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Joseph Henry Keenan

Joseph Henry Keenan (1900-1977) was an American thermodynamicist noted for his work in the calculation of steam tables, research in jet-rocket propulsion, and his work in furthering the development in the understanding of the laws of thermodynamics in the mid 20th century. His classic 1941 textbook Thermodynamics, which saw nine editions, served as a fundamental teaching tool in the various engineering curriculums during the 40s and 50s.[1] A major portion of Keenan’s career was devoted to the development of accurate tables of the properties of steam, which are vital to the electric power industry. In 1929, he was appointed the U.S. delegate to the First International Conference on the Properties of Steam; he served as delegate in all successive conferences on this subject until the eighth in 1974.[2]

In 1965, he published the classic textbook Principles of General Thermodynamics with George Hatsopoulos which was major turning point in thermodynamics since Gilbert N. Lewis and Merle Randall with their 1923 Thermodynamics textbook. Their now famous version of the second law of thermodynamics is:

When an isolated system performs a process after the removal of a series of internal constraints, it will reach a unique state of equilibrium: this state of equilibrium is independent of the order in which the constraints are removed.

This shows that the second law of thermodynamics can be stated in terms of the existence of stable equilibrium states.

In 2007, an International Thermodynamics Symposium called “meeting the entropy challenge” was organized in M.I.T. in Honor and Memory of Professor Joseph Henry Keenan.[3]

See also


  1. ^ Keenan, Joseph, H. (1941). Thermodynamics. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.. 
  2. ^ Henry Keenan (1900-1977) - Biography
  3. ^ Meeting the Entropy Challange
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Joseph_Henry_Keenan". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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