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

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349 views

Why does bad smell follow people (assuming they are not the source)?

When you are sitting in a room where there is a source of bad smell, such as somebody smoking or some other source of bad smell, it is often a solution to simply move to another spot where bad smell ...
5
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1answer
502 views

Why is it difficult to mix helium and nitrogen gases?

I recently learned an interesting fact: That it's difficult to mix helium and nitrogen gases in a compressed gas cylinder. Gas suppliers that need to mix the two gases have to rotate the cylinders for ...
5
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1answer
108 views

Intuitively, why does removing solutes cost $k_B T$ of free energy per molecule?

I can calculate that if you want to, for example, desalinate water, you will have to pay a free energy cost of $k_B T$ for each ion you remove. In other words, removing an ion from a volume of water ...
4
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1answer
133 views

What it means to integrate over $n$ variables out of $N$, where $N>n$?

I was reading Theory of Simple Liquids, when I came across BBGKY hierarchy. In deriving the expression for the hierarchy, they integrate an integration of N variables over N-n variables to make the ...
4
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2answers
565 views

Physical significance of negative temperature

I read some answers regarding negative temperatures but I think my question is new. I want to know that what is the physical significance of negative temperature. Suppose I say a body has ...
4
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3answers
1k views

Does entropy really always increase (or stay the same)? [duplicate]

Consider this image. If the big (grey) molecules were all to spontaneously move to the left, and the small ones were to move to the right, there would be an increase in order. While unlikely, ...
3
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1answer
347 views

Resources for introductory quantum statistical mechanics

I am currently struggling to understand my basic introductory course on quantum statistical mechanics and I have done a basic course on single particle quantum mechanics. I was wondering whether ...
3
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2answers
295 views

Bose Enhancement Factor

How may one explain the fact that the probability of a boson transferring to a state with an occupation number n is 'enhanced' by a factor of (1+n), compared to the classical case? (In the classical ...
3
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1answer
647 views

Why the chemical potential of massless boson is zero? [duplicate]

In Bose-Einstein condensation, the chemical potential is less than the ground state energy of the system($\mu<\epsilon_g$). But why does the massless boson such as photon have zero chemichal ...
2
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3answers
131 views

Does the second law of thermodynamics take into consideration of attractive interactions between particles?

If one searches Google or textbooks on 2nd Law of Thermodnamics, one usually finds a statement that is either equivalent or implies the following. The entropy of the universe always increases. But ...
2
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1answer
2k views

Significance of the the Lagrange multipliers in statistical mechanics

In classic thermodynamics one can derive the Maxwell Boltzmann statistics by solving a Lagrange multipliers equation. In this process a new parameter $\beta$ is introduced to take account of the total ...
2
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3answers
1k views

Definition of Fluctuations and Perturbations

The terms fluctuations and perturbations are frequently used in physics with different meanings. But they are confusing. Both terms seems to be same. Is there any one who can explain lucidly these ...
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2answers
141 views

Calculating quantum partition functions

...By quantizing we the get the following Hamiltonian operator $$\hat{H}=\sum_{\mathbf{k}}\hbar \omega(\mathbf{k})\left(\hat{n}(\mathbf{k})+\frac{1}{2} \right)$$ where ...
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1answer
122 views

Meaning of the symmetrisation postulate in absence of a proper model

My question is on the use of the concept of indistinguishable particles (in quantum mechanics) in a very general context and in particular in statistical mechanics. I have made clear some of my ...
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2answers
1k views

Must a reversible engine be a carnot engine?

I have this homework question: "Show that any reversible engine operating between T1 and T2 is a carnot engine." I think I have a solution, but it feels very hand-wavy. We know that any process that ...
1
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1answer
769 views

Ensemble of harmonic oscillators

I have some problems with problem 2.3 from Reif's Fundamentals of statistical and thermal physics: Consider an ensemble of classical one-dimensional harmonic oscillators. a) If we assume ...
1
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1answer
191 views

Uncertainty and Thermodynamics

Dilemma The uncertainty principle of energy and the 2nd law of thermodynamics don't add up : the uncertainty principle of energy says that $\Delta \tau \cdot \Delta E \ge \frac{h}{4\pi} = ...
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2answers
255 views

Reconstruction of information stored in an evaporating black hole from the emission spectrum?

