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The Gibbs Paradox

Saunders, Simon (2018) The Gibbs Paradox. Entropy, 20 (8). p. 552.

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Abstract

The Gibbs Paradox is essentially a set of open questions as to how sameness of gases or fluids (or masses, more generally) are to be treated in thermodynamics and statistical mechanics. They have a variety of answers, some restricted to quantum theory (there is no classical solution), some to classical theory (the quantum case is different). The solution offered here applies to both in equal measure, and is based on the concept of particle indistinguishability (in the classical case, Gibbs’ notion of ‘generic phase’). Correctly understood, it is the elimination of sequence position as a labelling device, where sequences enter at the level of the tensor (or Cartesian) product of one-particle state spaces. In both cases it amounts to passing to the quotient space under permutations.
‘Distinguishability’, in the sense in which it is usually used in classical statistical mechanics, is a mathematically convenient, but physically muddled, fiction.


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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Saunders, Simonsimon.saunders@philosophy.ox.ac.uk0000-0002-8292-3014
Additional Information: Published online by Entropy on July 25 2018 as part of a special edition dedicated to Gibbs paradox, guest edited by the author and Dennis Dieks
Keywords: Gibbs' paradox, Gibbs, entropy of mixing, indistinguishables, classical indistinguishability, distinguishability, emergence
Subjects: General Issues > Scientific Metaphysics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Classical Physics
General Issues > Laws of Nature
Specific Sciences > Probability/Statistics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
General Issues > Reductionism/Holism
Specific Sciences > Physics > Statistical Mechanics/Thermodynamics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Symmetries/Invariances
Depositing User: simon saunders
Date Deposited: 07 Aug 2018 01:24
Last Modified: 07 Aug 2018 01:24
Item ID: 14920
Journal or Publication Title: Entropy
Publisher: MDPI
Official URL: http://www.mdpi.com/1099-4300/20/8/552/htm
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.3390/e20080552
Subjects: General Issues > Scientific Metaphysics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Classical Physics
General Issues > Laws of Nature
Specific Sciences > Probability/Statistics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
General Issues > Reductionism/Holism
Specific Sciences > Physics > Statistical Mechanics/Thermodynamics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Symmetries/Invariances
Date: 25 July 2018
Page Range: p. 552
Volume: 20
Number: 8
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/14920

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