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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How to choose the right units to compute the phase space volume in classical statistical mechanics?

Without the natural unit $\hbar$, why doesn't it seem to be a problem for Statistical Physics to define $$S=k_B\ log(\Omega)\ ?$$ If $\Omega$ is given in one unit system and I switch to other units ...
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215 views

Maxwell's Demon bug, trapdoor space and time

What about the size of the door (space) and how long has it to be opened (time)? I think Maxwell's demon would have a problem with space, if the door is too wide (more than one particle size), then ...
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274 views

Simple question about a gas in a box with a moving wall

David Albert is a philosopher of Science at Columbia. His book "Time and Chance" includes this example (p 36). A gas is confined on one side of a box with a removable wall. "Draw the wall out, ...
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Entropy of a mass arrangement around the earth

An mind experiment, taking the entire Earth as an isolated system Then this is the initial state: N masses are distributed around the earth, at different height. (for example we can use a single ...
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281 views

How does lifting an object effect its entropy

I have figured out that: When photons leak out from a container, the entropy of the photon collection increases, because each photon has a different escape time. Photons that have leaked out from a ...
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Can heat be extracted and concentrated? [closed]

If one could devise an answer to this question, electricity would be free for everyones disposal. (seems like a good dream but in reality free energy will be this worlds downfall)
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Do all closed systems, only considering kinematic/mechanical principles, exhibit time reversal symmetry?

It makes a lot of sense to me to imagine a cannonball flying through space as not so much experiencing a macroscopic non-conservative drag force, but as pushing a bunch of air molecules and giving ...
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257 views

Renyi entropy in physical systems

We know that the Shannon entropy $H(P)=- k_{\mathrm{B}}\sum_i p_i \ln p_i$ is mostly the entropy of the thermodynamic systems. Does the Renyi measure $H_{\alpha}(P)=\frac{1}{1-\alpha}\log \sum ...
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Why was the universe in a extraordinarily low-entropy state right after the big bang?

Let me start by saying that I have no scientific background whatsoever. I am very interested in science though and I'm currently enjoying Brian Greene's The Fabric of the Cosmos. I'm at chapter 7 and ...
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How to understand temperatures of different degrees of freedom?

So I'm reading this book, where after the preface and before the models there is a section called General Notions and Essential Quantities, which introduce some things I don't understand. They regard ...
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65 views

Renyi fractal dimension $D_q$ for non-trivial $q$

For a probability distribution $P$, Renyi fractal dimension is defined as $$D_q = \lim_{\epsilon\rightarrow 0} \frac{R_q(P_\epsilon)}{\log(1/\epsilon)},$$ where $R_q$ is Renyi entropy of order $q$ ...
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295 views

Defining Orderly/Chaotic states in terms of entropy?

I'm trying to properly understand the meaning of entropy, and how the universe is moving from an orderly state to a chaotic one. If a glass of wine (for example) only has meaning to a human, what ...
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278 views

What is the current science on entropic gravity?

In the past couple of years there has been some buzz about 'entropic gravity', including here on stackexchange in Jan 2011. Many say that there is no way that gravity can be entropic, while others ...
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Second law of thermodynamics and a bunch of magnets

Say I put a bunch of powerful square magnets on a nearly frictionless table in a disordered fashion. The second law of thermodynamics states that the system shall spontaneously get more disordered, ...
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142 views

Geometric entropy vs entanglement entropy (dependent on curvature coupling parameter)

I have a quick question. In hep-th/9506066, Larsen and Wilczek calculated the geometric entropy (which I believe is just another name for entanglement entropy) for a non-minimally coupled scalar field ...
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396 views

How are possible microstates discerned in Gibb's entropy formula?

On the entry of Gibb's entropy formula on Wikipedia, the following definition is given: "The macroscopic state of the system is defined by a distribution on the microstates that are accessible to a ...
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Motivation for maximum Renyi/Tsallis entropy

The Conditional limit theorem of Van Campenhout and Cover gives a physical reason for maximizing (Shannon) entropy. Nowadays, in statistical mechanics, people talk about maximum Renyi/Tsallis entropy ...
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430 views

Is this a known entropy formula?

While playing around with a variant of the one-dimensional Ising model with periodic boundary conditions I came up with a formula, let's call it $F$, whose form looks suspiciously like an entropy ...
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Does the heat death of the universe really imply a maximum entropy state *all* of the time? Or most of the time?

Statistically speaking, you're going to still encounter deviations from equilibrium, even though the expected value is equilibrium. But these rare deviations from equilibrium - which are inevitable - ...
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Entropy of radiation emitted into space

In several papers I see something equivalent to the following expression for the entropy of radiation given by an astronomical object such as the Sun (assuming the object can be approximated as a ...
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626 views

An entropy of the Wigner function

Is there an entropy that one can use for the Wigner quasi-probability distribution? (In the sense of a phase-space probability distribution, not - just von Neumann entropy.) One cannot simply use ...
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139 views

Use of escort distribution in nonextensive stat. mech

In some of the articles which I read recently, I happen to see the following statement. In Nonextensive statistical physics, it is inappropriate to use the original distribution $P=(p_i)$ ...
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Nonextensive statistical mechanics

I know that the Tsallis($S_q$) entropy is called nonextensive information measure in the sense that if $P$ and $Q$ are two probability distributions then $S_q(P\times ...
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Does entropy measure extractable work?