For simple setups, where the radiation field deviates not too far from thermodynamic equilibrium (< 10 %), corrections to the Planckian thermal emission spectrum can be calculated (and measured) ...
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4answers
475 views

Irreversible expansion and time reversal symmetry

Suppose there are N non-interacting classical particles in a box, so their state can be described by the $\{\mathbf{x}_i(t), \mathbf{p}_i(t) \}$. If the particles are initially at the left of the box, ...
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2answers
60 views

Counting classical microstates

In my notes it states that the convention for summing over the classical states is $$\sum_{\Gamma} \longrightarrow \frac{1}{N!}\int \prod_{i=1}^N \frac{d^3q_id^3p_i}{h_0^3} \tag1$$ Now I know that ...
0
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1answer
66 views

Is Boltzmann constant $k_B$ constant?

I heard in a lecture that Boltzmann constant $k_B$ is not constant in some special cases. Do you know the title of the article which contains this one? Do you think this idea is true?
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1answer
236 views

Dr. Pierre-Marie Robitaille: On the Validity of Kirchhoff's Law

Lately I've been researching about the black-body spectrum and the historical development of Planck's Law. I mainly wanted to understand a little bit more why many different objects (Stars, Hot ...
7
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1answer
173 views

Canonical averages in a Fermi gas aka generalized Fermi-Dirac distribution

I am in the process of applying Beenakker's tunneling master equation theory of quantum dots (with some generalizations) to some problems of non-adiabatic charge pumping. As a part of this work I ...
6
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3answers
4k views

Is there a phase transition between a gas and plasma?

Does a phase transition occur as a gas is heated to create a plasma? If so, is this a first or second order phase transition? Also, does the presence of a phase transition depend on the pressure or ...
6
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2answers
330 views

Mathematical probabilistic interepretation of probability amplitude

As a warning, I come from an "applied math" background with next to no knowledge of physics. That said, here's my question: I'm looking at the possibility of using probability amplitude functions to ...
6
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5answers
2k views

Second law of Thermodynamics: Why is it only “almost” always true that entropy is non-decreasing? [duplicate]

Wikipedia - Second law of thermodynamics: ...the entropy of any closed system not in thermal equilibrium almost always increases. I understand that the second law of thermodynamics is based on ...
5
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3answers
391 views

Physical intuition for independence of components of velocity in derivation of Maxwell–Boltzmann distribution

Maxwell derived the shape of the probability distribution of velocity of gas particles by starting with just two assumptions. These are: The probability distribution is rotation invariant. The ...
5
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1answer
775 views

Intuition behind classical virial theorem

I am continuing to brush up my statistical physics. I just want to gain a better understanding. I have gone through the derivation of the classical virial theorem once more. I have thought about it, ...
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2answers
1k views

The analogy between temperature and imaginary time

There are many statements about the relation between time and temperature in statistical physics and quantum field theory, the basic idea is to interpret (inverse) temperature in statistics as "time" ...
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2answers
425 views

Continuous phase transition only hold for infinite systems. Real systems are finite, hence, a paradox

Second-order or continuous transitions are usually identified with non-analyticies within the free energy (which is proportional to the logarithm of the sum of exponentials). Such singularities are ...
4
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4answers
515 views

Why can $\beta$ not be linearly proportional to $T$, that is $\beta = constant \times T$?

$\beta$ in statistical mechanics is equal to $\frac{1}{k_BT}$ in in thermodynamics, but I do not understand why $\beta\propto T^{-1}$ instead of, say, $\beta\propto T$?
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5answers
8k views

What are distinguishable and indistinguishable particles in statistical mechanics?

