Physicists firmly believe that the differential equations of nature should be hyperbolic so as to exclude action at a distance; yet the equations of irreversible thermodynamics - those of Navier-Stokes and Fourier - are parabolic. This incompatibility between the expectation of physicists and the classical laws of thermodynamics has prompted the formulation of extended thermodynamics. After describing the motifs and early evolution of this new branch of irreversible thermodynamics, the authors apply the theory to mon-atomic gases, mixtures of gases, relativistic gases, and "gases" of phonons and photons. The discussion brings into perspective the various phenomena called second sound, such as heat propagation, propagation of shear stress and concentration, and the second sound in liquid helium. The formal mathematical structure of extended thermodynamics is exposed and the theory is shown to be fully compatible with the kinetic theory of gases. The study closes with the testing of extended thermodynamics through the exploitation of its predictions for measurements of light scattering and sound propagation.
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