The study of large systems through coarse graining microscopic descriptions, providing a more detailed understanding of thermodynamics.

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Schwabl states that a change in external parameters cannot increase entropy. If so, how can an adiabatic process be irreversible?

I am working my way through trying to understand statistical physics, and this particular, apparent inconsistency has had me stuck for days. Any help or advice would be hugely appreciated. I was ...
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100 views

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 ...
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2answers
33 views

How can we tell if a molecule is in thermodynamic equilibrium from scattering data?

We have a molecule that is emitting/absorbing photons. We know the Hamiltonian and that there are several levels. We count the emitted photons at different angles and frequencies. We can also do ...
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1answer
36 views

entropy of a long molecule chain with respect to its length

Consider a (very long) one-dimensional chain of $N$ moleculs, which can be in either of the energy states $\alpha$ or $\beta$. The configurations have length $a$ or $b$ respectively. Show ...
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42 views

Euler Equation Arbitrary Quantities

I have a question about the Euler equation. For some state I can write down: $$ U = TS - pV + \mu N$$ In this equation $T$, $p$, $V$, and $N$ are directly measurable so they have fixed values. ...
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2k views

How did Kelvin make this fascinating calculation?

I was just reading Lord Kelvin's "The Sorting Demon Of Maxwell" where I found this quote concerning what Maxwell's Demon can do: (He) can direct the energy of the moving molecules of a basin of ...
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1answer
69 views

Difference between heat and work

According to the Kinetic Theory of Matter, temperature is nothing but a measure of the kinetic energy of matter. My textbook says that the change in internal energy of a system is the heat gained plus ...
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119 views

Why is the canonical partition function the Laplace transform of the microcanonical partition function?

This web page says that the microcanonical partition function $$ \Omega(E) = \int \delta(H(x)-E) \,\mathrm{d}x $$ and the canonical partition function $$ Z(\beta) = \int e^{-\beta H(x)}\,\mathrm{d}x ...
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1answer
52 views

Physical meaning of coefficient of variation

While doing a course in statistical physics I came across a term called coefficient of variation. Now according to Wikipedia, coefficient of variation shows the extent of variability in relation ...
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20 views

When would the Gross-Pitaevskii equation break down as $a\rightarrow \infty$?

It is now common to use Feshbach resonance to tune the s-wave scattering length of a Bose-Einstein condensate. Apparently as $a\rightarrow \infty$, the GPE would break down. The reason is that it ...
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48 views

Understanding the phase separation of a chemically reactive mixture

Let's consider a mixture of solvent and components $A$ and $B$ such that $A$ can transform into $B$ with a rate $k_1$, and the reverse reaction with a rate $k_2$. $A \rightleftharpoons^{k_1}_{k_2} B ...
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41 views

Retarded thermal Green function

I'm working with finite temperature field theory, but I'm having problems understanding the retarded Green's function in this formalism. I'm reading Niemi and Semenoff's article "Finite Temperature ...
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167 views

List of known universality classes

I am working with RG and have a pretty good idea of how it works. However I have noticed that even though the idea of universality class is very general and makes it possible to classify critical ...
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41 views

Pauli's exclusion principle? [duplicate]

What is the idea behind Pauli s exclusion principle? Why should an electron or any particle having non integral spin obey this principle?
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1answer
61 views

How do we find the canonical ensemble density matrix for two spins?

A compound system is constructed by two coupling spins, and the Hamiltonian is $$ \hat H = -J\hat\sigma_1·\hat\sigma_2 - \mu_\mathbf{B}\big( \hat\sigma_{1z}+\hat\sigma_{2z} \big)B. $$ So, how ...
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52 views

Simple estimation of the critical temperature of water

I'm trying to develop fermi estimation skills and I came up with a question for which I don't even know where to start from. Here goes: Is it possible to estimate the critical temperature (say in ...
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62 views

Is the stability matrix of a linearised RG flow always diagonalisable?

