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Where's the LOVE for statistical mechanics

  1. Jun 6, 2012 #1
    I see a lot of talk about QM, relativity, particle physics, classical mechanics, electrodynamics, etc. But I hardly see statistical mechanics (or pure thermodynamics, for that matter) related matters, beyond the pure basics, that is.

    What's the reason for this? Is it perceived to be less interesting? Less relevant? Or is it simply a very specific niche, in the sense that it is not regarded as 'large'? Or is there something else?

    The most rare of all seems to be non-equilibrium statistical mechanics. Given, there's not an encompassing theory yet, but a lot of interesting yet accessible work has been done on it, certainly at the level of a PF post.

    My own guess: statistical mechanics doesn't seem to be an important part of the curriculum and hence nearly all physicists know no more than its basics, hence there's little to talk about, or if there's a post about it, it doesn't get a lot of attention since not a lot of people would know the answer.

    This post is not as much as an attempt at propaganda as me just being curious for what the reason is (or is my perception wrong?).
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2012
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 6, 2012 #2
    When one speaks of fermions and bosons in a QM post, they are invoking concepts from Statistical Physics. All Solid State Physics is, in fact, applied Statistical Physics. Also, modern Statistical Physics uses the same methods as Quantum Field Theory (Feynman diagrams). See Matsubara formalism, for example.
  4. Jun 6, 2012 #3
    I'm talking about statistical physics in its own right though.
  5. Jun 6, 2012 #4
    I'm talking about uses of Statistical Physics masked in other disciplines and posted in posts that do not contain the term 'statistical' explicitly in them.
  6. Jun 6, 2012 #5

    You either talk about what the O.P. talks about, or your derail the thread. Your move.

    The following from the O.P. appears to be the most interesting of all:

    This is clearly closer to what Mr. Vodka is trying to get at.

    By "encompassing theory" he possibly might be thinking along the lines of such questions as, "Why is there not more effort in developing an encompassing theory out of which a subset of physics emerges, including Maxwell-Boltzmann, Bose-Einstein, and Fermi-Dirac statistics?"

    Consider the following passage from the Wikipedia article on non-equilibrium thermodynamics (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-equilibrium_thermodynamics):

    My answer to the O.P.'s question is that going deeper into statistical mechanics leads to specialized areas of research within specialized areas of research with no obvious category of application in its own right, especially when trying to apply it to problems in other areas of research. Not to mention, most people don't really like to have more definitions and treatments of a subject like "entropy" than they would rather deal with.
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