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

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Are negative temperatures typically associated with negative absolute pressures?

Negative temperatures and negative absolute pressures are both possible in physical systems. Negative temperatures arise in (for example) populations of two-state systems, which have a maximum amount ...
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1k views

The equipartition theorem in momentum space

Motivated by the answers to this question on turbulence, I'm interested in an explanation and/or derivation/reference of the equipartition theorem in momentum space. To formulate it as a question: ...
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2answers
611 views

What is the resolution to Gibb's paradox?

This question is essentially a duplicate of Gibbs Paradox - why should the change in entropy be zero?. The question concerns the following situation: I have some gas of identical particles and they ...
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4answers
925 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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1answer
235 views

Is “detailed balance” equivalent with a continuity equation in state space?

I have a talk tomorrow in which detailed balance is needed and I don't want to bore my audience with elaborate explanations for it so I'm looking for simpler explanations. As far as I understood it ...
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1k views

What are the differences between indistinguishable and identical?

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

Can closed loops evade the spin-statistic theorem in 3 dimensions?

The famous spin-statistics result asserts that there are only bosons and fermions, and that they have integer and integer-and-a-half spin respectively. In two-dimensional condensed matter systems, ...
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2answers
169 views

Why is chemical potential, μ=0 when calculating critical temperature of BECs?

How do we justify taking the chemical potential, $\mu$ as $0$ when calculating the critical temperature of Bose-Einstein Condensates (BECs)? I apologise as I do not how to use LaTeX, for if I did the ...
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1answer
566 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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1answer
258 views

What is the phenomenological logic behind Fermi liquid theory

I am a super beginner when it comes to Solid State Physics and when wanting to learn more on the subject, I end up reading on Landau's Fermi liquid theory that supposedly justifies the quasi-free ...
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2answers
334 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 ...
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5answers
509 views

Theoretical proof forbidding Loschmidt reversal?

In a famous debate, Loschmidt criticized Boltzmann's new theory of statistical mechanics by asking what would happen if the velocities of all the atoms were reversed. Typical objections are that such ...
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Gibbs Paradox - why should the change in entropy be zero?

The Gibbs paradox deals with the fact that for an ideal gas with $N$ molecules in a volume $V$ seperated by a diaphragm into two subvolumes $V_1,V_2$ with $N_1,N_2$ particles in each subvolume, ...
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184 views

Dependence of chemical potential to zero point of energy

The chemical potential is defined as: $$ \mu = -T\frac{\partial{S(N,V,E)}}{\partial{N}} $$ It seems to me that this is completely independent of where I put the reference point of energy, because only ...
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2answers
1k views

Bohr-van Leeuwen theorem and quantum mechanics

Preamble: If one considers an ideal gas of non interacting charged particles of charge $q$ in a uniform magnetic field $\mathbf{B} = \mathbf{\nabla} \wedge \mathbf{A}$, then the classical partition ...
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3answers
697 views

Analogue of Princeton Companion to Mathematics for Physics?

I would like to know if there are compendiums much like the Princeton Companion to Mathematics for physics (especially classical physics: fluid mechanics, elasticity theory, Hamiltonian formalism of ...
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2answers
304 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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3answers
2k views

Why is the Gibbs Free Energy $F-HM$?

With magnetism, the Gibbs Free Energy is $F-HM$, where $F$ is the Helmholtz Free Energy, $H$ is the auxiliary magnetic field, and $M$ is magnetization. Why is this? Normally, in thermodynamics, we ...
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1answer
351 views

Why Landau Level quantization is observed only in low temperature and strong magnetic field in real experiment?

I know that Quantum Hall Effect and Fractional Quantum Hall Effect origin from Landau Level quantization. In magnetic field, the energy of in-plane(plane perpendicular to magnetic field) degree of ...
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1answer
394 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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1answer
3k views

The definition of Density of States

The density of states (DOS) is generally defined as $D(E)=\frac{d\Omega(E)}{dE}$, where $\Omega(E)$ is the number of states. But why DOS can also be defined using delta function, as ...
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1answer
478 views

Motivation for maximum Renyi/Tsallis entropy

The Conditional limit theorem of Van Campenhout and Cover gives a physical reason for maximizing (Shannon) entropy. Nowadays, in statistical mechanics, people talk about maximum Renyi/Tsallis entropy ...
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203 views

How can the microstates be measured with zero energy expenditure?

