I started to work at this book in a very emotional situation, and those strong feelings accompanied me during the time I dedicated to its writing since then.
Professor Bill Reynolds, whom I first met in 1994 as my mentor while pursuing a Masters degree at Stanford University, contacted me in June 2003 and told me of the new thermodynamics textbook he had started to write some time before. He mentioned that he had health problems. He then asked me if I wanted to visit him before the end of the year to talk about the book. I had been spending periods at Stanford working with him since I graduated there in 1995. As always, I enthusiastically accepted the invitation and arrived at Stanford in November of 2003. The moment I met Bill in his office I understood that something was not quite right.
After a very short preamble, he told me “You remember our plan to work together on a new thermo book and to add your material on properties of mixtures, energy systems, and the rest? Well, I would like you to pick up from where I am leaving this book and finish it, as I am going to die soon of a brain tumor.” I was shocked and immensely sad, and at the same time I felt honored and committed. Those last days I spent with him were extremely intense and moving. We only managed to exchange ideas about the book very briefly, as his health was rapidly deteriorating.
I will never forget the moment I parted from him. I was standing next to his bed in his home, holding his hand, with my eyes full of tears, in silence, while I was mentally thanking him for all he had done for my education. He was looking back at me, with tenderness. It was December 26th, 2003. Bill died on January 3rd, 2004.
I had become involved with this book earlier, during my Masters studies at Stanford. I was taking ME270-Engineering Thermodynamics, taught by Bill.
He was the most extraordinary lecturer, as anybody who has ever followed one of his classes can testify. Meanwhile, I was one of his research assistants, working on thermodynamic property models for multicomponent fluids.