What are distinguishable and indistinguishable particles in statistical mechanics? While learning different distributions in statistical mechanics I came across this doubt; Maxwell-Boltzmann ...
4
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1answer
1k views

Calculating the heat capacity of a system

I have started reading Statistical Physics by F. Mandl and I would appreciate some help with the following exercise A system consists of $N$ weakly interacting subsystems. Each subsystem possesses ...
4
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1answer
1k views

For which systems is the equipartition theorem valid?

Under what conditions does a system with many degrees of freedom satisfy the equipartition theorem?
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3answers
162 views

Seemingly a paradox on the eigenstate thermalization hypothesis (ETH)

In the research field of Many-body Localization (MBL), people are always talking about the eigenstate thermalization hypothesis (ETH). ETH asserts that for a isolated quantum system, all many-body ...
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2answers
87 views

Probablistic interpretation of entropy

After taking a statistical mechanics course, I'm somewhat surprised that my intuitive highschool understanding of entropy doesn't match my current understanding. When I was introduced to entropy, I ...
3
votes
1answer
144 views

Evaluating low-temperature dependence of the BCS gap function

How does one go about evaluating the behavior of the BCS gap $ \Delta = \Delta(T) $ for $ T \to 0^+ $ under the weak coupling approximation $ \Delta/\hbar\omega_D \ll 1 $? In Fetter & Walecka, ...
3
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2answers
1k views

RMS Free Path vs Mean Free Path

I am trying to determine the mathematical difference between mean free path and root-mean-square free path. For an ideal gas, the relaxation time is $$\tau=\frac{1}{\sqrt2 \pi nd^2 \bar v}$$ and the ...
3
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3answers
163 views

Statistical Mechanics - Distribution of Energies

Consider a state space $\mathbb{X}$. The probability density function under a canonical ensemble is given by the Boltzmann distribution $$\pi_{\mathbb{X}}(x)=\frac{e^{-\beta ...
3
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1answer
1k views

Fermi-Dirac distribution derivation?

I am trying to derive the Fermi-Dirac statistics using density matrix formalism. I know that $$<A>= Tr \rho A.$$ So I started from $$<n(\epsilon_i)>= Tr \rho n(\epsilon_i)=\frac {1}{Z} ...
3
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3answers
300 views

Slow thermal equilibrium

I have a question which is inspired by considering the light field coming off an incandescent lightbulb. As a blackbody radiation field, the light is in thermal equilibrium at temperature $T$, which ...
2
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0answers
57 views

Maximizing particle annihilation of a certain particle type?

Is there any theoretical situation where one would be able to maximize the production of a certain type of particle? I wish to continue discussing this question: Where would dark matter be produced? ...
2
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0answers
67 views

Kinetic Theory of Liquids

I am familiar with the Kinetic Theory of a gas, where atoms or molecules are in relatively high-speed, random motion, and the bulk properties of the gas are determined by aggregations of these ...
2
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2answers
539 views

Susceptibilities and response functions

It is often confusing whether a susceptibility is the same as a response function, specially that often they are used interchangeably, in the context of statistical mechanics and thermodynamics. Very ...
2
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1answer
3k 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? ...
2
votes
1answer
264 views

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 ...
2
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2answers
242 views

Free electron gas in two dimensions

Can someone give a qualitative description on why the density of states for a two dimensional free electron gas is independent of energy while it is not in one and three dimensions? In one dimension ...
2
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2answers
171 views

Bolzmann entropy [duplicate]

The Boltzmann entropy is defined as the logarithm of the phase space volume (E). Is there a reference, book, paper which shows where this definition comes and how it is equal to the phase space ...
2
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1answer
1k views

Probability of finding n particles in a volume v

I'm trying to calculate the probability of finding $n$ particles in a certain volume $v$ in a system with a total of $N$ particles and total volume of $V$. My problem is that I've tried two approaches ...
2
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3answers
1k views

Why the temperature is getting lower when the universe is expanding

As we know, if an ideal gas expands in vacuum, as its energy is unchanged, the temperature remains the same. An ideal gas's energy does not depend on volume. In general, the energy is $kT$ times the ...