Karlsruhe Physics Course
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Karlsruhe Physics Course


Karlsruhe Physics Course

Logo for Karlsruhe Physics Course
This high school/intro college curriculum is a series of three short textbooks (and a teacher's guide) for introducing thermodynamics in an intuitive and visual way. By drawing on analogies between thermal, fluid, electrical, mechanical, and chemical systems, and tying them together using energy and entropy, the Karlsruhe Physics Course helps students build a useful model for picturing the basics of physics and chemistry. It was developed in Germany over the course of 30 years, and has been... More
Material Type: Open Textbook
Technical Format: HTML/Text
Date Added to MERLOT: September 18, 2008
Date Modified in MERLOT: November 06, 2014
Send email to Georg.Job@gmx.de
Send email to friedrich.herrmann@physik.uni-karlsruhe.de
Submitter: Joel Rosenberg
Keywords: analogies, visualization, intensive and extensive quantities, physics, cool4ed


  • Reviewed by members of Editorial board for inclusion in MERLOT.
    Editor Review (not reviewed)
  • User review 3.67 average rating
  • User Rating: 3.67 user rating
  • Discussion (3 Comments)
  • Learning Exercises (none)
  • Personal Collections (2)
  • Accessibility Info (none)


Primary Audience: High School, College Lower Division
Mobile Compatibility: Not specified at this time
Technical Requirements:

PDF for computer or tablet.

Language: English, Italian, Chinese, Spanish
Cost Involved: no
Source Code Available: no
Accessiblity Information Available: unsure
Creative Commons: Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States


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Discussion for Karlsruhe Physics Course

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Avatar for Eduardo Laschuk
12 weeks ago

Eduardo Laschuk (Faculty)

This is great material. Innovative formulation. Highlight: entropy becomes easy and makes a lot of sense even to beginners, valuable insights are provided to the concepts of temperature and heat.

Time spent reviewing site: several hours
Used in course

Avatar for Frank Lambert
4 years ago

Frank Lambert (Faculty)

There should be a "no star" category for this inexcusable treatment of entropy. The section on entropy is the most incredible mess of garbage, misinformation, and error that I have ever seen in 70 years! I can't imagine that such antique/obsolete/unscientific trash would be used in the US -- or cited in Merlot. The ONLY modern treatment of entropy is that which is written by Stephen Lower -- and cited here.

Technical Remarks:

NO chemistry text in the US has ANY such trash -- "entropy as a quantity of heat"!! "entropy flows...."!!! "Entropy is measured in Ct, Carnots"!!!!
Time spent reviewing site: 15 astonished minutes...

Avatar for Joel Rosenberg
6 years ago

Joel Rosenberg (Museum Educator)

This is one of the best approaches to introductory thermodynamics I've seen. The picturesque view of energy and entropy, and the analogical treatment of intensive quantities (temperature, pressure, velocity, electric potential, chemical potential) driving extensive flows (entropy, volume, momentum, charge, amount of substance) sets up a model that is very useful for beginners. Highly recommended.
Used in course