The eccentric SpaceX founder left many people wondering aloud about “Carnot efficiency.”
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March 9, 2021 3 min read
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Elon Musk is no stranger to social media. The 49-year-old business magnate, who has nearly 49 million followers on Twitter, shares almost everything that comes to mind, from the latest Tesla updates to random musings.
One recent tweet, however, has particularly stumped followers. On Monday, the SpaceX and Tesla CEO took to the social media platform to simply ask, “Carnot efficiency of the Universe?” — a question that, as of this writing, has been retweeted more than 5,000 times and generated in excess of 110,000 likes.
Carnot efficiency of the Universe?
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 8, 2021
The tweet has also garnered approximately 6,000 responses, some from users who tried to make sense of Musk’s inquiry.
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“Elon I have two very important questions,” one person asked. “1. What is Carnot? 2. Does Carnot have anything to with #dogecoin?”
“I carnot understand what you’re saying,” another joked.
At least one person, nevertheless, attempted to provide some context behind Musk’s tweet by explaining what the Carnot efficiency actually is.
“For those wondering, the Carnot Efficiency is the theoretical maximum efficiency one can get when the heat engine is operating between being too hot and being too cold,” the user tweeted.
In other words, the Carnot efficiency describes the optimal amount of heat that can turn into useful work when a heat engine runs in between two temperatures.
Some additional Twitter users who seemed to understand the concept offered answers to Musk’s question.
“Pretty darn efficient actually,” one person hypothesized. “The Big Bang had a temperature estimated at 1,000 trillion degrees C, and the universe sits at 2.73 K at a given time. So pretty much, Carnot efficiency is 0.99.”
“Big Bang -> 1-(T2/T1) -> T1 was infinite,” a second suggested. “But then again, the enclosed volume was infinitesimally small. And space expands. The entropy and temperature has been decreasing ever since. Cannot imagine Carnot being valid on the universe’s scale. (The Big Crunch scenario will differ).”
Despite the influx of theories, one woman appeared to accurately capture most peoples’ sentiments when she replied, “This is beyond science.”