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Statistical mechanics 
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#1
Apr911, 01:37 PM

P: 2

why phase transitions and points in phase diagrams important?



#2
Apr911, 01:45 PM

Sci Advisor
P: 8,665

Phase transitions are qualitative changes (sharp boundaries between different phases) like boiling a liquid into gas, or a solid melting into liquid.



#3
Apr1011, 05:57 AM

P: 307

Also, its at phase transitions where you can classify systems. I'm just starting to learn about this but the way a phase transition occurs involves the notion of a critical exponent and this can be used to determine 'universality' classes. So very different systems can act exactly the same at a phase transition. Presumably this helps us organize and understand diverse phenomena. For example I saw a talk last fall suggesting that evolution was in the same class as the BoseEinstein Condensate (if that surprised you it surprised most other folks there as well).



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