a greater number of microstates, W, in any final macrostate.)

It was nine years ago that the ms. outlining the above approach was accepted for publication (that now, revised and corrected, is available at this site: entropy_is_simple.  Accordingly, it is appropriate  that a list of ‘non-disorder’ texts, including physical chemistry as well as texts for non-majors, with their current editions and ISBN numbers, be assembled from the scattered references in this website over the past years.

General chemistry texts for majors

1. Bell, J. et al. Chemistry, 1st ed., W. H. Freeman, New York, NY. 2005. ISBN 9780716731269.   (Omits “disorder” -- but emphasizes “positional entropy”.  See ConFigEntPublicat.pdf for the reason that “positional/configurational entropy” is unwise for beginners.)

2. Burdge, J. Chemistry, 2nd ed. , McGraw-Hill, Hightstown, NJ. 2011. ISBN 9780077354763.

3. Chang, R. Chemistry, 10th ed., McGraw-Hill, Hightstown, NJ. 2010. ISBN 9780077274313.

4. Chang, R.; Overby, J. General Chemistry: The Essential Concepts, 6th ed., McGraw-Hill, Highstown, NJ. 2011. ISBN 9780077354718.

5. Ebbing, D.; Gammon, S. D. General Chemistry, 9th ed., Brooks/Cole - Cengage, Belmont, CA. 2011. ISBN 9780538697527.

6. Ebbing, D.; Gammon S. D.; Ragsdale, R. O. Essentials of General Chemistry, 2nd ed., Brooks/Cole - Cengage, Belmont, CA. 2006. ISBN 9780618491759.

7. Gilbert, T. R.; Kirss, R. V.;Foster, N.; and Davies, G.  Chemistry: The Science in Context,  3rd ed., W. W. Norton. New York, NY. 2010. ISBN 9780393934311.

8. Jesperson, N. D., Brady, J. E., Hyslop, A. The Molecular Nature of Matter, 6th ed., John Wiley, Indianapolis, IN. 2012. ISBN 9780470577714.

9. Kotz, J. C.; Treichel, P. M.; Townsend, J.; Weaver, G. Chemistry and Chemical Reactivity,  8th ed., Brooks/Cole/Cengage, Belmont, CA. 2012. ISBN 9780840048288.

10. McMurry, J. E.; Fay, R. C. Chemistry, 5th ed., Pearson/Prentice Hall, Lebanon, IN.  2007. ISBN 9780131993235. (misplaced emphasis on "molecular randomness" rather than on  the fundamental: the spreading out of their energy as molecules are allowed to move in greater space.)

11. McMurry, J. E., Fay, R. C. General Chemistry: Atoms First, 1st ed., Pearson/Prentice Hall, Lebanon, IN. 2010. ISBN 9780321571632.

12. Moore, J. W.; Stanitski, C. L.; Jurs, P. J. Chemistry: The Molecular Science, 4th ed., Brooks Cole/Cengage, Belmont, CA.  2011. ISBN 9780495390794.

13. Moore, J. W.; Stanitski, C. L.; Jurs, P. J. Principles of Chemistry: The Molecular Science, 1st ed., 2010.  ISBN 9780495390794.

14. Olmsted, J. A.; Williams, G. M. Chemistry, 4th ed., John Wiley, Indianapolis, IN. 2006. IBSN 9780471478119.

15. Olmsted, J. A.; Williams. G. M.; Burk, R. C. Chemistry, John Wiley, Toronto, Ontario M9B 6H8, Canada. 2010. ISBN 9780470155790.

16. Oxtoby, D. W.; Gillis, H. P.; Campion P. Principles of Modern Chemistry, 7th ed., Brooks Cole/Cengage, Belmont, CA. 2012. ISBN 9780534493660.

17. Petrucci, R. H.; Madura, J. D., Bissonnette, C. General Chemistry: Principles and Modern Applications, 10th ed., Pearson/Prentice Hall, Lebanon, IN. 2007. ISBN 9780136121497.

18. Silberberg, M. Chemistry: The Molecular Nature of Matter and Change, 5th ed., McGraw-Hill, Hightstown, NJ. 2009. ISBN 9780077216504.

19. Silberberg, M. Principles of General Chemistry, 2nd ed., McGraw-Hill, Hightstown, NJ. 2010.  ISBN 9780077274320.

20. Tro, N. J. Chemistry: A Molecular Approach, 2nd ed., Pearson/Prentice Hall, Lebanon, IN. 2011. ISBN 9780321706157. Excellent intro of entropy as a measure of energy dispersal in Solutions chapter.  Too much mention of “disorder” in the Thermodynamics chapter.

General chemistry texts for non-majors

21. Hill, J. W.; Kolb, D. K.; McCreary, T. W. Chemistry for Changing Times, 12th ed., Pearson/Prentice Hall, Lebanon, IN. 2010. ISBN  9780136054498.

22. Suchocki, J. Conceptual Chemistry: Understanding Our World of Atoms and Molecules,  4th ed., Pearson/Benjamin Cummings, San Francisco, CA. 2011.  ISBN   9780136054535.

23. Tro, N., J. Chemistry in Focus: A Molecular View of Our World, 4th ed, Pearson/Prentice Hall, Lebanon, IN. 2009. ISBN 9780495605478.

Physical chemistry texts

24. Atkins, P.; de Paula, J. Physical Chemistry 9th ed., W. H. Freeman, New York, NY. 2010. ISBN  9781429218122.

25. Atkins, P.; de Paula, J. Physical Chemistry for the Life Sciences, 1st ed., W. H. Freeman, New York, NY. 2005. ISBN 9780716782681.

26. Levine, I. N.  Physical Chemistry, 6th ed., McGraw-Hill, Hightstown, NJ. 2009. ISBN 9780072538625.  (Note p. 101, with ref. to


“The Second Law of Thermodynamics”, A conversational, no-math, no-equation introduction to the subject for all levels of students, including adults who are not in science, but especially for beginners in chemistry.

 “Entropy and the Second Law of Thermodynamics”, A five-part introduction to the second law and entropy from a micro (molecular) standpoint.

The first part develops the ideas of molecular translational, rotational and vibrational motion and also quantized energy levels and microstates without math or quantum mechanical details.

The second is almost a repetition of an introduction to activation energy in

The third part develops different forms of activation energies and introduces the transfer of energy from one exothermic process to facilitate a coupled endothermic process.

The fourth deals with the second law and evolution – energetically, the second law favors some energetically spontaneous evolutionary processes (and energy transfers can facilitate the synthesis of higher energy substances).  Thus, the claim that the second law ‘forbids’ or makes evolution impossible is false.

The fifth “Entropy and Gibbs free energy" is only for chemistry students.

“Entropy Is Simple – If We Avoid the Briar Patches!”,  A description of the second law’s implications for ecology, and its benefits for humans.  Less informal than the conversational and less technical, thus better for adults not in science.

“Shakespeare and Thermodynamics: Dam The Second Law”,  A site primarily for students and adults in the humanities and the arts.  A readable summary of what C. P. Snow should have said about the second law and activation energies to his audiences when he challenged their lack of knowledge of thermodynamics.  Some of the ideas in, but omitting any development of entropy.

“Entropy Sites – A Guide”,  Copyrighted articles by Lambert and others that deal with entropy as a measure of the dispersal of motional molecular energy plus supplementary material, a total of more than a hundred printed pages.


My special thanks are overdue to Luu Tran, who for ten years has been the absolutely essential individual who could convert my typing and literally hundreds of pages of Word or pdf documents to sometimes beautiful, always effective pages for our – and all are his and my – Websites!
Last revised and updated: May 2011