This is a follow up on "Why are the eigenvalues of a linearized RG transformation real?". My question is simple: Is there some physical (or mathematical) reason for the stability matrix of ...
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1answer
30 views

Classical limit of non-interacting, relativistic quantum gas (Kapusta/Gale p.8)

I want to understand two equations in "Finite temperature field theory" by Kapusta and Gale on page 8. The partition function is $$ \ln Z = V\int \frac{d^3 p}{(2\pi)^3}\;\ln\left(1\pm ...
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20 views

Wigner function vs. backward kolmogorov

We know that a Wigner function is a quasi probability distribution and a backward Kolmogorov equation for a stochastic differential equation (say quantum Lagenvin equation) gives the probability ...
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1answer
34 views

What is an order parameter?

I've seen order parameter used in two different ways. One is to distinguish between an ordered and an unordered phase, like whether the net magnetization is stable or not. The second way is to ...
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1answer
55 views

Ising model on lattices with (vertical side length) $\neq$ (horizontal side length)

Consider the Ising model with nearest neighbours interactions on a rectangular lattice $L\times M$. If $L=M$ (2-dimensional square lattice), it is known (e.g. by Peierls argument or Onsager explicit ...
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1answer
37 views

Do Monte-Carlo updates have a physical significance in stat. mech?

One of the archetypical example to introduce Monte-Carlo methods in stat. mech. is to work out the properties of the 2D square lattice Ising model and compare the obtained results with Onsager's exact ...
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1answer
41 views

What is the difference between reversible and irreversible adiabatic expansion?

What is the difference between reversible and irreversible adiabatic expansion? Is it true that the work done by the gas is the same but the pressure applied externally differ between two process? ...
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132 views

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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1answer
20 views

Exponentially increasing $\Omega(E)$

If I choose the number of microstates for energy $E$ to be $\Omega(E) = e^{aE}$ ($a>0$), its temperature is constant: $$ kT = \left( {d\ln \Omega \over dE} \right)^{-1} = 1/a $$ If I choose ...
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ensembles and lagrange multipliers

In the derivation of maxwell-boltzmann distributions, the method of Lagrange multiplier is $\sum n_i = N$ $\sum n_i E_i = E$ where $N$ is the total number of particles, and $E$ is the total ...
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1answer
51 views

Does the q-states Potts become the XY model in large q state?

I have met several times in papers, the order of the phase transition of the $q$-state Potts model depends on $q$. E.g., in two dimensions, for $q = 2$ (the Ising model), $3$, $4$ the order-disorder ...
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3answers
57 views

When the low temperture reservoir with negative temperture (Kelvin), such as Ising model, is the efficiency of ideal heat engine larger than 1?

The ideal Carnot engine works between two heat reservoir with two temperatures $t_h$ and $t_l$. Its efficiency is then $1-\frac{t_l}{t_h}$ . If the low temperture reservoir is the Ising model with ...
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1answer
18 views

Is it possible to cool magnetic dipoles with a magnetic static field?

Suppose you have a bath of magnetic dipoles, with a common mean rotational kinetic energy. Now you apply a very strong magnetic field so that the dipoles align with the field, thus "losing" their ...
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1answer
47 views

Calculation of the partition function for a classical 2D gas lying on the surface of a sphere of constant radius $R$

I'm kind of confused with this system. My first question is. Is the Hamiltonian of one particle of this gas the following? ...
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1answer
144 views

Why are the eigenvalues of a linearized RG transformation real?

The RG transformation $R_\ell$ maps a set of coupling constants $[K]$ of a model Hamiltonian to a new set of coupling constants $[K']=R_\ell[K]$ of a coarse-grained model where the length scale is ...
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131 views

Why the self-information is -log(p(m))?

