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Student Colloquium - Torben Rasmussen: Fluctuation Theorems and small systems

Info about event

Time

Friday 7 December 2018,  at 08:15 - 09:00
[Translate to English:] The break shot in pool is an example of an irreversible process.
[Translate to English:] The break shot in pool is an example of an irreversible process.

Supervisor: Alberto Imparato

How likely is it that a small system, such as a biological motor, runs in reverse? How does macroscopic irreversibility emerge from reversible dynamics?

Such issues are addressed by recent results in statistical mechanics called Fluctuation Theorems. They describe statistical relations for thermal fluctuations in systems out of equilibrium. One outcome is a refinement of the second law of thermodynamics, that entropy of isolated systems is non-decreasing, as a result that holds on average. The possibility of violations of the law is therefore quantified. Thermal fluctuations become significant as dimensions decrease, so the results provide insight about and tools for the study of small systems, such as nanoscale devices or microscopic biology.