# Which has lower entropy me or my atoms?

Lets say I’m bored one day and decide to take myself apart right down to the atomic level. I separate out all the different elements and put them in plastic bags arranged in alphabetical order. Which has lower entropy, me fully assembled, or the atoms I’m made from sorted out? The definition of entropy I am using is, “The amount of disorder in a system”.

Essentially, taking all of the atoms apart takes energy. You’re fighting their chemical, magnetic, and gravitational bonds to pull them apart and store them separately. Since we’re discounting all of the energy we used to take them apart, theoretically we could harness an equal amount of energy putting the atoms back together to look like you.

So the amounts of energy that can be gained from the two options are:

1. However much energy there is in you
2. However much energy there is in you, plus enough energy to take you apart

Where there’s more energy, there’s less entropy, so all of your atoms taken apart has lower entropy.

By putting all of your atoms into individual bags you are sharply reducing the number of possible configurations those atoms could arrange themselves in (which is how we statistically measure entropy.) In your body, those atoms are combined into compounds and flying around with a lot more room to maneuver, crash into other molecules, etc.

As stated, achieving that kind of separation is going to require enormous energy (although, whether it’s more energy than it would take to construct YOU is more questionable).

Just by itself, though, the entropy reduction in electrolyzing your body’s water into seperate bags of oxygen and hydrogen, by itself, will probably tip the balance to you.

Congratulations, you big seething ball of disorder, you!

Separating the water in your body produces two gases. Gases are very high entropy because you have a large number of independent small molecules. The same goes for Nitrogen. Carbon is a solid, so it is relatively low entropy. Phosphorous will depend on the phase, but they are solids, though I suspect they are not very crystalline unless you work at it. Calcium is a solid, so it’s low entropy there.

I’m going to have to disagree with the above posters simply because most of the body will be converted to gases that have a very high entropy.