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Concept# Ludwig Boltzmann

Summary

Ludwig Eduard Boltzmann (ˈluːtvɪç ˈbɔlt͡sman; 20 February 1844 – 5 September 1906) was an Austrian physicist and philosopher. His greatest achievements were the development of statistical mechanics, and the statistical explanation of the second law of thermodynamics. In 1877 he provided the current definition of entropy, S = k_{\rm B} \ln \Omega !, where Ω is the number of microstates whose energy equals the system's energy, interpreted as a measure of statistical disorder of a system. Max Planck named the constant kB the Boltzmann constant.
Statistical mechanics is one of the pillars of modern physics. It describes how macroscopic observations (such as temperature and pressure) are related to microscopic parameters that fluctuate around an average. It connects thermodynamic quantities (such as heat capacity) to microscopic behavior, whereas, in classical thermodynamics, the only available option would be to measure and tabulate such quantities for various materials.

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Abstract We study the diamagnetic surface currents of particles in thermal equilibrium submitted to a constant magnetic field. The current density of independent electrons with Boltzmann (respectively Fermi) statistics has a gaussian (respectively exponential) bound for its fall off into the bulk. For a system of interacting particles at low activity with Boltzmann statistics, the current density is localized near to the boundary and integrable when the two-body potential decays as |x|–agr, agr >4, agr>4, in three dimensions. In all cases, the integral of the current density is independent of the nature of the confining wall and correctly related to the bulk magnetisation. The results hold for hard and soft walls and all field strength. The analysis relies on the Feynman-Kac-Ito representation of the Gibbs state and on specific properties of the Brownian bridge process. Partially supported by the Swiss National Foundation for Science

19881990

Thermal leptogenesis explains the observed matter-antimatter asymmetry of the universe in terms of neutrino masses, consistent with neutrino oscillation experiments. We present a full quantum mechanical calculation of the generated lepton asymmetry based on Kadanoff-Baym equations. Origin of the asymmetry is the departure from equilibrium of the statistical propagator of the heavy Majorana neutrino, together with CP violating couplings. The lepton asymmetry is calculated directly in terms of Green's functions without referring to "number densities". Compared to Boltzmann and quantum Boltzmann equations, the crucial difference are memory effects, rapid oscillations much faster than the heavy neutrino equilibration time. These oscillations strongly suppress the generated lepton asymmetry, unless the standard model gauge interactions, which cause thermal damping, are properly taken into account. We find that these damping effects essentially compensate the enhancement due to quantum statistical factors, so that finally the conventional Boltzmann equations again provide rather accurate predictions for the lepton asymmetry. (C) 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

2011