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Nonequilibrium Statistical Physics
A Modern Perspective


  • Authors:
  • Roberto Livi, Università degli Studi di Firenze, Italy
  • Paolo Politi, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR), Rome
  • Date Published: October 2017
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107049543
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About the Authors
  • Statistical mechanics has been proven to be successful at describing physical systems at thermodynamic equilibrium. Since most natural phenomena occur in nonequilibrium conditions, the present challenge is to find suitable physical approaches for such conditions: this book provides a pedagogical pathway that explores various perspectives. The use of clear language, and explanatory figures and diagrams to describe models, simulations and experimental findings makes the book a valuable resource for undergraduate and graduate students, and also for lecturers organizing teaching at varying levels of experience in the field. Written in three parts, it covers basic and traditional concepts of nonequilibrium physics, modern aspects concerning nonequilibrium phase transitions, and application-orientated topics from a modern perspective. A broad range of topics is covered, including Langevin equations, Levy processes, directed percolation, kinetic roughening and pattern formation.

    • Provides step-by-step calculations so readers can follow the mathematics easily
    • A supporting website will provide additional material to accompany the book
    • The logical and pedagogical organisation of the book, with clear language, means that readers can approach the progressive levels of difficulty in the book
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Statistical physics has grown over the past few decades' way beyond its original aims for the understanding of gases and thermal systems at equilibrium, and it is hard to agree on its precise scope, let alone to write a definitive textbook on the subject. [This book] succeeds remarkably well in this task. Cutting a broad swath through the many ramifications of statistical physics in recent times, the book includes a comprehensive review of the many techniques and paradigmatic systems that have come to be regarded as standards of the field. Having solidly covered these essentials, in the third and last part of the book the authors discuss a smorgasbord of topics, from coarsening and kinetic roughening, to pattern formation, to phase-ordering phenomena, selected from their decades of research and expertise in these areas. The book is ambitious and rather comprehensive in its scope. The explanations are succinct and crystal clear, making the volume valuable not only as a textbook but also as a reference work that is sure to become ubiquitous on the shelves of students, teachers, and of young and well-seasoned researchers alike.' Daniel ben-Avraham, Clarkson University, New York

    'Nonequilibrium statistical physics provides the foundation for a plethora of interdisciplinary applications throughout the natural sciences, and courses on this subject are therefore becoming an integral part of physics curricula all over the world. Livi and Politi systematically build up the material from the fundamentals of stochastic processes and linear response theory to current research topics, and explain every step in the most pedagogical and transparent manner. This carefully crafted textbook is certain to become a standard reference for years to come.' Joachim Krug, University of Cologne

    'The most elementary equilibrium theory is the one typically taught in undergraduate courses, while the more advanced non-equilibrium theory is usually left for postgraduate courses, whenever the opportunity to teach it exists. However, there are rather few textbooks on the field, and the existing ones are somewhat specialised. Thus, the arrival of this book is highly welcome since this is certainly a textbook on the subject primarily designed for students. … The textbook is written with a pedagogical style and the authors have paid much attention to just mentioning certain key ideas, avoiding a detailed description that certainly would go beyond its scope. … The textbook can be highly beneficial for acquiring a good picture of non-equilibrium statistical physics. It can be used for different purposes, and the contents can be adapted to different levels of students.' Miguel A. F. Sanjuán, Contemporary Physics

    'Livi and Politi have set themselves the goal of presenting the derivations in their book as fully as possible and well comprehensible for students, which they overall succeed in. With skill, they choose the most transparent and pedagogically efficient access for each topic. The numerous appendices are also very useful, in which mathematical bases such as the central limit theorem or functional derivatives are treated as well as further topics, such as the renormalization of the Kardar-Parisi-Zhang equation. At the end of each chapter, the authors give annotated bibliographic references to monographs and reviews on the respective topic areas. With this textbook, the authors make an important contribution to establishing and canonising the statistical physics of non-equilibrium as one of the liveliest areas of theoretical physics. Therefore, I wish the book many readers and users.' Joachim Krug, Translated from Physik Journal

