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The restless Universe
The restless Universe

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2.3 The irreversible Universe

'Science owes more to the steam engine than the steam engine owes to Science.'

L.J. Henderson (1917)

From the time of Newton until the end of the nineteenth century the development of physics consisted essentially of the refinement and extension of the mechanical view of the Universe. There were many stages in this process but one of the most interesting came towards its end with the realisation that the cosmic clockwork was inevitably unwinding and running down. The source of this realisation was the development of thermodynamics.