A compulsively readable account of the extraordinary people, battling internal demons and external adversaries, who discovered the laws of thermodynamics and the science of heat, and brought about a scientific revolution.
Einstein's Fridge tells the story of how scientists uncovered the least known and yet most consequential of all the sciences, and learned to harness the power of heat and ice.
The laws of thermodynamics govern everything from the behaviour of atoms to that of living cells, from the engines that power our world to the black hole at the centre of our galaxy. Not only that, but thermodynamics explains why we must eat and breathe, how the lights come on, and ultimately how the universe will end. The people who decoded its laws came from every branch of the sciences – they were engineers, physicists, chemists, biologists, cosmologists and mathematicians.
Their discoveries, set over two hundred years, kick-started the industrial revolution, changed the course of world wars and informed modern understanding of black holes. Einstein's Fridge captures the thrill of discovery and the power of revolutionary science to change the world forever.
Paul Sen first encountered thermodynamics while studying engineering at the University of Cambridge. He became a documentary filmmaker with a passion for communicating profound scientific ideas in an engaging and accessible way to a wide audience with landmark TV series such as Triumph of the Nerds and Atom. These brought a love of storytelling to the worlds of science and technology. Paul's award-winning TV company Furnace, where he is creative director, has made BBC science series such as Everything and Nothing, Order and Disorder, The Secrets of Quantum Physics, and ninety-minute films such as Gravity and Me: The Force That Shapes Our Lives and Oak Tree: Nature's Greatest Survivor. This won the prestigious Royal Television Society Award for best science and natural history program and the Grierson Award for best science documentary in 2016. Einstein's Fridge is born out of Paul's conviction that the history of science is the history that matters.
"Sen knows how to grab the attention of an audience [...] [An] elegantly written and engaging book"
– Manjit Kumar, Financial Times
"When you combine some of the most profound concepts in physics with exceptional storytelling, this is what you get: popular science writing at its very best. Einstein's Fridge is a hugely readable and entertaining history of thermodynamics and how it has created and shaped our world"
– Jim Al-Khalili
"Sen makes a compelling case for how vital thermodynamics is [...] Lively"
– Sam Kean, Wall Street Journal
"Sen has given thermodynamics the importance it deserves, along the way introducing us to some fascinating people and detail of their lives and work. Hot stuff"
– Brian Clegg, PopularScience
"Sen makes a convincing case for the importance of thermodynamics in his impressive debut [...] He accomplishes all of this with splendid prose, making ample use of analogies to explain complex scientific ideas. Sen's history of hot and cold is pop-science that hits the mark."
– Publisher's Weekly