notes06-07-page101 - handle macroscopic sized systems...

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12. Rudiments of Statistical Mechanics When we study simple systems like a single molecule, we use a very detailed theory, quantum mechanics. However, most of the time in the real world we are dealing with macroscopic systems, say, at least 100 million molecules. It is simply impossible, even with the fastest computers, to write down and solve the Schrödinger equation for those 100 million molecules, but often Avogadro’s number of molecules. So we need a less detailed theory called statistical mechanics, which allows one to
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Unformatted text preview: handle macroscopic sized systems without losing to much of the rigor. 12.1. Statistics and Entropy Probability and statistics is at the heart of statistical mechanics. We will need some de fi nitions • Ensemble : A large collection of equivalent macroscopic systems. The sys-tems are the same except that each one is in a di f erent so-called microstate . 89 89...
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