Physics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for active researchers, academics and students of physics. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Has anyone understood the Landauer's principle? What is the current status?

In specific, is there a theoretical derivation of the Landauer's Principle?(not the heuristic one based on Salizard's engine) How does one account for thermodynamic concepts applicable to situations involving measurement? What does it mean to reset the state of the apparatus why is free energy expended in the process?

share|cite|improve this question
The Wikipedia article linked in the question seems to be full of references... – genneth Nov 6 '12 at 22:59
I looked into some of them, They only have a heuristic understanding. I was hoping there was a more complete explanation. – Prathyush Nov 6 '12 at 23:33
Can you edit the question to be more specific? I (and probably many others) understand the principle very well, but rather than try to write an encyclopaedic answer it would be better to know exactly which aspects of it you'd like to understand better. – Nathaniel Nov 6 '12 at 23:53
@nathaniel updated the question – Prathyush Nov 7 '12 at 0:13
It's Szilard's engine not Salizard for anyone wanting to look up the heuristic derivation. – Reid Erdwien Feb 22 '14 at 21:18

See It gives a derivation of Landauer's Principle from the two postulates of the Second Law of Thermodynamics, and shows how Landauer's Principle follows from the second postulate.

share|cite|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.