Compendium of the Foundations of Classical Statistical Physics

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Statistical physics may be characterized as a branch of physics intended to describe the thermal behavior and properties of matter in bulk-that is, of macroscopic dimensions in relation to its microscopic corpuscular constituents and their dynamics. The chapter discusses the approaches that assume a finite number of microscopic constituents, governed by classical dynamics. There are two basic ingredients in statistical physics--namely, (1) the mechanical model of a macroscopic material system and (2) the introduction of probability and statistical considerations. The chapter discusses thermodynamics, hydrodynamics, kinetic theory, and statistical physics. It highlights the kinetic theory of gases, focusing in particular on Maxwell's ground-breaking papers of 1860 and 1867, and investigates the meaning and status of Maxwell's probabilistic arguments. Stochastic dynamics is also discussed that includes the approaches known as "coarse-graining" and "interventionism" or "open systems.".

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationPhilosophy of Physics
Number of pages152
ISBN (Print)9780444515605
StatePublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes


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