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Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D.

On This Day in Science History - November 18 — Third Law of Thermodynamics

By November 17, 2013

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November 18th marks the passing of Walther Nernst. Nernst was the German physical chemist who introduced the third law of thermodynamics. The laws of thermodynamics describe the transport of energy and work in systems and are fundamental to all science disciplines. The third law says that it is impossible for a system to reach a temperature of absolute zero. It states that as a system approaches absolute zero, all processes cease and the entropy of the system approaches a minimum value.

Nernst made many contributions to electrochemistry, solid state chemistry and photochemistry in addition to his work in thermodynamics. Find out what else occurred on this day in science history.

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