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

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What are the justifying foundations of statistical mechanics without appealing to the ergodic hypothesis?

This question was listed as one of the questions in the proposal (see here), and I didn't know the answer. I don't know the ethics on blatantly stealing such a question, so if it should be deleted or ...
31
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1answer
301 views

$(\mu,P,T)$ pseudo-ensemble: why is it not a proper thermodynamic ensemble?

While teaching statistical mechanics, and describing the common thermodynamic ensembles (microcanonical, canonical, grand canonical), I usually give a line on why there can be no $(\mu, P, T)$ ...
27
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4answers
704 views

How exact is the analogy between statistical mechanics and quantum field theory?

Famously, the path integral of quantum field theory is related to the partition function of statistical mechanics via a Wick rotation and there is therefore a formal analogy between the two. I have a ...
26
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4answers
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Is there a Lagrangian formulation of statistical mechanics?

In statistical mechanics, we usually think in terms of the Hamiltonian formalism. At a particular time $t$, the system is in a particular state, where "state" means the generalised coordinates and ...
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524 views

What are some critiques of Jaynes' approach to statistical mechanics?

Suggested here: What are the justifying foundations of statistical mechanics without appealing to the ergodic hypothesis? I was wondering about good critiques of Jaynes' approach to statistical ...
22
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1answer
301 views

Mermin-Wagner theorem in the presence of hard-core interactions

It seems quite common in the theoretical physics literature to see applications of the "Mermin-Wagner theorem" (see wikipedia or scholarpedia for some limited background) to systems with hard-core ...
22
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0answers
183 views

Systematic approach to deriving equations of collective field theory to any order

The collective field theory (see nLab for a list of main historical references) which came up as a generalization of the Bohm-Pines method in treating plasma oscillations are often used in the study ...
21
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3answers
213 views

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 ...
21
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2answers
725 views

Why do we expect our theories to be independent of cutoffs?

Final edit: I think I pretty much understand now (touch wood)! But there's one thing I don't get. What's the physical reason for expecting the correlation functions to be independent of the cutoff? ...
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Connections and applications of SLE in physics

In probability theory, the Schramm–Loewner evolution, also known as stochastic Loewner evolution or SLE, is a conformally invariant stochastic process. It is a family of random planar curves that are ...
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How is $\frac{dQ}{T}$ measure of randomness of system?

I am studying entropy and its hard for me to catch up what exactly is entropy. Many articles and books write that entropy is the measure of randomness or disorder of the system. They say when a gas ...
18
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Prove that negative absolute temperatures are actually hotter than positive absolute temperatures

Could someone provide me with a mathematical proof of why, a system with an absolute negative Kelvin temperature (such that of a spin system) is hotter than any system with a positive temperature (in ...
16
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4answers
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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 ...
16
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4answers
1k views

Home experiment to estimate Avogadro's number?

How to get an approximation of Avogadro or Boltzmann constant through experimental means accessible by an hobbyist ?
16
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1answer
600 views

Why is the partition function called ''partition function''?

The partition function plays a central role in statistical mechanics. But why is it called ''partition function''?
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5answers
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Why isn't absolute $0 K$ temperature possible?

So $T$ is defined as $$T = \left(\frac{\partial E}{\partial S}\right)$$ and $S$ is defined as $$S = k_B \ln \Omega$$ where $\Omega$ is the number of accessible states of the system for a given ...
15
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4answers
347 views

What is a simple intuitive way to see the relation between imaginary time (periodic) and temperature relation?

I guess I never had a proper physical intuition on, for example, the "KMS condition". I have an undergraduate student who studies calculation of Hawking temperature using the Euclidean path integral ...
15
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2answers
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Is this Landau's other critical phenomena mistake?

There was an old argument by Landau that while the liquid gas transition can have a critical point, the solid-liquid transition cannot. This argument says that the solid breaks translational symmetry, ...
14
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3answers
1k views

How Non-abelian anyons arise in solid-state systems?

Recently it has been studied non-abelian anyons in some solid-state systems. These states are being studied for the creation and manipulation of qubits in quantum computing. But, how these ...
14
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1answer
738 views

Onsager's Regression Hypothesis, Explained and Demonstrated

Onsager's 1931 regression hypothesis asserts that “…the average regression of fluctuations will obey the same laws as the corresponding macroscopic irreversible process". (Here is the links to ...
14
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2answers
46 views

Sampling typical clusters between distant points in subcritical percolation

I have on several occasions wondered how one might proceed in order to sample large subcritical Bernoulli bond-percolation clusters, say on the square lattice. More precisely, let's consider the ...
14
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4answers
343 views

Comments on entropy and the direction of time in Landau and Lifshitz's Statistical Mechanics

In Landau and Lifshitz's Stat Mech Volume I is the comment: However, despite this symmetry, quantum mechanics does in fact involve an important non-equivalence of the two directions of time. ...
13
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What does Peter Parkers formula represent?

Okay, so the trailer for the new Spider Man movie is out and appearently our friendly physicist from the neightborhood came up with something. However I can't find out what this is. ...
13
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3answers
439 views

Could temperature have been defined as $-\partial S/\partial U$?

When coming up with a definition of temperature, it's typical to start with an empirical definition that a system with a hotter temperature tends to lose heat to a system with a colder temperature. ...
13
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1answer
117 views

Phase Transition in the Ising Model with Non-Uniform Magnetic Field

Consider the Ferromagnetic Ising Model ($J>0$) on the lattice $\mathbb{Z}^2$ with the Hamiltonian with boundary condition $\omega\in\{-1,1\}$ formally given by $$ ...
13
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1answer
320 views

Does this type of phase transition exist?

