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Questions tagged [statistical-mechanics]

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Why is the H theorem is called the big eta theorem?

In France, they refer to the H-theorem of Boltzmann (Théorème H) as 'eta'-theorem (théorème 'eta'). The connection obviously comes from the uppercase version of the Greek letter $\eta$, which looks ...
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Distinguishability of particles in statistical mechanics

Historically,how,and by what experiments,the concept of identical and distinguishable particles was discovered?Is it a tagline set by scientists,or nature indeed works in this way?
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Why are microcanonical, canonical and macrocanonical ensembles called that way?

In statistical mechanics, why microcanonical, canonical and macrocanonical ensemble are called that way? Is there any reason according to the size of the system they can describe properly ( I don't ...
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Did Maxwell discover the distribution of velocities in a gas during an exam set by Stokes?

In some lecture notes I found online it was claimed that Maxwell discovered the Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution while in the course of solving a (then unsolved) examination problem given by Stokes. The ...
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How much influence did the work of Boltzmann have on that of Gibbs, and vice versa?

Gibbs and Boltzmann were active in the same years (1860s-1900s). However, I often hear that their formulations of statistical physics were developed independently, and that (at least for a long time) ...
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When did the name “Boltzmann constant” prevail, and how?

This question is prompted by (comments at) another one. There, I was surprised to find that despite traditional claims to the contrary, Boltzmann himself did once write his formula $S=k\log W$: $\...
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Interpretation of $W$ in Boltzmann's entropy formula

Background In the famous Boltzmann's entropy formula, carved in the physicist's tombstone, a mysterious quantity $W$ appears (a): $$S=k_B \log W\label{1}\tag{1}$$ We often hear that $W$ represents "...
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History of XY model - Plane Rotator model

I would like to find out more about the history of the XY model. While for the Ising and Potts model it is easy to find information, it's quite difficult for me to understand when and where the XY ...
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Origin of diagrammatics illustrating the relation between cumulants and moments?

The exponential-log transformation of exponential generating functions (see OEIS A036040 and A127671) relate the classical cumulants to their associated moments. Who were some of the first to ...
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Why are Bose-Einstein Condensates (BECs) named after Bose and Einstein?

Why are Bose-Einstein Condensates (BECs) named after Bose and Einstein? What did Einstein contribute to BECs?
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Who was the first to prove the Boltzman H-theorem for the Landau kinetic equation?

Who has proved Boltzmann's H-theorem (which tells that entropy of a closed system grows as the system approaches thermal equilibrium) for the kinetic equation with Landau collisions operator? One ...
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Who was first to prove the Boltzman H-theorem for the Landau kinetic equation? [duplicate]

Who has proved Boltzmann's H-theorem (which tells that entropy of a closed system grows as the system approaches thermal equilibrium) for the kinetic equation with Landau collisions operator? One ...
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Historical Survey of Statistical Mechanics

Statistical mechanics is a subject with a particularly rich history. I think of the early debates of Boltzmann and Loschmidt, the rather confusing differences between the approaches of Gibbs and ...
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Who named the fugacity, who coined the variable name and did it already relate to complex analysis?

In Riemanns monumental paper, he expresses a prime counting function as an inverse Mellin transform of the log of the function he analytically continued into the complex plane $$\Pi(x) = \frac{1}{2\...
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What became of the Boltzmann-Zermelo debate about the second law of thermodynamics?

At the end of 19th century there was a lively discussion about the nature of the second law of thermodynamics, and its relation to Hamiltonian dynamics. Boltzmann developed a position that the second ...
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What were the dominant non-atomic theories of matter in the 19th century?

From what I have read, the atomic theory of matter was cemented by a 1905 paper by Einstein in which he explained the erratic motion of a bit of pollen suspended in water using the assumption that ...