# Tagged Questions

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### “Violation” of the Second Law

I can't reconcile some facts about entropy and irreversibility. This depresses me, because I feel I can't quite grasp the importance of entropy. I will illustrate my problems with an example given by ...
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### Can you choose the variables of a state function?

I'm confused. I was first introduced to entropy as a state function of internal energy and volume $$S(U,V) \Rightarrow dS = C_v\frac{\mathrm{d}T}{T} - p\frac{\mathrm{d}V}{T}$$ wich is the ...
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### Helmholtz free energy from a relation for entropy

The Legendre transformation defines the helmholtz free energy (at least according to my lectures) as: $F(T,V,N)=E-TS$ It also says to start with $E(S,V,N)$ and $T=\frac{\partial{E}}{\partial{S}}$ ...
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### Difference between heat capacity and entropy?

Heat capacity $C$ of an object is the proportionality constant between the heat $Q$ that the object absorbs or loses & the resulting temperature change $\delta T$ of the object. Entropy change is ...
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### Definition of entropy in nonequilibrium states

Thermodynamical definition of entropy $$S(p)=-\int p\ln p~dx$$ is defined only on equilibrium system. But why can't we use it for non-equilibrium system? Is there a well-accepted definition for it?
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### Thermodynamics of scattering theory

I have a couple of conceptual questions regarding the thermodynamics of scattering. Any partial answer or argument will be appreciated. For the sake of discussion, consider the scattering of ...
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### Is there a minimum energy content of information, other than 0 Joules?

Lets say I want to send the bit string 010110 to someone. Is there a theoretical lower bound on the energy needed to do this?
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### Is the second law of Thermodynamics an immense tautology?

Let's imagine for a second a system that is changing constantly from one microstate to another one. It could be a given volume of a gas with its atoms moving and bouncing around, or a deck of cards ...
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### Axioms behind entropy!

The concept of entropy is very ubiquitous, we learn about its uses starting from Information Theory (Shannon entropy) up to its basic definition in statistical mechanics in terms of number of ...
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### Gravity and the Second Law of Thermodynamics [duplicate]

I was wondering about the hypothetical - and apparently improbable - heat death of the Universe when I stumbled upon this seeming contradiction. A certain volume of space with a uniform distribution ...
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### Who invented the perfume bottle thought experiment?

A common thought experiment used to explain the second law of thermodynamics, the "arrow of time", etc. is perfume escaping from an opened perfume bottle; the perfume is likely to diffuse into the ...
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### Thermodynamics for Dummies: Entropy and temperature

I do not study physics and I have never had a course in thermodynamics. I have no idea what it is about, but I am currently taking a course where we had something about entropy. Would be great if ...
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### Is Fourier's law of conduction a consequence of the second principle?

In classical thermodynamics courses, entropy is often motivated by the need to justify that heat flows from high temperatures zones to lower temperatures zones: this is seen as a consequence of ...
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### Entropy and dark matter structure

Inspired by this question. I believe that the usual explanation that preserves the second law of thermodynamics as an astrophysical gas cloud collapses under gravity is that the gas must heat and ...
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### Are galaxies, stars, planets, and ultimately life in violation of the second law of thermodynamics? [duplicate]

How can we think about entropy in these situations? To my knowledge all of these structures are born out of gravitational interaction. However, it would seem that the formation of these more organized ...
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### What is entropy really?

On this site, change in entropy is defined as the amount of energy dispersed divided by the absolute temperature. But I want to know: What is the definition of entropy? Here, entropy is defined as ...
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### What is entropy of the universe? [duplicate]

What is entropy of the universe? What is the change in entropy of our universe? Is this change increases or decreases? If the entropy of universe keeps on increasing then what are the consequences? Is ...
101 views

### How can heat turn into light

I am confused about how hot surfaces can radiate light to their surroundings. When I shine a light on a surface the light turns to heat spontaneously, and when I leave that hot surface it radiates ...
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### Is the second law of thermodynamics a real law? [duplicate]

Everytime I ask people why the second law of thermodynamics is true, they say because the probability of entropy increasing is very large. This for some reason doesn't seem right for me. Just because ...
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### Why is Entropy's Definition Useful?

I have somewhat of an understanding for other physical quantities, but as far as entropy goes I only know it to be "disorder". Why is the change in entropy formula an appropriate/useful definition, ...
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### Confusion on entropy in the universe [closed]

I was researching about the heat-death of the universe, and I was wondering if my understanding of it so far is factual to the theory? However, the 3rd Law of Thermodynamics prevents the universeâ€™s ...
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### Mathematical proof of the Second Law of Thermodynamics [duplicate]

Is there some book or paper that formalizes statistical mechanics, like some people have done with relativity, and proves the second law of thermodynamics from more foundational axioms?
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### Does the entropy of an adiabatically isolated system stays the same after we decrease/increase the pressure?

Even if the system is isolated and there is no heat exchange with surroundings, shouldn't the decrease/increase of pressure result in increase/decrease of entropy? Does this property of an ...
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### Problems with units of entropy in statistical thermodynamics

The statistical thermodynamics definition of entropy: $S = kN \ln (W)$ troubles me a lot with the problem of dimenstions. where $S$ is entropy; $k$, the Boltzmann constant; $N$ the number of particles ...
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### Existence of negative temperatures and the definition of entropy

How negative temperatures can be possible has been treated on StackExchange before (several times in fact), but in light of some recent academic discussion, most of these answers seem to be possibly ...
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Combining the first and second law of thermodynamics we can get the following equation $$TdS=dU-P_{ext}dV$$ First question: Is this equation applicable for irreversible processes such that that ...
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### Relativity of simultaneity and the second law of thermodynamics? [closed]

Has the connection been noted between these two? I have been studying special relativity and in learning Minkowski diagrams I have noticed that as v approaches c, the relativity of simultaneity is so ...
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### Question on entropy

All of my textbooks mention, that entropy-change of all spontaneous physical, and chemical processes is positive, and that such processes need another condition to fulfill- decrease in the net ...
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### Why can the entropy of an isolated system increase?

