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Topic central to GR and Statistical Mechanics

  1. Jun 18, 2015 #1
    I am a master student, and I am about to start working on my master thesis, which, in my counrty, is a substantial work of 6 months which usually involves original research.

    I will be supervised by two professors of Statistical Mechanics, who have many research interest. In these days, we have to start talking about the topic of my thesis.

    I would like to be able to propose them a topic which is connected to General Relativity or Cosmology, or even Particle Physics. I have read around the Internet but I have not been able to find something which I could really propose as a topic.

    I had thoug about something like Statistical Mechanics- Phase transitions- Spontaneous symmetry breaking, but I am not able to find, say, a review to become enough knowledgeable to talk to my professors.

    I continue to read that Statistical Mechanics is very often used in General Relativity and Cosmology, but I cannot see precisely why.

    Can please anyhone help me?
    Thanks in advance!
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 18, 2015 #2


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    I seem to recall that phase transitions are a very hard problem in stat mech. Or maybe it is one particular kind of phase transition? I seem to recall there is an anecdote where Feynman gave a talk on his work in stat mech and finished by saying the only thing he was confused about was how to express phase transitions. (Maybe of this one particular kind.) And the famous guy from stat mech stands up and says that nobody can do it.

    So what I'm saying is, be sure you are not promising to bring home the Holy Grail for your master's thesis.

    Stat mech will apply to things like equations of state for matter in stars. This will contribute to stellar evolution, from formation to final life in either collapse or explosion. For large enough stars you will find GR is important enough to include it in calculations of stellar evolution.It will apply in things like understanding neutron stars and other things like that, once more requiring GR. Possibly you will need stat mech to understand things like the life of a gas nebula, especially one that is very hot from a nearby super nova or some such thing. It will apply in things like early universe cosmology, again a condition where GR is important.
  4. Jun 18, 2015 #3
    I see, thanks very much.
    Yes, I am sure (as I was already) I am not goint to make a scientific discovery in my master thesis!

    It seems to me that the first examples you gave me are in the domain of Astrophysics.
    Whereas, you also talked about early universe cosmology.
    Can you give me some examples about that? Or also some link, paper, review ... anything which may help me have a decent idea about that.
  5. Jun 18, 2015 #4


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    My knowledge of early universe cosmology is seldom and few. It is little more than my reading of the book _The First Three Minutes_ by Weinberg.
  6. Jun 18, 2015 #5


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    I'm not aware that SM is used in GR but apparently the Einstein field equations are a restatement of the second law of thermodynamics.

    Gravity: the inside story
    T. Padmanabhan
    Gen Relativ Gravit (2008) 40:2031–2036
    DOI 10.1007/s10714-008-0669-6

    It is available in pdf form.
  7. Jun 18, 2015 #6
    Thanks anyway, DEvens :-)

    Thank you very much, Mentz114, I am going to take a look at it!
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