A important property of all systems in thermodynamics and statistical mechanics. Entropy characterizes the degree to which the energy of the system is *not* available to do useful work

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What was the entropy of the universe at the time of the Big Bang?

(I asked this question in Philosophy.SE; but I was advised to direct it here, despite it is, in my opinion, somewhat too speculative for physics.SE). High entropy generally means high disorder; and ...
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Will Ice Cubes Form Quicker when Made from Hot Water or Cold Water? [duplicate]

When you put water in the freezer you can make Ice Cubes. But does the time taken for these Ice Cubes to form decrease or increase when the water which is used is hotter or colder?
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The initial presumed temperature of the universe is derived from data?

When people mention the BBT (*) they assume that it is hot. As late as 1988 it was scientifically proposed a cold BB model (WP) The initial presumed temperature of the universe is derived from ...
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How does the formation 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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Light Polarizer and the Second Law of Thermodynamics

I have stumped myself with a thought experiment of my own devising. Suppose I take a beam of wholly depolarised, but otherwise plane wave light. Its von Neumann entropy per photon is $\log(2)$ nats ...
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Does entropy have a physical meaning?

Entropy is incredibly useful as a mathematical tool. But what does it actually mean? I understand that the Boltzmann entropy is defined by: $$S=k\ln{\Omega}$$ With $\Omega$ being the multiplicity ...
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Do the number of possible microstates increase as temperature decreases?

Entropy change, $\Delta{S}$, can be found from the $\frac{1}{T} - Q$ graph. When the temperature doesn't change during the dispersal of heat energy in the system, the area under the graph is more, ...
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First law of thermodynamics [closed]

In the first law of thermodynamics, we learned that $W$ and $Q$ are path-dependent quantities, but how are $Q$ and $W$ defined? I mean $W = \int_{\gamma} p(s) ds$ would be one possibility, where ...
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Exorcism of Maxwell's Demon

I am possessed! Yes, with the thinking that if there is actually a Maxwell's Demon, then it would open the negligible weighted door which would ultimately make the second law invalid. But really can ...
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Can ice have a higher entropy than water?

I've leant that entropy is a state of randomness, and that solids have a more structured form, therefore having less entropy. However, I saw a YouTube comment stating the following: a liquid NOT ...
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Why Does Air Hold More Water When the Air is Warmer?

I know that when the temperature of the air rises, the maximum amount of Water it can hold before the water condenses to water droplets increases. But why is this - has it got something to do with ...
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Isentropic efficiency of gas expansion process

let a compressed gas expand. If the process is isentropic, the relationship between its temperature before expansion, and its temperature after expansion is related to its heat capacity ratio. The ...
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Probability polytope and entropy

Say I have a trit, for which all possible distributions are described by the positive surface of the diamond polytope (the surface being an equilateral triangle). The centre of this triangle is the ...
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Is there any proof for the 2nd law of thermodynamics?

Are there any analytical proofs for the 2nd law of thermodynamics? Or is it based entirely on empirical evidence?
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Residual Entropy - Third Law

I've been told that many systems possess some residual entropy at absolute zero. This would seem to disagree with the 3rd Law of Thermodynamics? How can this be explained physically speaking? I am ...
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No Hair systems and black hole entropy

To my understanding, a black hole is a no hair system. So it can be described just by its mass, spin and charge. In other words it does not differentiate where its mass comes from, so it could be made ...
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Entropy change in irreversible heat flow

For an irreversible heat flow from an object $A$ at temperature $T_A$ and another object $B$ at temperature $T_B < T_A$ , I'd like to know how to evaluate the change in entropy using the following ...
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How did Planck use the concept of statistical entropy in trying to understand the meaning of his own law?

I was reading Introducing Quantum Theory: A graphic guide (by J.P.McEvoy & Oscar Zarate) and came across Planck's predicament of understanding his very own law that accurately explained the ...
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If entropy is increasing does it mean universe is non-deterministic?

I watched some video where they said entropy can be considered as information. They also stated that universe's entropy is always increasing... Now here comes the problem my IT mind can't understand: ...
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Physical Meaning Of $ dQ/T $ Regarding Clausius Inequality: Is it related to Energy Loss in form of heat or Something Else?

What is the physical meaning of term $ dQ/T $ in Clausius Inequality $ dQ/T \le dS $ ? Physically we can relate entropy to number of microstates of a system, which relates to number of possible ...
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Change in Shannon entropy of a quantum circuit of Hadamard gate and a loop

The following Q&A about reversible computing is available here. It has listed a number of practical scenarios where a reversible circuit can still be dissipating heat. Let's assume that none of ...
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What are the hypothetic cases when entropy of a closed system may decrease? [closed]

What are the hypothetical possibilities that entropy of a closed system may decrease? I would accept plausible but hypothetical setups. For instance, Non-trivial timeline topology (closed timelike ...
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Was the Universe's entropy equal to zero at the Big Bang? Is zero-entropy state unique?

It is postulated by many cosmologists that at the Big Bang time the universe was in an unusual low entropy state. Does this claim specifically mean that the entropy of the initial universe was zero? ...
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Deriving an Expression for Helmoltz free energy

Given the equations of states for an isolated system: $$E=\frac32 pV$$ $$p=aVT^4$$ I was asked to find the Helmoltz free energy per particle, $F=E-TS$, as a function of $T$ and $V$. I began with the ...
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Why is (von Neumann) entropy maximized for an ensemble in thermal equilibrium?

