I've been reading some material by R. Kiehn, developing a topological approach to non-equilibrium thermodynamics through Cartan forms, where the fundamental claim is that irreversible processes are best usefully modeled by changes in topology of a state space and that many requirements classifications can be described topologically. What I've read so far seems reasonable (at least, the math looks correct). However, Kiehn seems to take his approach to be extremely universal, and has later books apparently detailing applications to cosmology and nuclear physics. While thermodynamics is general enough that this is semi-believable, it does sound like a 'crackpot' sort of claim to make, and almost any search on such a topological/Cartan form approach to thermodynamics comes up with Kiehn and essentially no one else. Does anyone know if the approach is legitimate and useful?

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    $\begingroup$ is not unheard that scientific ideas or specific original viewpoints sometimes are promoted by a single person. Usually a first pass over a text can bring to attention factual errors that might point to what you would call a 'crackpot', but if errors are not evident on a first read to someone at least aquainted with the subject matter, is not fair anymore to call it 'crackpottery'. $\endgroup$
    – lurscher
    Commented Jan 27, 2015 at 4:30
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    $\begingroup$ It might still be wrong, no doubt about that. But verifying that usually requires more in-depth analysis and more eyes over the ideas. There is no easy way to validate science, but what you are doing is exactly the right thing: find other opinions, raise attention to the subject. Who knows? maybe his/her ideas are valid, and they are simply poorly known by the community. That happens a lot $\endgroup$
    – lurscher
    Commented Jan 27, 2015 at 4:31


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