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Frank L. Lambert

For the French Inventor, see Frank Lambert (inventor)

Frank L. Lambert (born July 10, 1918, Minneapolis, Minnesota) is a Professor Emeritus of Chemistry at Occidental College, Los Angeles. He is known for his advocacy of changing the definition of thermodynamic entropy as “disorder” from US general chemistry texts and its replacement by viewing entropy as a measure of energy dispersal.[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8]

Additional recommended knowledge

Teaching career

Lambert graduated with honors from Harvard University with an AB, and received his doctorate (PhD) from the University of Chicago. After serving in the military in WWII and working briefly in industrial research and development, Lambert joined the faculty of Occidental College[9], teaching from 1948-1981[10].

Lambert's primary concern was teaching, with academic research functioning as a teaching aide, and in his publications he advocated the abandonment of the standard lecture system, opting instead for a system more akin to a partnership with his students. For many years he taught a course for non-science majors, known as "Enfolding Entropy". Additionally, his research in the synthesis and polarography of organic halogen compounds was designed for undergraduate collaboration and all but one of his papers were published with student co-authors.[9]

After retiring from teaching in 1981, Lambert as a Professor emeritus, became the scientific advisor to the J. Paul Getty Museum, remaining aboard as a consultant when the Getty Conservation Institute was established. [9]

In 1999, Occidental College recognised Lambert, presenting him with the Honorary Alumni Seal Award for Faculty Emeriti, an award for Faculty Emeriti/ae designed to recognize the significant contributions to the College by a retired faculty member.[11]

Technical writings

Known for his work on the energy dispersal model of entropy, Lambert's numerous works are published on a number of different websites.[12] [13]

Consist of copyrighted articles from the American Chemical Society's Journal of Chemical Education[14] and the Chemical Educator, these websites deal with a modern view of entropy change: the dispersal of energy in a process (at a specific temperature). Considerable supplementary material concerning entropy and teaching it to beginners is also included. His work has been discussed in a number of chemistry textbooks, and has been used in the preparation of a number of such textbooks.

These websites are linked to by scores of high schools and colleges, and his writings are recommended reading in science curricula at such schools as Colorado College, Bryn Mawr College, University of Pennsylvania, Michigan State University, Trinity College, Perth, and the University of Oklahoma.


  1. ^ Frank Lambert - Curriculum Vitae
  2. ^ Lambert, Frank L., Shuffled Cards, Messy Desks, and Disorderly Dorm Rooms – Examples of Entropy Increase? Nonsense! Journal of Chemical Education, 1999, 76, 1385-1387. (Online)
  3. ^ Lambert, Frank L., Disorder – A Cracked Crutch for Supporting Entropy Discussions, Journal of Chemical Education, 2002, 79, 187-192. (Online)
  4. ^ Although all U.S. chemistry texts for first-year university classes prior to 1999 had some sort of illustration of a disorderly room, or shuffled cards, or a mixture of red and green marbles as depictions of “increased entropy”, in 2007 no major text used such illustrations.
  5. ^ Lambert, Frank L., “Entropy Is Simple, Qualitatively” Journal of Chemical Education, 2002, 79, 1241-1246. (Online)
  6. ^ Kozliak, Evguenii I, Lambert, Frank L., “Order-to-Disorder” for Entropy Change? Consider the Numbers!” The Chemical Educator, 2005, 10, 24-25. (Online)
  7. ^ Lambert, Frank L., Configurational Entropy Revisited Journal of Chemical Education, 2007, 84, 1548-1550. (Online)
  8. ^ In 1999 all U.S. general chemistry texts described entropy as disorder. One gave 89 examples of order to disorder for entropy increase and another text 65. By 2007, 16 first-year textbooks – including those just mentioned – and two physical chemistry texts had adopted the spontaneous dispersal of molecular motional energy in space or in occupancy of an increased number of accessible microstates as their definition of entropy increase. The texts are identified here at April 2007, March 2006 and December 2005.
  9. ^ a b c Curriculum Vitae
  10. ^ Occidental College
  11. ^ Past Award Recipients
  12. ^
  13. ^ 2nd Law
  14. ^ [1]
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Frank_L._Lambert". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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