Sadi Carnot’s Réflexions and the foundation of thermodynamics

  • Pier Remigio Salvi Dipartimento di Chimica “Ugo Schiff”, Università di Firenze via della Lastruccia 3, 50019 Sesto Fiorentino (FI), Italy
  • Vincenzo Schettino Dipartimento di Chimica “Ugo Schiff”, Università di Firenze via della Lastruccia 3, 50019 Sesto Fiorentino (FI), Italy

Abstract

The purpose of this article is to present a short review of Sadi Carnot work on heat engines and on the role his adherence to the caloric theory may have had. The essential points developed in the Réflexions are reviewed as forerunners of the science of thermodynamics. The antecedents that may have inspired the brilliant scientific insights of Carnot are reviewed together with the reception of the Carnot principles in the engineering and in the scientific community until the formulation of the two principles of modern thermodynamics.

Author Biographies

Pier Remigio Salvi, Dipartimento di Chimica “Ugo Schiff”, Università di Firenze via della Lastruccia 3, 50019 Sesto Fiorentino (FI), Italy

Pier Remigio Salvi is presently retired Professor of Physical Chemistry of the University of Florence. He has been Director of the Chemistry Department “U. Schiff” in the years 2010–2012. His scientific interests along the years include solid-state infrared and Raman spectroscopy of molecular crystals, non-linear laser spectroscopy of aromatic systems, ultrafast relaxation dynamics in porphyrins, photoacoustic spectroscopy of polymers and nanomaterials.

Vincenzo Schettino, Dipartimento di Chimica “Ugo Schiff”, Università di Firenze via della Lastruccia 3, 50019 Sesto Fiorentino (FI), Italy

Vincenzo Schettino is Professor Emeritus of Physical Chemistry at the University of Florence, where he held various academic positions. He is a member of the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei and other scientific societies. His scientific interests include the dynamics of molecular systems in the condensed phase, the chemical reactivity at extreme pressures and the interactions between science, art and literature. In 2005 he received the Presidential Award for scientific research.

Published
2019-10-01
How to Cite
Salvi, P. R., & Schettino, V. (2019). Sadi Carnot’s Réflexions and the foundation of thermodynamics. Substantia, 3(2), 73-96. https://doi.org/10.13128/Substantia-638
Section
Historical Articles