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Thought experiment on entropy

  1. Jan 2, 2010 #1
    Assume that you placed a single atom (let's keep it simple and specify a hydrogen atom) in a theoretical container that could maintain a perfect vacuum. The perfect vacuum being defined as having no matter, electromagnetic radiation, neutrinos etc.

    What would be the ultimate fate of that atom? Would it slowly lose any energy it possessed when first put in the container and eventually degrade to a thin quark soup? How long would it take the atom to degrade if indeed that was it's fate.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 2, 2010 #2
    I don't know the particle physics part, but from the classical view entropy only tell which of the mechanically allowed states are more likely. So for a mass orbiting another mass the entropy concept isn't really useful. The path would stay a perfect ellipse forever.
  4. Jan 3, 2010 #3
    A stable atom does not change with time. Quarks are forever bound together in the nucleus, the electron forever bound to the nucleus.
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