I see that many papers written on fundamentals of thermodynamics(theory) nowadays are by some old professors somewhere(there may be exceptions). Most active young faculty don't seem to be seriously interested in reinterpreting thermodynamics like nonequlibrium thermodynamics i.e. continuing the work of Ilya Prigogine etc. So is this worth while for a graduate student starting his research career to work in this area? Any open problems a fresh graduate student can aim to solve theoretically?
closed as too broad by Emilio Pisanty, Waffle's Crazy Peanut, Jim, David Z♦ Oct 21 '13 at 16:50
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If you're interested in the foundations of thermodynamics on the quantum level then there is plenty of work being done, including by young 'uns. Actually it's pretty fashionable, in the UK quantum physics community at least. If you like the sound of this then you could look up, for example, the work of Sandu Popescu, Jonathan Oppenheim, David Jennings, Janet Anders, Vlatko Vedral, Robert Spekkens and co-workers. Obviously that list of names is heavily biased by my own limited knowledge and preference.