The short version of this question is: Is there, or could there be, a system with a phase transition where adding a small amount of heat causes a discontinuous jump in its temperature? Below are ...
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4answers
790 views

Ignorance in statistical mechanics

Consider this penny on my desc. It is a particular piece of metal, well described by statistical mechanics, which assigns to it a state, namely the density matrix $\rho_0=\frac{1}{Z}e^{-\beta H}$ ...
12
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3answers
316 views

Chemical reaction as state transition?

When considering diffusion of chemicals, the reaction part is business of chemical kinetics, where the relevant characteristics of different substances come from collision theory together with some ...
12
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4answers
390 views

Why is it often assumed that particles are found in energy eigenstates?

Energy eigenstates provide a convenient basis for solving quantum mechanics problems, but they are by no means the only allowable states. Yet it seems to me that particles/systems are assumed to be in ...
12
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3answers
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trying to understand Bose-Einstein Condensate (BEC)

I am a computer scientist interested in network theory. I have come across the Bose-Einstein Condensate (BEC) because of its connections to complex networks. What I know about condensation is the ...
12
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1answer
425 views

What are some predictions from string theory that say some crystalline materials “will end up in one of many lowest-energy ground states?”

I am referring to this recent "news feature" by Zeeya Merali from Nature magazine www.nature.com/uidfinder/10.1038/478302a. Here is the specific quote: "To make matters worse, some of the testable ...
12
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1answer
124 views

Fluctuations of an interface with hammock potential

This question is related to that one. I ask it here since comments are too short for the extended discussion that was going on there. I am interested in a very simple interface model. To each ...
11
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5answers
3k views

Difference between thermodynamics and statistical mechanics

I've just finished a class a few weeks ago which taught thermo and stat mech, and I still don't know the exact difference between the two. Can someone help clear this up for me? (Yeah it's sad, and ...
11
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2answers
357 views

Why is a hard sphere gas correlated?

In stat mech we calculated the radial distribution function (a.k.a. pair correlation function) for a classical gas by using perturbation theory for the BBGKY hierarchy. (I could post more details of ...
11
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2answers
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Ising model for dummies

I am looking for some literature on the Ising model, but I'm having a hard time doing so. All the documentation I seem to find is way over my knowledge. Can you direct me to some documentation on it ...
11
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3answers
3k views

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?
11
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2answers
123 views

Discussions of the axioms of AQFT

The most recent discussion of what axioms one might drop from the Wightman axioms to allow the construction of realistic models that I'm aware of is Streater, Rep. Prog. Phys. 1975 38 771-846, ...
11
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1answer
235 views

Are there any modern textbooks on statistical mechanics which don't ignore Gibbs' analysis of the microcanonical ensemble?

I have lately been reading Gibbs' book Elementary Principles in Statistical Mechanics, and I'm surprised how much in that book seems to have been ignored by later textbook writers. In particular, ...
11
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0answers
243 views

How is the logarithmic correction to the entropy of a non extremal black hole derived?

I`ve just read, that for non extremal black holes, there exists a logarithmic (and other) correction(s) to the well known term proportional to the area of the horizon such that $S = \frac{A}{4G} + K ...
10
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3answers
586 views

Is there a way to obtain the classical partition function from the quantum partition function in the limit $h \rightarrow 0$?

One would like to motivate the classical partition function in the following way: in the limit that the spacing between the energies (generally on the order of $h$) becomes small relative to the ...
10
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2answers
403 views

Can $10^{23}$ stars be treated with methods of statistical mechanics?

Statistical mechanics is used to describe systems with large number of particles ~$10^{23}$. The observable universe contains between $10^{22}$ to $10^{24}$ stars. Can we treat those many stars as a ...
10
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5answers
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Why does the Boltzmann factor $e^{-E/kT}$ seem to imply that lower energies are more likely?

I'm looking for an intuitive understanding of the factor $$e^{-E/kT}$$ so often discussed. If we interpret this as a kind of probability distribution of phase space, so that $$\rho(E) = ...
10
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2answers
310 views

What is known about some massive Gaussian models on a lattice?

Recently I started to play with some massive Gaussian models on a lattice. Motivation being that I work on massless models and want to understand the massive case because it seems easier to handle ...
10
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1answer
451 views

Number density of LO and LA phonons as a function of temperature?

I'd like to know the how the number density of longitudinal optical (LO) and longitudinal acoustic (LA) phonons varies as a function of temperature of the material. Is there a simple expression for ...
9
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6answers
777 views

A die versus a quantum experiment

Let suppose you roll a die, and it falls into a hidden place, for example under furniture. Then although the experiment has already been made (the die already has a number to show), that value can not ...
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5answers
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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 ...
9
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5answers
594 views

Is the N factorial in the Partition function for N indistinguishable particle an approximation?

I suspect that the N factorial in the partition function for N indistinguishable particles $$ Z = \frac{ Z_0^N } {N!} $$ is an approximation. Please someone correct me if I am wrong and why or why ...
9
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4answers
925 views

How many Onsager's solutions are there?

Update: I provided an answer of my own (reflecting the things I discovered since I asked the question). But there is still lot to be added. I'd love to hear about other people's opinions on the ...
9
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1answer
62 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 $q$ ...
9
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1answer
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Largest theoretically possible specific heat capacity?

What substance will have the largest specific heat capacity integrated from T=0 to, say, room temperature? In other words, given a finite amount of mass, what object or collection of objects has the ...