Gordon Van Wylen

Gordon John Van Wylen (born February 6, 1920)[1] is an American physicist and author of textbooks on thermodynamics. He was chair of the physics department at the University of Michigan from 1969 to 1972 and President of Hope College in Holland, Michigan, from 1972 to 1987. He was born in Grant, Michigan and turned 100 in February 2020.[2]

"Creator" commentEdit

He received recognition for mentioning "a Creator" in his summation of the second law of thermodynamics. “A final point to be made is that the second law of thermodynamics and the principle of increase in entropy have great philosophical implications. The question that arises is how did the universe get into the state of reduced entropy in the first place, since all natural processes known to us tend to increase entropy? ... The author has found that the second law tends to increase his conviction that there is a Creator who has the answer for the future destiny of man and the universe.”[3]


  • Fundamentals of Classical Thermodynamics. By Gordon J. Van Wylen and Richard Edwin Sonntag. New York: Wiley, 1973. [note 1][4]
  • Van Wylen, Gordon John (1 January 1959). Thermodynamics. Wiley.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)[note 2]


  1. ^ According to WorldCat, the book was published in 8 editions and is held in 932 libraries.
  2. ^ Worldcat shows it in 297 libraries. Various editions of these books have been translated into Chinese and Arabic.