Why is self-information given by $-\log(p(m))$? Shannon derived a measure of information content called the self-information or "surprisal" of a message $m$: $$I(m) = \log \left( ...
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148 views

Liouville's theorem and preservation of topology

What might be a simple proof showing that the time evolution of the phase space volume can't lead to splitting off of the phase space volume? By Liouville's theorem, the total phase space volume is ...
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29 views

What is the fluctuations of the energy of a simple harmonic oscillator? [closed]

$$\begin{align} \varepsilon&=\frac{\vec{p}^{\,2}}{2m}+\frac{K}{m}\vec{q}^{\,2}\\ \rho(q,p)&=\biggl(\frac{\omega}{2\pi k_BT}\biggr)^3e^{-\frac{\varepsilon}{k_bT}} \end{align}$$ where ...
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1answer
35 views

compressibility of cold atoms in optical lattices

The compressibility of cold bosons in an optical lattice is defined as $\kappa = \frac{\partial \langle n\rangle}{\partial \mu}$, where $\langle n\rangle$ is the density and $\mu$ is the chemical ...
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1answer
47 views

MIcrocanonical and Canonical - The thermodynamic limit

Considering a two level system with energies $ 0 $ and $ \epsilon$, we write out the single particle partition function with ease to be, also N-particle partition function for non-interacting ...
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1answer
103 views

How does statistical mechanics predict that hot air rises?

Does hot air rise -- from a statistical-mechanical viewpoint Question #6329 asks whether and why hot air rises. The consensus answer is straightforward: - hot air is less dense than cold air - ...
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1answer
125 views

Why do phase transitions even exist? Why not smooth density change curves?

Why do phase transitions even exist? Why not smooth density change curves? What properties of matter, quantum or otherwise, predicts that matter will undergo phases at different pressures and ...
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1answer
157 views

Strange definition of microcanonical partition function

I always thought that the microcanonical partition function would measure the number of states that correspond to some fixed energy. Despite, I found in this paper (equation 3.4) that we integrate ...
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814 views

Is there a classical analog to quantum mechanical tunneling?

In comments to a Phys.SE question, it has been written: 'Tunneling' is perfectly real, even in classical physics. [...] For sufficiently large temperatures this can put the system above a hump in ...
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1answer
52 views

How is free energy built into a Metropolis Monte Carlo simulation of an Ising model?

In the Metropolis algorithm, the change in the energy given by the hamiltonian is compared for flipping a spin. This is not the free energy, but for systems above absolute zero you are trying to ...
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1answer
94 views

H-theorem and Boltzmann equation applied to Boltzmann distribution

Using the Boltzmann equation: $$ \frac{dH}{dt} = \int_0^{\infty} dr \int_0^{\infty} ds W(r,s)[p_r - p_s][\ln{p_r} - \ln{p_s}],$$ and assuming $p_r = e^{-\beta r}$, the equation looks like $$ ...
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1answer
40 views

How can entropic effects be prevalent at low temperatures?

I read in a book that at low temperature the hydrophobic effect (for example) is entropic but at high temperatures it is enthalpic. I thought that entropy should decrease at very low temperatures. ...
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1answer
64 views

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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3answers
109 views

Why does the Metropolis algorithm allow changes even for ∆E > 0?

In the Metropolis Monte Carlo algorithm, why can you accept changes even for ∆E > 0 (provided that a random number is less than a given probability ratio, e.g. exp(-β∆E))?
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69 views

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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39 views

Spontaneity / Free Energy of Non-Isothermal Process

I'm trying to determine a lower bound for the work input necessary to make an entropy-reducing process "spontaneous" in the sense that the 2nd law is not violated. For a constant temperature and ...
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1answer
51 views

The BBGKY Hierarchy

The collision term in the Boltzmann equation can be derived from the BBGKY hierarchy. Wikipedia says: In statistical physics, the BBGKY hierarchy [...] is a set of equations describing the ...
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1answer
39 views

Statistical mechanics: What is a “microscopic realization” of a system?

What is a "microscopic realization" of a system? The context is statistical mechanics. The microscopic system consists of many atoms (too many to track individually) with an assigned probability ...
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1answer
69 views

Question about Metropolis Monte Carlo in the case of equal energies

If configuration A is equal to configuration B in a Metropolis Monte Carlo method, do you still do the attempted update?