James P. Sethna. Statistical Mechanics. Exercise 5.2: What prevents a Maxwellian demon from using an atom in an unknown state to extract work? The demon must first measure which side of the ...
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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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190 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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Is there a formal definition of a macroscopic variable in statistical mechanics?

Intuitively it's easy to accept that the usual variables like temperature, internal energy, etc. are 'macroscopic', but does there exist a formal definition of a macroscopic variable? In other ...
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1answer
714 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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692 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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206 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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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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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 ...
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1answer
767 views

``What is life?'' by a physicist definition [closed]

The question is about defining ``What is life?'' in the field of Physics. Whether there is any (insightful) way of defining ``What is life?'' from physicists. There are pioneer works, including ...
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1answer
266 views

Is it always possible to express an operator in terms of creation/annihilation operators?

I'm referring to "Path integral approach to birth-death processes on a lattice", L. Peliti, J. Physique 46, 1469-1483 (1985), available at: http://people.na.infn.it/~peliti/path.pdf The article is ...
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Surface tension of solutions and mixtures

The inspiration for this question is over on cooking.stackexchange, asking more about actual measurements for commonly consumed liquids, but I'm interested more generally as well. What determines the ...
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1answer
255 views

Does a vacuum, suddenly opened, become hotter than its surroundings?

Suppose you have an insulated container that is equipped with a valve to let air in. Initially the container is evacuated. You then quickly open the valve, allowing air to rush in. What is the ...
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1answer
310 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
198 views

What is an intuitive explantion for the fact that the Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution of energies is independent of mass?

If you take the Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution of velocities (which depends on the mass) and substitute $v=\sqrt{\frac{2E}{m}}$ you get the distribution for the energies, which turns out to be ...
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1answer
81 views

Minimum connectivity required for mean field to be a good approximation?

In spin models, it is known that mean field becomes a better approximation as the connectivity increases. My question is: Is there an estimate for the threshold connectivity (as a function of the ...
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434 views

Classical and Semi-classical treatments of the ideal gas

In the semi-classical treatment of the ideal gas, we write the partition function for the system as $$Z = \frac{Z(1)^N}{N!}$$ where $Z(1)$ is the single particle partition function and $N$ is the ...
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1answer
383 views

few fermions in a harmonic trap — position density matrix from diagrammatics

I'm trying to calculate the momentum distribution of a 1D system of non-interacting identical fermions in a harmonic trap. Given Feynman's answer (from his Statistical Mechanics book) for the ...
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1answer
237 views

Nonextensive statistical mechanics

I know that the Tsallis($S_q$) entropy is called nonextensive information measure in the sense that if $P$ and $Q$ are two probability distributions then $S_q(P\times ...
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Obtaining the canonical distribution from Fokker-Planck equation?

First I will provide a summary of the problem. Subsequently, I will provide more detail regarding the problem. Please note that entropy is in units of the Boltzmann constant. Summary I have a ...
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0answers
151 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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0answers
651 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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104 views

Does the Standard Model plasma develop a spontaneous magnetisation at finite temperature?

Reference: arXiv:1204.3604v1 [hep-ph] Long-range magnetic fields in the ground state of the Standard Model plasma. Alexey Boyarsky, Oleg Ruchayskiy, Mikhail Shaposhnikov. The authors of this paper ...
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262 views

Drawing the RG flow diagram

In real-space renormalization group how does one find the complete RG flow exactly, (not schematically)? I understand it needs to be done on a computer. For example, I have the ising model on a ...
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140 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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443 views

Stability of the vacuum state of interacting quantum fields

"Stability" is generally taken to be the justification for requiring that the spectrum of the Hamiltonian should be bounded below. The spectrum of the Hamiltonian is not bounded below for thermal ...
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Are there known turbulent nonlinear equations where the cascade is a thermal gradient?

In a recent answer (here: The equipartition theorem in momentum space ), I suggested that if you have an appropriate first order equation (in the answer I used a second order equation, but it is more ...
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Why is entropy an extensive quantity?

If we have two identical isolated macroscopic systems both with energy $E$. The number of accessible states of each of them is $\Omega(E)$ and hence the entropy is $\ln\Omega(E)$. Now if we put them ...