How macrostates come about?

Abstract

This paper is a further consideration of Hemmo and Shenker’s ideas about the proper conceptual characterization of macrostates in statistical mechanics. We provide two formulations of how macrostates come about as elements of certain partitions of the system’s phase space imposed on by the interaction between the system and an observer, and we show that these two formulations are mathematically equivalent. We also reflect on conceptual issues regarding the relationship of macrostates to distinguishability, thermodynamic regularity, observer dependence, and the general phenomenon of measurement.

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The Road to Maxwell’s Demon.Orly Shenker & Meir Hemmo - 2012 - Cambridge University Press.

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