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The Second Law and Statistical Mechanics

The Second Law and Statistical Mechanics

This video was recorded at MIT World Series: Meeting the Entropy Challenge. Dick Bedeaux patiently traces the evolution of the second law of thermodynamics from its formulation in the mid-19th century through today, from the perspective of statistical mechanics. In its earliest form, as laid out by Rudolf Clausius, the law states that the entropy of the world always increases. This proposition in some sense launched the field of thermodynamics, according to Bedeaux: "It got going in order to understand exactly where the laws came from." There was particular interest in exploring entropy in terms of the motions of particles. Scientists began refining theories around the behavior of gas in equilibrium, looking at density, velocity distribution, potential energy and heat conductivity. After... Show More
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