Statistical mechanics

  1. why phase transitions and points in phase diagrams important?
  2. jcsd
  3. atyy

    atyy 11,185
    Science Advisor

    Phase transitions are qualitative changes (sharp boundaries between different phases) like boiling a liquid into gas, or a solid melting into liquid.
  4. 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 Bose-Einstein Condensate (if that surprised you it surprised most other folks there as well).
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