This book aims at guiding the reader with continuity from the elements of classical equilibrium thermodynamics to the formal problems of global non equilibrium thermodynamics necessary to describe an “active system” such is a thermodynamic ecosystem. To this purpose, the brief review of equilibrium thermodynamics emphasizes the concepts of disequilibrium, Carnot cycles and less efficient cycles, and Gibbs availability as the distance from equilibrium. In this way the reader is taken by hand to accept the concept of Gibbs efficiency of the ecosystem Earth as a property given to us by the cosmological evolution. The final chapters are devoted to the optimal control theory of global non-equilibrium systems. An elementary theory of zero energy thermodynamic automata is presented. A thermodynamic automation with four temperatures and three controls is discussed in detail.
"The book fills a significant gap in the area of ecology and physics and is recommended for upper-division undergraduate students in ecology-related fields." D A Johnson, Spring Arbor College