    'The smart organizational choices mean that readers can get a feeling for the physical concepts involved and for where to find more information. A related website collects errata and offers additional resources for students. In addition to difficult choices of subject inclusion, Livi and Politi had to decide how much detail to include … They present the essentials using simple language, give a few examples, and provide a few references to more specialized books and reviews. Then they move on to the next topic. I found the chapters in the book to be reasonably self-contained. Committed students can work through the whole book, and less patient readers can concentrate on one or two chapters at a time. Nonequilibrium Statistical Physics will be welcomed both by students and researchers entering the field and by those who are familiar with some recent developments and would like to learn more about others.' Daan Frenke, Physics Today

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    Customer reviews

    12th Mar 2019 by AnnaChame

    A physicist who wishes to acquire specific knowledge on nonequilibrium statistical physics will find what is needed in this book. The first chapters discuss the basic tools and ideas, introducing the Langevin approach, the Fokker-Planck formalism, the linear response theory and transport phenomena. The fluctuation-dissipation relations, along with several applications, are also explained in detail. The authors review the concepts of equilibrium phase transitions in order to generalize to models which present nonequilibrium phase transitions. After that, an overview of many recent research topics in non-equilibrium statistical physics, such as growth at surfaces, coarsening, nucleation and pattern formation, is presented. The book presents the important ideas and the basic hypothesis, before entering into details of the processes studied. The authors touch delicate conceptual points, bringing attention to their importance. This book will be very useful for those who are beginning in the field and have no opportunity to attend a course at this level, since the text presents the detailed mathematical developments and the discussions. The book will also be very useful for those who have experience in the field and want to teach the subject in a graduate-level course.

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    Product details

    • Date Published: October 2017
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107049543
    • length: 434 pages
    • dimensions: 253 x 192 x 23 mm
    • weight: 1.12kg
    • contains: 111 b/w illus. 6 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Notations and acronyms
    1. Brownian motion, Langevin and Fokker–Planck equations
    2. Linear response theory and transport phenomena
    3. From equilibrium to out-of-equilibrium phase transitions
    4. Out-of-equilibrium critical phenomena
    5. Stochastic dynamics of surfaces and interfaces
    6. Phase-ordering kinetics
    7. Highlights on pattern formation
    Appendix A. Central limit theorem and its limitations
    Appendix B. Spectral properties of stochastic matrices
    Appendix C. Reversibility and ergodicity in a Markov chain
    Appendix D. Diffusion equation and random walk
    Appendix E. Kramers–Moyal expansion
    Appendix F. Mathematical properties of response functions
    Appendix G. The van der Waals equation
    Appendix H. The Ising model
    Appendix I. Derivation of the Ginzburg–Landau free energy
    Appendix J. Kinetic Monte Carlo
    Appendix K. Mean-field phase diagram of the bridge model
    Appendix L. The deterministic KPZ and the Burgers' equation
    Appendix M. The perturbative renormalization group for KPZ: a few details
    Appendix N. The Gibbs–Thomson relation
    Appendix O. The Allen–Cahn equation
    Appendix P. The Rayleigh–Bénard instability
    Appendix Q. General conditions for the Turing instability
    Appendix R. Steady states of the one-dimensional TDGL equation
    Appendix S. Multiscale analysis

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    Nonequilibrium Statistical Physics

    Roberto Livi, Paolo Politi

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  • Authors

    Roberto Livi, Università degli Studi di Firenze, Italy
    Roberto Livi is Professor of Theoretical Physics at the University of Florence, where he teaches courses on statistical physics and thermodynamics. He is also the Director of the Interdepartment Center for the Study of Complex Dynamics and an associate member of the National Institute of Nuclear Physics (INFN) and of the Institute for Complex Systems of the National Research Council (CNR).

    Paolo Politi, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR), Rome
    Paolo Politi is Head of the Florence Unit of the Institute for Complex Systems, National Research Council, and teaches statistical physics at the University of Florence. He is Fellow of the Marie Curie Association, of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science. He was awarded the Outreach Prize of the Italian Physical Society for promoting the public discussion of science through Science Cafés.

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