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

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canonical and microcanonical ensemble

What does one mean by canonical and micro canonical ensemble in statistical mechanics? Can one elaborate on this in a very simple way with examples? Pardon me, if it is a very simple thing; I am a ...
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608 views

Entropy as an arrow of time

From what I understand, entropy is a concept defined by the experimentalist due to his ignorance of the exact microstate of a system. To say the number of accessible microstates $W$ of the universe is ...
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128 views

How hot is your photon?

This question comes from my answer to the question Can a cubic meter of space at absolute zero have any object with mass inside? and the related discussion under it. To summarize, I stated that the ...
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236 views

Ising model observables

Is there a formula or equation relating $\langle E\rangle$ and $\langle M\rangle$ (average spin per site) and $\langle E^2\rangle$ to temperature $T$ for the square lattice Ising model at zero ...
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161 views

Energy fluctuations in quantum canonical ensemble

How would you go about showing that in the quantum canonical ensemble (that is, in the density matrix and operator formulation), the energy fluctuations, namely $\langle H^2\rangle - \langle ...
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983 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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377 views

Ideal gas and diatomic gas with same temperature

If a box of ideal gas and another box of diatomic gas are in thermal equilibrium, does it mean that the average translational energy of ideal gas particle (A) is the same as that of diatomic gas ...
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950 views

Is temperature an extensive property, like density?

I was thinking about it some time ago, and now that I've discovered this site I would like to ask it here because I couldn't work it out then. I know that the higher temperature the air in my room ...
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What does the concept of phase space mean in particle physics?

I came across the concept of phase space in statistical mechanics. How does this concept come about in particle physics? Why was it introduced and how is it used? What does it mean when ...
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343 views

Proof that Statistical Mechanics is a model of Themodynamics

The laws of thermodynamics are essentially four axioms of a mathematical theory. The expectation values of a statistical ensemble are supposed to satisfy the axioms of thermodynamics (under the ...
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78 views

Does it make sense to define the mean free path in quantum mechanics?

The mean free path defined in classical molecule dynamics has a strong classical flavor. Is it sensible to generalize the idea to quantum mechanics?
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255 views

A thermodynamic transformation that can be represented by a continuous quasistatic path in its state space may still be irreversible. Why?

A thermodynamic transformation that has a path (in its state space) that lies on the surface of its equation of state (e.g., $PV=NkT$) is always reversible (right?). However, if the path is a ...
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Hit a bottle of beer on the top with another causes the first to spit all the gas, why?

So, on the other day me and my colleges were discussing the following phenomena: Pick two open bottles of beer. With the bottom of the first, hit the second on the bottleneck, in the following way: ...
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121 views

Is temperature discrete

Because an object's temperature is inversely proportional to the wavelength of blackbody radiation which it emits, physicists have theorized the existence of Planck temperature at around $1.4×10^{32}$ ...
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109 views

Do we have a fundamental Hamiltonian for the system of H$_2$O molecules?

From the quantum mechanics(QM) viewpoint, does there exist a Hamiltonian $H$ for the system of H$_2$O molecules? Assume that the number of H$_2$O molecules is fixed. Imagine that by calculating the ...
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191 views

Topological Phases and Confinement

I recently attended a talk in which the speaker defined a topological phase as "A phase which has a gap above the ground state for bulk excitations in the thermodynamic limit." I am interested in what ...
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359 views

What would happen if energy was conserved but phase space volume wasn't? (and vice-versa)

I'm trying to understand the relationship between the two conservation laws. As I understand, Liouville's result is a weaker condition: it relies merely on the particular form assumed by Hamilton's ...
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391 views

What physical processes may underly the collisional term in the Boltzmann equation, and how do they increase entropy?

Consider particles interacting only by long-range (inverse square law) forces, either attractive or repulsive. I am comfortable with the idea that their behavior may be described by the collsionless ...
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146 views

Why are large scale structures isotropic in the Ising model?

I have at least a qualitative understanding of why the critical state of the Ising model is scale invariant, by arguments to do with renormalisation, which I understand only very roughly. However, in ...
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61 views

Vanishing Planets?

If we put a solid sphere in space, it will lose some molecules which will form a sort of an atmosphere around it so that we have the required vapour pressure for solid-vapour equilibrium (Temp. of ...
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129 views

In thermodynamic systems why must the free energy of the system be minimized?

Is this somehow a consequence of the second law of thermodynamics?
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266 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 ...
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164 views

What information is lost in the symmetrization necessary to derive the BBGKY hierarchy?

The book on Kinetic theory I'm reading derives the BBGKY hierarchy after introducing the reduced distribution functions $f_s(q^1,p_1,q^2,p_2,\dots,q^s,p_s):=\int\ \rho\ \ \mathrm d q^{s+1} \mathrm d ...
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72 views

Meaning of the 'deep lattice limit' and 'shallow lattice limit'?

In condensed matter literature, at many places, the phrase 'deep lattice limit' is used. Please tell what is the deep lattice limit and the shallow lattice limit?
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383 views

Mean-field theory and spatial correlations in statistical physics

In statistical physics, mean-field theory (MFT) is often introduced by working out the Ising model and it's properties. From a spin model point of view, the mean-field approximation is given by ...
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209 views

Are isolated many-particle quantum systems always in a pure state?