From the second law of thermodynamics: The second law of thermodynamics states that the entropy of an isolated system never decreases, because isolated systems always evolve toward ...
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### Thermodynamics of binary symmetric channels

I am reading this very interesting paper: http://m.iopscience.iop.org/1751-8121/41/40/402002/pdf/1751-8121_41_40_402002.pdf about thermodynamics of channels in information theory. More generally, ...
153 views

### How does the evolution of a solar system not break the second law of thermodynamics?

Please forgive: I am a layman when it comes to physics and cosmology, and have tried finding an answer to this that I can understand, with no luck. As I understand it, the solar system evolved from a ...
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### Entropy is constant. How to express this equation in terms of pressure and density?

In hydrodynamics of an ideal, non-compressive flow we use 5 variables: pressure $p$, density $\rho$ and velocity field $\mathbf{v}$. So we need 5 equations. Landau's "Hydrodynamics" states that the ...
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### Explicit form of the entropy production in hydrodynamics

I'm trying to understand how hydrodynamics arise from a precise, mathematical formulation of thermodynamics, learning mostly from Landau's "Hydrodynamics". So Landau starts from formulating the ...
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### Is there a relation between (non-) existence of magnetic monopoles and thermodynamics?

This question follows on previous work on connections between (other) areas of physics and thermodynamics as in here, here and even here. P. Dirac (an electrical engineer initially) was one of the ...
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### Is quantum uncertainty principle related to thermodynamics?

Would like to ask a question, but first i would like to say Hello Everybody in a way that plays the system, since some geniouses decided that one should not be able to say hello in a question. The ...
181 views

### Principle of Caratheodory and The Second Law of Thermodynamics

Background Constantin CarathÃ©odory formulated thermodynamics on a purely mathematical axiomatic foundation. His statement of the second law is known as the Principle of CarathÃ©odory, which may be ...
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### The entropy of the universe in an irreversible cycle [closed]

Suppose we have an ideal gas performing an irreversible cycle composed by: an isothermal transformation at $T_{1}$; an isobaric transformation at $P_{A}$; an isothermal transformation at $T_{2}$; an ...
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### Homemade salad dressing separates into layers after it sits for a while. Why doesn't this violate the 2nd law of thermodynamics?

The oil, vinegar and other liquids in homemade salad dressing separate into layers after sitting for a while, making the mixture become more organized as time evolves. Why doesn't this violate the ...
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### Entropy $dQ=TdS$ and Work $dW = -pdV$ conditions?

What are the conditions in order for the equations: Entropy $dQ = TdS$ and Work $dW = -p dV$ to work? I think for $dQ = T dS$, it must be a reversible process? But for $dW = -p dV$, shouldn't it ...
2k views

### Where does deleted information go?

I've heard that, in classical and quantum mechanics, the law of conservation of information holds. I always wonder where my deleted files and folders have gone on my computer. It must be somewhere I ...
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### Information or Matter or Energy

Which one is the most fundamental of the universe? What it is made of? Physicists are searching for unique and fundamental form. The question is , information is more fundamental than energy ? ...
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### consequences of universe in which second law of thermodynamics does not hold [closed]

What would happen if the second law of thermodynamics was not there for governing in every day processes. Can a universe exist and evolve if the second law of thermodynamics does not exist in first ...
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### Thermodynamic entropy vs. quantum mechanical entropy

Is there a fundamental difference in the definition of entropy when considering the classical thermodynamic picture vs. the quantum mechanical picture, or are they both fundamentally equivalent?
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### What precisely does the 2nd law of thermo state, considering that entropy depends on how we define macrostate?

Boltzmann's definition of entropy is $\sigma = \log \Omega$, where $\Omega$ is the number of microstates consistent with a given macrostate. If I understand correctly, this means that it only makes ...
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### Free Energy, Avialable Work in a reversible process

I was reading the Wikipedia page on Helmoltz Free Energy, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helmholtz_free_energy, and run across a point I cannot unravel. The discussion goes as follows, I reproduce it ...
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### Why is adiabatic process isentropic?

I have read that adiabatic process is isentropic because there is no heat exchange in an adiabatic process and thus no change in entropy. But my question is - Even in adiabatic process, work can be ...
202 views

### Why aren't we surrounded by Black holes?

The Bekenstein bound is a limit to the amount of entropy a thermodynamical system can have. The bound is given by the following expression: S \leq \frac{2 \pi k R E}{\hbar c} ...
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### Could CP violation be exploited to violate the second law?

I don't understand well CP-violation, but since it introduces a microscopic irreversible process, couldn't it be somehow exploited to decrease entropy? For instance, if we could somehow use it to bias ...
Phase space theory suggests that the largest course-graining region, $p$, in a phase space, $P$, is the point in the phase space with the highest entropy. As such, it is in thermal equilibrium with ...
In my textbook there is written $$\Delta S = \int_R \frac{\delta Q}{T}$$ where the $R$ means calculated along a reversible transformation. The variation of entropy only depends upon the ...