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How to �See Through� the Ideal Gas Law in Terms of the Concepts of Quantum Mechanics

Forster, Malcolm R. and Krioukov, Alexei (2002) How to �See Through� the Ideal Gas Law in Terms of the Concepts of Quantum Mechanics. [Preprint]

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    Abstract

    Textbooks in quantum mechanics frequently claim that quantum mechanics explains the success of classical mechanics because �the mean values [of quantum mechanical observables] follow the classical equations of motion to a good approximation,� while �the dimensions of the wave packet be small with respect to the characteristic dimensions of the problem.� The equations in question are Ehrenfest�s famous equations. We examine this case for the one-dimensional motion of a particle in a box, and extend the idea deriving a special case of the ideal gas law in terms of the mean value of a generalized force, which has been used in statistical mechanics to define �pressure�. The example may be an important test case for recent philosophical theories about the relationship between micro-theories and macro-theories in science.


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    Item Type: Preprint
    Keywords: Quantum Mechanics, Thermodynamics, Reductionism/Holism, Physics, Macroscopic limit
    Conferences and Volumes: [2002] Philosophy of Science Assoc. 18th Biennial Mtg - PSA 2002: Contributed Papers (Milwaukee, WI; 2002) > PSA 2002 Contributed Papers
    Depositing User: Program Committee
    Date Deposited: 23 Mar 2003
    Last Modified: 07 Oct 2010 11:11
    Item ID: 1066
    URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/1066

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