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Durham University

Institute of Advanced Study

Past Events

IAS Fellow's Seminar - Studying the relationship between entropy and structure.

4th December 2017, 13:00 to 14:00, IAS Seminar Room, Palace Green, Dr Andy Martin (University of Melbourne)

Abstract

In thermodynamics entropy is often associated with the amount of order in a system. In this seminar Dr Martin will review the logic underpinning this idea and its shortcomings. The starting point will be to introduce the first and second laws of thermodynamics, which correspond to conservation of energy and the definition of entropy (for an isolated system) respectively. He will then review how statistical mechanics provides an explanation for the second law in terms of accessible microstates in a system. After introducing these concepts he will then consider some simple examples which appear to demonstrate a relationship between entropy and order.

Finally Dr Martin will move on to consider how statistical mechanical approaches used to infer the properties of gases can be adapted to study flocking phenomena in nature. The focus of this part of the talk will not be so much about the results one can achieve but more about the fundamental questions which arise from such an approach.

Places are limited at these lunchtime seminars and so any academic colleagues interested in attending, should contact the Institute in advance to reserve a place.

Contact enquiries.ias@durham.ac.uk for more information about this event.