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Man the Fire-Maker

His unique evolution is largely due to his ability to turn heat to his own ends. Even before he learned to bake clay and smelt metals he used fire to change himself and the face of the earth

By Loren C. Eiseley

What is Heat?

We deal with it by means of mathematical abstractions which rest on the notions of disorder and energy. Presenting an explanation of these concepts together with a brief account of their origins

By Freeman J. Dyson

Heat and Life

Between the lowest temperatures and the highest is a narrow zone in which living organisms have evolved. This is the range where enzymes can exist and speed the chemical reactions of metabolism

By Frank H. Johnson

High Temperatures: Flame

Our principal source of intense heat is the luminous combustion of gases. The phenomenon is intensively studied to increase both the temperature of flames and our knowledge of matter and energy

By Bernard Lewis

High Temperatures: Materials

The containment of heat in new industrial processes and jet propulsion systems strains the melting points of metals and ceramics. A combination of them called cermets shows promise

By Pol Duwez

High Temperatures: Chemistry

Between 1,000 and 3,000 degrees centigrade lies the present frontier of chemical technology. A chemical plant making nitric oxide from air heated to 2,100 degrees is already in operation

By Farrington Daniels

High Temperatures: Propulsion

Efficiency increases with temperature in the engines that convert heat into other forms of energy. Jet engines are now approaching the limiting temperatures of flames and materials to contain them

By Martin Summerfield

Very High Temperatures

Here solids and liquids no longer exist, molecules are disrupted and gases are ionized. The strange dynamics of these electrically conducting gases are a new concern of physicists and astronomers

By Arthur Kantrowitz

Ultrahigh Temperatures

They occur in nuclear explosions and in the interiors of stars. In the latter they promote thermonuclear reactions and perhaps convert hydrogen into all other elements on the periodic table

By Fred Hoyle

Departments

  • 50 and 100 Years Ago: September 1954

  • Science and the Citizen: September 1954

  • Letters

    Letters to the Editors, September 1954

  • Recommended

    Books

  • Amateur Scientist

    The Amateur Scientist

  • Departments

    The Authors

  • Bibliography

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September 1954

See the World from a Different Perspective

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