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A thermodynamic cycle for the solar cell
A solar cell is a heat engine, but textbook treatments are not wholly satisfactory from a thermodynamic standpoint, since they present solar cells as directly converting the energy of light into electricity, and the current ...
The mechanical career of Councillor Orffyreus, confidence man
In the early 18th century, J. E. E. Bessler, known as Orffyreus, constructed several wheels that he claimed could keep turning forever, powered only by gravity. He never revealed the details of his invention, but he ...
Irreversibility of mechanical and hydrodynamic instabilities
The literature on dynamical systems has, for the most part, considered self-oscillators (i.e., systems capable of generating and maintaining a periodic motion at the expense of an external energy source with no corresponding ...
Interaction of a quantum field with a rotating heat bath
The linear coupling of a rotating heat bath to a quantum field is studied in the framework of the Markovian master equation for the field's non-unitary time evolution. The bath's rotation induces population inversion for ...
Irreversibility in an ideal fluid
When a real fluid is expelled quickly from a tube, it forms a jet separated from the surrounding fluid by a thin, turbulent layer. On the other hand, when the same fluid is sucked into the tube, it comes in from all ...
Chandler wobble: Stochastic and deterministic dynamics
We propose a model of the Earth’s torqueless precession, the “Chandler wobble,” as a self-oscillation driven by positive feedback between the wobble and the centrifugal deformation of the portion of the Earth’s mass contained ...