Word: NegentropyA physicist’s fix for a messy home.

Word: NegentropyA physicist’s fix for a messy home.

Arts & Culture

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  • Words Stephanie d'Arc Taylor
  • Photograph Mirka Laura Severa

Etymology: Coined by the French physicist Léon Brillouin in the early 20th century, and popularized by Erwin Schrödinger (of Schrödinger’s cat fame), negentropy is a portmanteau of “negative” and “entropy” and describes the difference between the energy in a system and the maximum possible energy in a system.

Definition: Not much about teens makes sense, but one classic teenage argument must be viewed with grudging respect, by physicists at least: the futility of making one’s bed in the morning. The scientifically minded teen might rebut encouragements toward tidiness by pointing out that making one’s bed is a mere finger in the dike of one of the fundamental laws of our physical world: entropy. Entropy describes the principle that everything in the universe tends towar...

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