The statistical nature of the universe is shown by the second law of thermodynamics. The atoms and Molecules that make us up are not stars, planets, humans, orbacteria. The atoms in the universe are shuffled and rearranged all the time. The deck won't have any semblance of order by the end of the reshuffling The universe has a deck on the order of 10 82 atoms.

If you want to be more manageable, look at the 10 24 molecule in a cup of coffee If you drop a cube of sugar into a cup of coffee, the sugar molecule will spread themselves all over the coffee. Someone might release perfume in a room. The space will be filled by that perfume. This shows the concept of disorder. The most likely arrangement is of atoms. A deck of cards that is sorted according to the suits has a lower entropy than a deck that is not. The perfume can't rush back into the container without some external intervention.

The second law of thermodynamics states that energy moves around in nature. The study of energy is what physics is about. As far as I can see, energy continues to redistribut itself.

It is not always clear how the second law applies to new technology. A seemingly straightforward concept like temperature gets complicated. The average speed of the beads is what defines their room temperature. You can associate this temperature with how it feels to touch the bead. Naert believes that the glass beads bouncing around in his system are a different type of temperature than the speed of the molecule in question. It is not related to whether you will burn or cool your hand when touching it. To better understand what this type of temperature means, Naert plans to work with theorists.

Physicists have had to revisit the second law as they build smaller and smaller devices. They would like to know if the second law limits quantum engines in the same way as conventional engines.

Naert's personal motivation to build this machine was intellectual curiosity, but he thinks that studying the second law in macroscopic contexts could potentially lead to more efficient machines for harvesting energy from ocean waves. He sees his device as a way to teach. The idea from the 19th century is very close to this one. You can see everything because it is in centimeters. Naert has created a device that will confuse and educate us.