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

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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 ...
4
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4answers
474 views

Chance of objects going against greater entropy?

My book uses the argument that the multiplicities of a few macrostates in a macroscopic object take up an extraordinarily large share of all possible microstates, such that even over the entire ...
6
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5answers
2k views

Recommendations for Statistical Mechanics book

I saw Book recommendations No reference to Statistical Mechanics there. I learned thermodynamics and the basics of statistical mechanics but I'd like to sit through a good advanced book/books. Mainly ...
7
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6answers
997 views

Does the scientific community consider the Loschmidt paradox resolved? If so what is the resolution?

Does the scientific community consider the Loschmidt paradox resolved? If so what is the resolution? I have never seen dissipation explained, although what I have seen a lot is descriptions of ...
8
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5answers
3k views

Why was the universe in a extraordinarily low-entropy state right after the big bang?

Let me start by saying that I have no scientific background whatsoever. I am very interested in science though and I'm currently enjoying Brian Greene's The Fabric of the Cosmos. I'm at chapter 7 and ...
16
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4answers
2k views

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 ...
21
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2answers
726 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? ...
6
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3answers
899 views

What are some of the best books on complex systems?

I'm rather interested in getting my feet wet at the interface of complex systems and emergence. Can anybody give me references to some good books on these topics? I'm looking for very introductory ...
6
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3answers
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Maxwell's Demon Constant (Information-Energy equivalence)

New Scientist article: Summon a 'demon' to turn information into energy The speed of light c converts between space and time and also appears in e=mc^2. Maxwell's Demon can turn information supplied ...
2
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1answer
346 views

Cross-field diffusion from Smoluchowski approximation

I'm reading An Introduction to Stochastic Processes in Physics by Don S Lemons. Problem 10.2 leads to a pair of equations: $dV_x = -\gamma V_xdt+V_y\Omega dt-V_y\sqrt{2\gamma dt}N_t(0,1)$ $dV_y = ...
6
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4answers
2k views

Chemical potential

This is something probably very basic but I was led back to this issue while listening to a recent seminar by Allan Adams on holographic superconductors. He seemed very worried to have a theory at ...
7
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2answers
359 views

(Canonical) Partition function - what assumption is at work here?

The canonical partition function is defined as $$Z=\sum_{s}e^{-\beta E_s}$$ with the sum being over all states of the system. The way I saw this derived was by assuming that for each state, the ...
8
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5answers
473 views

How do you prove the second law of thermodynamics from statistical mechanics?

How do you prove the second law of thermodynamics from statistical mechanics? To prove entropy will only increase with time? How to prove? Please guide.
5
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7answers
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Is it theoretically possible to reach 0 kelvin?

I'm having a discussion with someone. I said that it is -even theoretically- impossible to reach 0K, because that would imply that all molecules in the substance would stand perfectly still. He said ...
10
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5answers
1k views

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) = ...
6
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5answers
370 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 ...
5
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3answers
551 views

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 ...
4
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1answer
169 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 ...
20
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7answers
881 views

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 ...
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 ...
4
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4answers
606 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 ...
13
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4answers
2k views

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. ...
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, ...
13
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3answers
442 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. ...
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
1k views

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 ...
9
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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 ...
7
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3answers
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Once a quantum partition function is in path integral form, does it contain any operators?

Once a quantum partition function is in path integral form, does it contain any operators? I.e. The quantum partition function is $Z=tr(e^{-\beta H})$ where H is an operator, the Hamiltonian of the ...
6
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1answer
333 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 ...
5
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2answers
3k views

How to derive Fermi-Dirac and Bose-Einstein distribution using canonical ensemble?

My textbook says that microcanonical ensemble, canonical ensemble and grand canonical ensemble are essentially equivalent under thermodynamic limit. It also derives Fermi-Dirac and Bose-Einstein ...
6
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1answer
959 views

Clear up confusion about the meaning of entropy

So I though, and was told, that entropy is the amount of disorder in a system. Specifically the example of heat flow and it flows to maximize entropy. To me this seemed odd. This seemed more ordered ...
6
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1answer
623 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: ...
5
votes
1answer
321 views

Why is (von Neumann) entropy maximized for an ensemble in thermal equilibrium?

Consider a quantum system in thermal equilibrium with a heat bath. In determining the density operator of the system, the usual procedure is to maximize the von Neumann entropy subject to the ...
2
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1answer
130 views

Connection between Kolmogorov entropy and Boltzmann entropy

http://math.stackexchange.com/questions/527384/what-is-the-connectivity-between-boltzmanns-entropy-expression-and-shannons-en mentions a relationship between Shannon entropy and Boltzmann entropy. Is ...
7
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7answers
616 views

Is it wrong to talk about wave functions of macroscopic bodies?

Does a real macroscopic body, like table, human or a cup permits description as a wave function? When is it possible and when not? For example in the "Statistical Physics, Part I" by Landau & ...
6
votes
1answer
880 views

Derivation of differential scattering cross-section

I'm trying to follow the derivation of the Boltzmann equation in my Theory of Heat script, but have a little trouble understanding the following: The cross-section $d\sigma$ is defined as: The amount ...
4
votes
4answers
414 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
274 views

Why is the temperature zero in the ground state?

This is probably a simple question: I see this claims in many books, but I can't figure a reason why this is true. So my question is why this claim is true: "If we know that the system is in the ...
6
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4answers
488 views

Can a single molecule have a temperature?

A show on the weather channel said that as a water molecule ascends in the atmosphere it cools. Does it make sense to talk about the temperature of a single molecule?
5
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4answers
665 views

Please clarify how entropy increases when matter gravitationally coalesces

On John Baez's website, http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/entropy.html, he discusses the problem of how entropy increases when a cloud of ideal gas collapses gravitationally (no black holes - keeping it ...
3
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2answers
237 views

What are the differences between indistinguishable and identical?

What is the difference between indistinguishable particles and identical particles?
1
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3answers
335 views

Mathematical proof of non-negative change of entropy $\Delta S\geq0$

I understand that we can prove that for any process that occurs in an isolated and closed system it must hold that $$\Delta S\geq0$$ via Clausius' theorem. My question is, how can I prove this in a ...
0
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2answers
126 views

Statistical Entropy and Information theory

I am having trouble in understanding the following concepts : Pg 231 Appendix B of the link ...
26
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4answers
1k views

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 ...
69
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6answers
2k views

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 ...
15
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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 ...
12
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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 $\rho_0=\frac{1}{Z}e^{-\beta H}$ ...
8
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1answer
639 views

Which areas in physics overlap with those of social network theory for the analysis of the graphs?

I am studying social networks in terms of graph theory and linear algebra. I know that physicists have published and worked a lot in this field. This causes me to assume that there are sub-fields in ...
6
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1answer
170 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, ...
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 ...