Wikipedia fail #208 – on the origins of enthalpy

Admit it, we all have a love-hate relationship with Wikipedia, as we do with anything that is both useful and frustrating, which seems to include just about anything related to the internet.

Here is yet another instance where the weaknesses of Wikipedia’s crowd-sourcing comes to the fore: enthalpy. Under the subheading ‘Origins’, we first encounter two sentences explaining the Greek roots of the word, when one sentence would have been sufficient. Next, we read three sentences explaining that the origins of the concept are often misattributed Clapeyron and Clausius. Five sentences later, in the second paragraph, we finally read something about the origin of the concept of enthalpy (but the emphasis still inappropriately remains on the origin of the word and not the concept).

Wikipedia’s biggest weakness is not inaccuracy, but lack of a filter and a proper sense of emphasis, which is why the articles often read like they’ve been written by high school students. Of course that doesn’t stop me from reading Wikipedia 20 times a day.

Author: Mike White

Genomes, Books, and Science Fiction

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