Entropy has two definitions, which come from two different branches of science: thermodynamics and information theory. Yet, they both are thought to agree. Is it true? Entropy, as seen from ...
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How do you prove $S=-\sum p\ln p$?

How does one prove the formula for entropy $S=-\sum p\ln p$? Obviously systems on the microscopic level are fully determined by the microscopic equations of motion. So if you want to introduce a law ...
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435 views

Why is the maximum work achieved in reversible processes?

Let us consider an ideal gas. Let it be present initially in a state $(p_1,v_1,t_1)$. Now let it be driven to another state $(p_2,v_2,t_2)$. Why is it so that during this process the maximum work can ...
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How can it be that the beginning universe had a high temperature and a low entropy at the same time?

The Big Bang theory assumes that our universe started from a very/infinitely dense and extremely/infinitely hot state. But on the other side, it is often claimed that our universe must have been ...
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The entropic cost of tying knots in polymers

Imagine I take a polymer like polyethylene, of length $L$ with some number of Kuhn lengths $N$, and I tie into into a trefoil knot. What is the difference in entropy between this knotted polymer and ...
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Entropy of two expanding and mixing ideal gases

I am currently stuck with the following problem: ...
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371 views

Restrictions on defining microstates (Entropy)

If we have an isolated system $Sb$ with thermodynamic entropy $Eb=X$ (and growing by the 2nd law of thermodynamics), we could define an abstract system $Sa$ (containing the system $Sb$) but define ...
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Why it is said that Universe is an isolated system?

I have read in many places "Entropy of an isolated systems never decreases" And as a corollary: "As Universe is an isolated system(I) then its entropy is constantly increasing(II)" I) ...
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How is thermodynamic entropy defined? What is its relationship to information entropy?

I read that thermodynamic entropy is a measure of the number of microenergy states. What is the derivation for $S=k\log N$, where $k$ is Boltzmann constant, $N$ number of microenergy states. How is ...
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289 views

Relation between classical and quantum information

It is known that for a classical system the amount of information needed to store its state is the same as the amount of information that can be stored in that system. This amount is equal to ...
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If 100% of the energy from the sun is reflected back into space

100% of the energy from the sun is reflected back into space, it's just shifted from a low-entropy state to a high-entropy state, and from a high frequency (ultraviolet) to a low frequency (infrared). ...
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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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Entropy and how it applies to everyday activities like eating food

So I was eating a plate of food one day and thought of entropy. As I understand the definition of entropy, it is the logarithm of the number of arrangements or states the object in question can be in, ...
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Can the entropy of a subsystem exceed the maximum entropy of the system in quantum mechanics?

Quantum mechanics has a peculiar feature, entanglement entropy, allowing the total entropy of a system to be less than the sum of the entropies of the individual subsystems comprising it. Can the ...
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569 views

Why is there an absolute entropy?

Why is there an absolute entropy? Given any non-discrete probability distribution, we don't really have an absolute entropy because the entropy depends on the parametrization of the distribution ...
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Energy of unmixing

Mixing of two different fluids is associated with an increase of entropy. Conversely, separation of two gases must be associated with a decrease of the entropy of the two fluids. Is there a minimum ...
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Do magnets lose their magnetism?

I recently bought some buckyballs, considered to be the world's best selling desk toy. Essentially, they are little, spherical magnets that can form interesting shapes when a bunch of them are used ...
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Entropy of an empty universe

After watching the first episode of wonders of the solar system, one question came up which is not explained. Bryan Cox says that ultimately the universe will be devoid of matter, so not even a ...
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Explaining Arrow of Time with Entropy

WARNING: Possibly a naive post. Hi guys. I just watched on BBC, [some show] yesterday (sunday) where the host talked about Arrow of Time, where by 2nd law of thermodynamics states that "nature" is ...
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365 views

The full entropy quote

What is the full text (and possibly the source) of the summary of the 3 laws of thermodynamics that goes something along the lines of "Can't break even, can't win and can't even stop playing the ...
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269 views

How to vizualize a heat pump microscopically?

Hey guys, while learning thermodynamics i wondered how a the principle of a heat pump would look at a microscopic level, not on a quantum mechanical level. I learned that when a hot and a less hot ...
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Can a single classical particle have any entropy?

recently I have had some exchanges with @Marek regarding entropy of a single classical particle. I always believed that to define entropy one must have some distribution. In Quantum theory, a single ...
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Does entropy apply to Newton's First Law or does “acted upon” always require an external factor?

First law: Every body remains in a state of rest or uniform motion (constant velocity) unless it is acted upon by an external unbalanced force. This means that in the absence of a non-zero net ...
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Why does the low entropy at the big bang require an explanation? (cosmological arrow of time)

I have read Sean Carrol's book. I have listened to Roger Penrose talk on "Before the Big Bang". Both are offering to explain the mystery of low entropy, highly ordered state, at the Big Bang. Since ...
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What is information?

We're all familiar with basic tenants such as "information cannot be transmitted faster than light" and ideas such as information conservation in scenarios like Hawking radiation (and in general, ...
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How bright can we make a sun jar?

A sun jar is an object that stores solar energy in a battery and then releases it during dark hours through a led. Assume: a $65cm^2$ solar panel a 12h/12h light/dark cycle insolation of ...
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What are the arguments towards the Life-and-Entropy relation?

I've heard it from a few people, and I've seen it popup here in the site a couple of times. There seems to be speculation (and studies?) towards this idea, and this is what I've picked up so far: ...