I am trying to understand pure and mixed states better. If I have N quantum particles in an isolated system. The many-particle state is a superposition of the product of single-particle states by the ...
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499 views

Percolation in a 2D Ising model

For a 2D Ising model with zero applied field, it seems logical to me that the phases above and below T_c will have different percolation behaviour. I would expect that percolation occurs (and hence ...
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563 views

Axiomatic statistical mechanics

Ive read a few courses on statistical mechanics, and while their textual explanations and example choices differ, the flow of information from microscopy to macroscopy seems the same, and reading ...
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59 views

How does the movement of molecules change at the edge of a liquid?

I am thinking about how the velocity of molecules measured from a small region of space might change as the region of inquiry moves closer to the edge of a container. Ultimately I am thinking about MR ...
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96 views

Is there any model in statistical physics which has the ratio of specific heat exponent to correlation length exponent, $\alpha/\nu \approx 2.44$?

I am simulating a disordered ising-like model in 2d whose phase transition is expected to be continuous, whose universality class is as yet unknown. By plotting the Specific heat scaling function, ...
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96 views

Influence of choice of statistics on gas kinetics

In the derivation of distributions over energy states, a common assumption made is that under normal conditions (normal from a fluid dynamics standpoint, so > 300K typically) the energy states are ...
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145 views

Fluctuation interaction between two uncharged spheres

TL;DR: The problem is to determine force, acting between two uncharged conducting spheres, induced by correlated fluctuations of charge densities in these spheres. I've got stucked along the way and ...
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72 views

Some questions about the large-N Gross-Neveu-Yukawa model

Consider the following action with a fermionic field $\psi$ and a scalar field $\sigma$, $S = \int d^dx \{ -\bar{\psi}(\gamma^\mu \partial_\mu +\sigma )\psi + \Lambda^{d-4}[ \frac{(\partial_\mu ...
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176 views

What is the physical interpretation of the Papadodimas/Raju mirror operators?

In this paper http://arxiv.org/abs/1310.6335, the authors discuss the firewall problem and contruct so called mirror operators appearing in the correlation function. The key part seems to be (2.6) ...
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498 views

Is Feynman talking about the Zeroth Law of Thermodynamics?

In Volume 1 Chapter 39 of the Feynman Lectures on Physics, Feynman derives the ideal gas law from Newton's laws of motion. But then on page 41-1, he puts a caveat to the derivation he has just ...
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101 views

Exact Beta Functions in Statistical Mechanics

I'm looking for analytically solvable models in statistical mechanics (classical or quantum) or related areas such as solid state physics in which the beta function for a certain renormalization ...
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114 views

What is the proper time used in relativistic non equilibrium statistical physics?

In the literature one often finds covariant relativistic generalizations of classical non equilibrium statistical equations (Boltzmann, Vlasov, Landau, fokker-planck, etc...) but I wonder what is the ...
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Applicability of Baxter's method for IRF models

In a interaction-round-a-face model of $n^2$ particles in a lattice, a weight $W(a,b,c,d)$ is assigned to each face in the lattice based on the spins $a,b,c,d$ (listed say from the bottom-left corner ...
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Are the physical laws scale-dependent?

If you read the article "More Is Different", by P.W. Anderson (Science, 4 August 1972), you will find a deep question: are the physical laws dependent of the size of the system under study? As an ...
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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 ...
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399 views

How and why can random matrices answer physical problems?

Random matrix theory pops up regularly in the context of dynamical systems. I was, however, so far not able to grasp the basic idea of this formalism. Could someone please provide an instructive ...
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465 views

If particles can find themselves spontaneously arranged, isn't entropy actually decreasing? [duplicate]

Take a box of gas particles. At $t = 0$, the distribution of particles is homogeneous. There is a small probability that at $t = 1$, all particles go to the left side of the box. In this case, entropy ...
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Is there a phenomenon where physicists are only interested in the standard deviation of the quantity to be measured?

or a phenomenon where we can only measure the standard deviation ($\sigma_w$) of a variable $w$ and not the mean $\overline{w}$
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407 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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854 views

Phase space in quantum mechanics and Heisenberg uncertainty principle

In my book about quantum mechanics they give a derivation that for one particle an area of $h$ in $2D$ phase space contains exactly one quantum mechanical state. In my book about statistical physics ...
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570 views

number of microstates associated with two-level quantum systems

this is a very simple question, but apparently one that has no simple answer, at least from standard quantum mechanics theory I'm trying to figure the number of simple quantum states (microstates) of ...
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362 views

How many particles is needed to observe a phase transition?

This is a question that was rised when we were discussing "what is melting actually". How many particles you need to form a liquid or solid. I have some remarks to point out what I want to know. Q: ...
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356 views

Axioms behind entropy!

The concept of entropy is very ubiquitous, we learn about its uses starting from Information Theory (Shannon entropy) up to its basic definition in statistical mechanics in terms of number of ...
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462 views

Temperature; Why A Fundamental Quantity?

Temperature is just an indication of the combined property of mass of the molecules and their random motion. We can explain no effective energy transfer between two conducting solid bodies in contact ...
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513 views

Is there a mechanism for time symmetry breaking?

Excluding Thermodynamic's arrow of time, all mathematical descriptions of time are symmetric. We know the arrow of time is real and we know the equations describing physics are real so is there any ...