14,195 reputation
23671
bio website nathanielvirgo.com
location
age
visits member for 3 years, 2 months
seen 50 mins ago

I'm a post-doctoral researcher with a wide range of interests. My career is in complex systems science (or maybe cybernetics) and the origins of life, but I also have research interests in

  • the foundations of statistical mechanics and its relationship to information theory
  • Earth systems science
  • non-equilibrium thermodynamics in general

I'm also generally interested in the foundations of quantum mechanics and in black holes, though I wouldn't say I'm an expert on those things.

It's probably worth noting that despite the fact that my research is in physics-related areas, all my degrees are in other subjects. If I occasionally seem to start talking in an alien language, this is probably why.


Sep
27
answered Is a chain REALLY only as strong as its weakest link
Sep
26
answered Disequilibrium during infinitesimal steps of a thermodynamic reversible process & cause of maximum work to be achieved during reversible process?
Sep
25
comment Why is the sky never green? It can be blue or orange, and green is in between!
There are definitely some green pixels in that image, but I think if you're actually looking at the sky it's very difficult to perceive it as green, rather than a sort of superposition of orange and blue. I'll have to pay attention to it next time I see a sunset like that.
Sep
25
revised When the low temperture reservoir with negative temperture (Kelvin), such as Ising model, is the efficiency of ideal heat engine larger than 1?
deleted 2 characters in body
Sep
25
answered When the low temperture reservoir with negative temperture (Kelvin), such as Ising model, is the efficiency of ideal heat engine larger than 1?
Sep
24
awarded  Autobiographer
Sep
22
revised Why the self-information is -log(p(m))?
edited body
Sep
22
answered Why the self-information is -log(p(m))?
Sep
18
comment Thermodynamics: heat transfer
No time to write a detailed answer, but in short you're 100% correct, energy flows in both directions, always. The second law applies to the net transfer of hot-to-cold minus cold-to-hot, averaged over time.
Sep
18
answered Is speed an intensive property?
Sep
16
awarded  Necromancer
Sep
16
answered MIcrocanonical and Canonical - The thermodynamic limit
Sep
14
awarded  Nice Question
Sep
12
answered How to do linear stability analysis on this system of ODEs?
Sep
12
comment Entropy / Structure Relations
Order is tricky to define, and I'd suggest you're better off not trying to. Entropy is often said to measure disorder, but I find it better to think of it as measuring, well, entropy. We tend to find it correlates inversely with our intuitive notions of order, but this isn't always true. (For example, is an emulsion more ordered than phase-separated oil and water? My intuition says no, but entropy-as-disorder says yes.) For me the greater insight is attained by understanding entropy for what it is, rather than trying to map it to concepts like order. But that's just my opinion.
Sep
10
awarded  Nice Question
Sep
10
comment Monte carlo simulation for continuous spin model (e.g. XY or Heisenberg model)
Why do you need to discretise it? My intuition says that it's no different from most other continuous physical phenomena, where a floating point representation is plenty good enough.
Sep
8
comment Difference between heat capacity and entropy?
@AndréNeves I'm pretty sure he means the entropy change is material independent - any material heated by an amount $\delta Q$ at temperature $T$ will change its entropy by $\delta Q/T$. The total entropy is material independent, however, precisely because the heat capacity is material dependent.
Sep
6
comment Quantum Entanglement - What's the big deal?
I use detectors aligned at 0 and 90 degrees, depending on the question I'm asked, and you use detectors aligned at 45 and 135 degrees. If you work through it, you should find that gives the expected score I quoted.
Sep
4
comment Is there a minimum energy content of information, other than 0 Joules?
Landauer's principle doesn't apply to storing or transmitting bits. In fact it says that in principle neither of these things take any energy. Landauer's principle says the only thing that takes energy is erasing bits, which isn't needed for transmitting them. (The points about the noise floor are quite reasonable though.)