Consider a quantum system in thermal equilibrium with a heat bath. In determining the density operator of the system, the usual procedure is to maximize the von Neumann entropy subject to the ...
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Was the Big Bang actually cold?

As I understand, from watching the Discovery Channel, the total amount of energy in the universe is zero. As such, people like Hawking explain that the universe can be created out of nothing ...
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Integrating factor $1/T$ in 2nd Law of Thermodynamics

How would you prove that $1/T$ is the most suitable integrating factor to transform $\delta Q$ to an exact differential in the second law of thermodynamics: $$dS = \frac{\delta Q}{T}$$ Where $dS$ is ...
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Is entropy related to Poincare recurrence time?

One of the ideas involved in the concept of entropy is that nature tends from order to disorder in isolated systems. But we even know that Poincare recurrence time also is a particular time after ...
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second law of thermodynamics

I'm a high school rookie learning thermodynamics right now by myself. I got really confused that the second law of thermodynamics states that the entropy of the universe is always increasing. If the ...
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How can the microstates be measured with zero energy expenditure?

James P. Sethna. Statistical Mechanics. Exercise 5.2: What prevents a Maxwellian demon from using an atom in an unknown state to extract work? The demon must first measure which side of the ...
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Why do you want to maximise the entropy when deriving Boltzmann's distribution?

I am sure this has a simple answer, but I can't seem to get my head around in at the moment. I am going through the derivation of the Boltzmann distribution through maximising entropy through the ...
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The relationship between the two statistical mechanical definitions of entropy

It seems like similar questions have been asked here; hopefully my question is not a duplicate. I am reading my textbook on the statistical mechanical definitions of entropy, and I am very confused ...
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Death by entropy

An idea struck me as I was walking to class today. According to Wikipedia, entropy is defined as the number of specific ways in which a thermodynamic system may be arranged, commonly understood as a ...
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Why does the law of increasing entropy, a law arising from statistics of many particles, underpin modern physics?

As far as I interpret it, the law of ever increasing entropy states that "a system will always move towards the most disordered state, never in the other direction". Now, I understand why it would ...
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What is the connection between the non-reversibility of the decay of unstable nuclei (as Uranium, Plutonium) and the 2nd principle of thermodynamics?

The 2nd principle of the thermodynamics says that if a system (e.g. an ideal gas) is left undisturbed, its number of microscopic states only increases. This is a statement of irreversibility of the ...
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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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Entropy of ideal gas with finite volume

I know that the entropy of an ideal gas is given by the Sackur-Tetrode equation, but is there also a way to take into account that even the ideal gas will acquire some volume $v_0$? Or is it then just ...
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Comparison between entropy and internal energy

Why is entropy change a better way of determining a spontaneous process compared to the change in internal energy?
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Calculating the change in entropy in a melting process

I have a homework question that I'm completely stumped on and need help solving it. I have a $50\, \mathrm{g}$ ice cube at $-15\, \mathrm{C}$ that is in a container of $200\, \mathrm{g}$ of water at ...
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Second Law from Statistics

Hi all I hope you can help me with the statistical origins of the Second Law. I cannot find anything that mathematically proves that order from disorder is impossible only improbable Leading me to ...
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Modeling a list with a tunable degree of disorder/shuffling

Imagine we have a list of ordered numbers $L = (1, 2,\dots, N)$. I want to add an arbitrary amount of "disorder" to that list. For instance: Adding a little bit of disorder would permute a few ...
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Statistics of many body systems in pure states

My understanding of describing a system in thermal equilibrium is that we introduce an ideal thermal reservoir for convenience and then imagine that the system+reservoir samples all states of constant ...
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Entropy-A question. [closed]

If I have 100 coins then a macrostate is how many heads/tails I have, a micro state is the facing of each individual coin of the 100, but what then is a "configuration" in this example? It is a basic ...
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Why does $S = k_B \ln W$ not always apply?

I thought for a long time that the Boltzmann formula for entropy, $S = k_B \ln W$, was a universally true statement, or rather the definition of entropy from the perspective of statistical mechanics. ...
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Equation of state of a rubber band

I have the following question that I attached in png format. I have done part (a), but I am having difficulties in part (b) when I proceed according to the book. I have non zero tension at ...
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Entropy of this system

We have a system with two energy states $E_0$< $E_1=0$. We also know that state $E_0$ can only take at most $m$ particles. Curently, there are $n<m$ particles in $E_0$. Now, I am supposed to ...
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Why doesn't a Brownian ratchet provide free energy?

A Brownian ratchet is described here at Wikipedia. The "why it fails" section reads: Feynman demonstrated that if the entire device is at the same temperature, the ratchet will not rotate ...
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Imaginary time is to inverse temperature what imaginary entropy is to …?

The Wick-Rotation rotates imaginary time into inverse temperature (as can be seen from its "rotating" the Schrödinger equation into the heat equation). Now since entropy is temperature's conjugate, I ...
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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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Why can we say that $\bar{d}Q=TdS$?

When we introduce entropy we do this by saying that: $$\bar{d}Q=TdS.$$ Now I was wondering why this should be true? I know that by looking at a Carnot cycle, we do get this relation for reversible ...