If ever you needed an excuse to not tidy your bedroom, just keep in mind that by doing so, you are contributing to the heat death of the universe. Really.

According to the Second Law of Thermodynamics, entropy (disorder) always increases. In other words, things tend to get more disorganised and chaotic during reactions. For example, cutting down a tree into smaller chunks is increasing disorder.

But surely cleaning up a room is decreasing entropy? Well, entropy decreases in your room but, if you were to consider every reaction that took place during the clean up, you’d find that overall, entropy increased in the world.

How does this destroy the universe?

Consider what happens when things are so disordered, they can’t get any more chaotic- when entropy is at a maximum. For reactions to occur, entropy must increase; if entropy is at a max, it can’t increase any more and so no reactions can occur. This is called the Heat Death of the Universe.

Of course, the increases in entropy that occur when you clean up are so small that they’re negligible. Also, some people debate over the certainly of heat death. But the teacher who gave you 9 weeks of cleaning duty doesn’t need to know that…

Thanks for reading