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

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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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2k views

Is temperature in vacuum zero?

From Wikipedia entry on Kinetic Theory The temperature of an ideal monatomic gas is a measure of the average kinetic energy of its atoms. Now if I remove all the particles from the box shown ...
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630 views

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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348 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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397 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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1k views

Why does the law of increasing entropy, a law arising from statistics of many particles, underpin modern physics?

As far as I interpret it, the law of ever increasing entropy states that "a system will always move towards the most disordered state, never in the other direction". Now, I understand why it would ...
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152 views

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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341 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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572 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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472 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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339 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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310 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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338 views

The statistical nature of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics

Ok, so entropy increases... This is supposed to be an absolute statement about entropy. But then someone imagines a box with a 10 particle gas, and finds that every now and then all particles are in ...
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454 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 ...
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302 views

What are the differences between indistinguishable and identical?

What is the difference between indistinguishable particles and identical particles?
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249 views

What's the classical limit of the pressure of the ultrarelativistic Bose gas

The pressure for the ultrarelativistic Bose gas is $$p~=~U/(3V) ~\propto~ (kT)^4/(hc)^3.$$ It looks to me like it diverges for $h \to 0$. Looking at the derivation, it diverges because $h$ is the ...
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730 views

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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455 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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805 views

When is temperature not a measure of the average kinetic energy of the particles in a substance?

I had always thought that temperature of a substance was a measure of the average kinetic energy of the particles in that substance: $E_k = (3/2) k_bT $ where $E_k$ is the average kinetic energy of ...
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1answer
297 views

Why is velocity normally distributed in a gas, but not energy?

If one looks at a cubic box of gaseous atoms all initially flying in the same direction at the same speed (but flying at an angle to the walls, so as not to reflect up-and-down against the box walls ...
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193 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 ...
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596 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, ...
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For an isolated system, can the entropy decrease or increase?

In any sizable system, the number of equilibrium states are much, much greater then the number of non-equilibrium states. Since each accessible micro state is equally probably, it is overwhelmingly ...
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1k views

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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263 views

What does this observation of instantaneous velocity in Brownian particles mean?

I read this artice: Physicists Prove Einstein Wrong with Observation of Instantaneous Velocity in Brownian Particles “We’ve now observed the instantaneous velocity of a Brownian particle,” says ...
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195 views

What is the meaning of Boltzmann definition of Entropy?

I would like to ask if someone knows the physical meaning of Boltzmann's definition of entropy. of course the formula is pretty straightforward $$S=K_b\ln(Ω)$$ but what in the heck is the natural ...
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174 views

When to use the Boltzmann distribution and the chemical potential?

How do you know when to use the Boltzmann distribution for a particular problem? I have many polymers connected together in many different possibilities by connector agents. All are in a solvent. I ...
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1answer
255 views

The critical point of Bose-Hubbard model

The Hamiltonian of Bose-Hubbard model reads as $$H=-t\sum\limits_{<i,j>}b_i^{\dagger}b_j+h.c.+\frac{U}{2}\sum\limits_{i}n_i(n_i-1)-\mu\sum\limits_in_i$$. In the limit $t\ll U$, the ground ...
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1answer
416 views

Proving that the free energy is extensive

If I have two system of an Ideal gas $A$ and $B$ each of these system has a partition function: $Z_{A,B} = \left ( \frac{V_{A,B}}{\lambda_T} \right )^{N_{A,B}}$ Where: $\lambda_T = \left ( ...
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177 views

Mathematical proof of the Second Law of Thermodynamics

Is there some book or paper that formalizes statistical mechanics, like some people have done with relativity, and proves the second law of thermodynamics from more foundational axioms?
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1answer
158 views

What's the most fundamental definition of temperature?

What's the most fundamental definition of temperature? Is it the definition concern about average energy, number of micro states, or what? By "fundamental", I mean "to be applied" in such general ...
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134 views

Which transformations are canonical?

Which transformations are canonical? Why do canonical transformations preserve the measure of integration in phase space?
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186 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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576 views

Chemical potential of a Bose gas

In my course, there is this fact : In a Bose gas, the chemical potential $\mu$ must always be lower than the smaller level of energy $\epsilon_0$. I find this strange, because if we put a Bose ...
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2answers
105 views

Independent systems and Lagrangians

Definition 1: The notion of independent systems has a precise meaning in probabilities. It states that the (joint) probability or finding the system ($S_1S_2$) in the configuration ($C_1C_2$) is ...
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152 views

Question on entropy

All of my textbooks mention, that entropy-change of all spontaneous physical, and chemical processes is positive, and that such processes need another condition to fulfill- decrease in the net ...
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1answer
172 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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1answer
208 views

The strong Markov property of Gibbs measures in 2D Ising Model

My background is that of a mathematician. I have a question about the two Dimensional Ising Model. I think the terminology I use is similar to the physical. I'm trying to understand the following ...
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2answers
248 views

Entropy: two explanations for the same quantity?

I studied thermodynamics and I saw the following definition for entropy: $$ \Delta S = \int_1^2 \frac{\text{d}Q}{T} $$ that we use to calculate $\Delta S$ for different types of transformations. In ...
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1answer
239 views

Entropy, flow of informations and fundamental theories

In the hierarchy of theories, first comes hamiltonian theory, from which one deduces kinetics theory, and at last thermodynamics and fluid theories. From a kinetics point of view, entropy and ...
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1answer
360 views

Integration of partition-function over many momentum variables

My integral looks like $$Z(\beta) = \frac{1}{h^3}\int d^3p\ \exp{\left(-\frac{\beta}{2m}\sum^{3N}_{i=1}p_i^2\right)}.$$ I'm confused about how to integrate over seemingly 3N variables in only a ...
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1answer
368 views

Is there a fully quantum-field theoretic treatise of Planck's Law for black-body radiation?

I recall from my undergraduate statistical mechanics and QM classes that Planck's Law may be derived fairly straight-forwardly by considering the density of states of EM radiation in thermal ...
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1answer
759 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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578 views

Where can I find a good classification for phase transitions?

I'm having a hard time to find a good (and modern) classification scheme for phase transitions and related universality classes. Can someone recommend a paper/book/site? Detailed mathematical aspects ...
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1answer
99 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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2answers
166 views

Grand canonical partition functions for Bose-Einstein statistics vs. Maxwell-Boltzmann statistics

In Bose-Einstein statistics, the grand canonical partition function is $$\mathcal{Z}=1+e^{-\beta(\epsilon-\mu)}+e^{-2\beta(\epsilon-\mu)}+e^{-3\beta(\epsilon-\mu)}+\cdots$$ In Maxwell-Boltzmann ...
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1answer
211 views

About Boltzmann H-theorem

What is the assumption for Boltzmann H-theorem? One can derive it just from the unitarity of quantum mechanics, so this should be generally true, does it imply a closed system will always thermalize ...
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1answer
105 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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2answers
153 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 ...