Conservation and Cycles

In any closed system, quantities must be conserved.  Thermodynamics inform us that energy is conserved.  Linear and angular momentum are both conserved, whether we’re looking at billiard balls in a Newtonian paradigm, or photons in a quantum system.  Special relativity expands conservation even further to the equivalence between matter and energy.  In a closed system, where nothing can escape, quantities are inevitably conserved.

Einstein’s Fridge Review

This is as much a history book as it is a science book, so it strongly appealed to my polymath tendencies (I should really write a post about the polymath/Renaissance Man concept). In fact, if I were going to teach an introductory course on thermodynamics, or wanted to introduce someone to the topic, I would highly recommend this book, rather than using a more traditional textbook.