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The Road to Maxwell's Demon
Conceptual Foundations of Statistical Mechanics

$160.00 (C)

  • Date Published: November 2012
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107019683

$ 160.00 (C)

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About the Authors
  • Time asymmetric phenomena are successfully predicted by statistical mechanics. Yet the foundations of this theory are surprisingly shaky. Its explanation for the ease of mixing milk with coffee is incomplete, and even implies that un-mixing them should be just as easy. In this book the authors develop a new conceptual foundation for statistical mechanics that addresses this difficulty. Explaining the notions of macrostates, probability, measurement, memory, and the arrow of time in statistical mechanics, they reach the startling conclusion that Maxwell's Demon, the famous perpetuum mobile, is consistent with the fundamental physical laws. Mathematical treatments are avoided where possible, and instead the authors use novel diagrams to illustrate the text. This is a fascinating book for graduate students and researchers interested in the foundations and philosophy of physics.

    • Provides new solutions to long-standing problems in the foundations of statistical mechanics
    • Addresses fundamental concepts such as measurement, the second law of thermodynamics and Maxwell's Demon
    • Avoids mathematical treatments so readers do not have to wade through complex mathematics
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "The Road to Maxwell's Demon is an exceptionally clear and readable book, intended for readers without physics or philosophy backgrounds. It is also a highly original and important contribution to the foundations of physics. It goes against much of the received wisdom and offers novel solutions to many problems: among them, discussions of time asymmetry in classical mechanics, an empiricist alternative to typicality, a criticism of the role of ergodicity, the notion of a physical observer and the irrelevance of information theory to the foundations of statistical mechanics. Readers interested in the foundations of physics will welcome such a fresh outlook on these topics."
    Amit Hagar, Metascience

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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2012
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107019683
    • length: 337 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 155 x 23 mm
    • weight: 0.63kg
    • contains: 105 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    2. Thermodynamics
    3. Classical mechanics
    4. Time
    5. Macrostates
    6. Probability
    7. Entropy
    8. Typicality
    9. Measurement
    10. The past
    11. Gibbs
    12. Erasure
    13. Maxwell's Demon

  • Authors

    Meir Hemmo, University of Haifa, Israel
    Meir Hemmo is an Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy, University of Haifa. He has written on various issues in the foundations of quantum mechanics and statistical mechanics.

    Orly R. Shenker, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
    Orly Shenker is a Senior Lecturer for the Program in History and Philosophy of Science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She has written on the foundations of classical and quantum statistical mechanics and on the rationality of science.

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