Physics and Chance

Philosophical Issues in the Foundations of Statistical Mechanics

Author: Lawrence Sklar

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 9780521558815

Category: Philosophy

Page: 437

View: 6149

Statistical mechanics is one of the crucial fundamental theories of physics, and in his new book Lawrence Sklar, one of the pre-eminent philosophers of physics, offers a comprehensive, non-technical introduction to that theory and to attempts to understand its foundational elements. Among the topics treated in detail are: probability and statistical explanation, the basic issues in both equilibrium and non-equilibrium statistical mechanics, the role of cosmology, the reduction of thermodynamics to statistical mechanics, and the alleged foundation of the very notion of time asymmetry in the entropic asymmetry of systems in time. The book emphasises the interaction of scientific and philosophical modes of reasoning, and in this way will interest all philosophers of science as well as those in physics and chemistry concerned with philosophical questions. The book could also be read by an informed general reader interested in the foundations of modern science.

Physics and Chance

Philosophical Issues in the Foundations of Statistical Mechanics

Author: Lawrence Sklar,William K Frankena Collegiate Professor and Professor of Philosophy Lawrence Sklar

Publisher: N.A


Category: Philosophy

Page: 437

View: 1056

Lawrence Sklar offers a comprehensive, non-technical introduction to statistical mechanics and attempts to understand its foundational elements.

The physics of chance

from Blaise Pascal to Niels Bohr

Author: Charles Ruhla

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

ISBN: 9780198539605

Category: Science

Page: 222

View: 7561

This work offers a clear, much-needed introduction to the ideas of randomness that are central to modern physics. These are the concepts that have been instrumental in overthrowing the notion of the classical "clock-work" universe of earlier centuries. The author shows how the laws of probability and statistics were developed by such mathematicians as Fermat, Pascal, and Gauss, and how they received their first major application in physics in the kinetic theory of gases developed by Maxwell and Boltzmann. Here the use of statistics was necessary because the number of particles involved is too great for a deterministic calculation. But soon the mathematician and physicist Poincare demonstrated the unpredictability of certain systems containing only a small number of bodies, because of extreme sensitivity to initial conditions. He thus became a founder of chaos theory. Finally, with the advent of quantum theory, physics--and reality itself-- seemed to be based on an essential randomness, an idea that was debated by Bohr and Einstein until the end of their lives. Only recently, in the experiments of Alain Aspect, has a convincing demonstration been given the inescapable randomness of quantum theory is a fact of nature. The author skillfully guides the reader through these developments and provides mathematical details in appendices, offering an accessible introduction to the modern physicist's conception of the world of cause and chance. Of special interest to physics students and teachers, the book will also appeal to anyone seeking a better understanding of modern physics, quantum theory, and the concept of chaos.

Probability in Physics

Author: Yemima Ben-Menahem,Meir Hemmo

Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media

ISBN: 3642213294

Category: Science

Page: 324

View: 2439

What is the role and meaning of probability in physical theory, in particular in two of the most successful theories of our age, quantum physics and statistical mechanics? Laws once conceived as universal and deterministic, such as Newton‘s laws of motion, or the second law of thermodynamics, are replaced in these theories by inherently probabilistic laws. This collection of essays by some of the world‘s foremost experts presents an in-depth analysis of the meaning of probability in contemporary physics. Among the questions addressed are: How are probabilities defined? Are they objective or subjective? What is their explanatory value? What are the differences between quantum and classical probabilities? The result is an informative and thought-provoking book for the scientifically inquisitive.

Causality and Chance in Modern Physics

Author: David Bohm

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 1134687095

Category: Philosophy

Page: 192

View: 1520

In this classic, David Bohm was the first to offer us his causal interpretation of the quantum theory. Causality and Chance in Modern Physics continues to make possible further insight into the meaning of the quantum theory and to suggest ways of extending the theory into new directions.

Philosophy and the Foundations of Dynamics

Author: Lawrence Sklar

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 1139619217

Category: Science

Page: N.A

View: 6367

Although now replaced by more modern theories, classical mechanics remains a core foundational element of physical theory. From its inception, the theory of dynamics has been riddled with conceptual issues and differing philosophical interpretations and throughout its long historical development, it has shown subtle conceptual refinement. The interpretive program for the theory has also shown deep evolutionary change over time. Lawrence Sklar discusses crucial issues in the central theory from which contemporary foundational theories are derived and shows how some core issues (the nature of force, the place of absolute reference frames) have nevertheless remained deep puzzles despite the increasingly sophisticated understanding of the theory which has been acquired over time. His book will be of great interest to philosophers of science, philosophers in general and physicists concerned with foundational interpretive issues in their field.

Time and Chance

Author: David Z. ALBERT

Publisher: Harvard University Press

ISBN: 9780674020139

Category: Science

Page: 192

View: 8454

This book is an attempt to get to the bottom of an acute and perennial tension between our best scientific pictures of the fundamental physical structure of the world and our everyday empirical experience of it. The trouble is about the direction of time. The situation (very briefly) is that it is a consequence of almost every one of those fundamental scientific pictures--and that it is at the same time radically at odds with our common sense--that whatever can happen can just as naturally happen backwards. Albert provides an unprecedentedly clear, lively, and systematic new account--in the context of a Newtonian-Mechanical picture of the world--of the ultimate origins of the statistical regularities we see around us, of the temporal irreversibility of the Second Law of Thermodynamics, of the asymmetries in our epistemic access to the past and the future, and of our conviction that by acting now we can affect the future but not the past. Then, in the final section of the book, he generalizes the Newtonian picture to the quantum-mechanical case and (most interestingly) suggests a very deep potential connection between the problem of the direction of time and the quantum-mechanical measurement problem. The book aims to be both an original contribution to the present scientific and philosophical understanding of these matters at the most advanced level, and something in the nature of an elementary textbook on the subject accessible to interested high-school students. Table of Contents: Preface 1. Time-Reversal Invariance 2. Thermodynamics 3. Statistical Mechanics 4. The Reversibility Objections and the Past-Hypothesis 5. The Scope of Thermodynamics 6. The Asymmetries of Knowledge and Intervention 7. Quantum Mechanics Appendix: Gedankenexperiments with Heat Engines Index Reviews of this book: The foundations of statistical mechanisms are often presented in physics textbooks in a rather obscure and confused way. By challenging common ways of thinking about this subject, Time and Chance can do quite a lot to improve this situation. --Jean Bricmont, Science Albert is perfecting a style of foundational analysis that is uniquely his own...It has a surgical precision...and it is ruthless with pretensions. The foundations of thermodynamics is a topic that has accumulated a good deal of dead wood; this is a fire that will burn and burn. --Simon W. Saunders, Oxford University As usual with Albert's work, the exposition is brisk and to the point, and exceptionally clear...The book will be an extremely valuable contribution to the literature on the subject of philosophical issues in thermodynamics and statistical mechanics, a literature which has been thin on the ground but is now growing as it deserves to. --Lawrence Sklar, University of Michigan

David Bohm: Causality and Chance, Letters to Three Women

Author: Chris Talbot

Publisher: Springer

ISBN: 3319554921

Category: Science

Page: 446

View: 3993

The letters transcribed in this book were written by physicist David Bohm to three close female acquaintances in the period 1950 to 1956. They provide a background to his causal interpretation of quantum mechanics and the Marxist philosophy that inspired his scientific work in quantum theory, probability and statistical mechanics. In his letters, Bohm reveals the ideas that led to his ground breaking book Causality and Chance in Modern Physics. The political arguments as well as the acute personal problems contained in these letters help to give a rounded, human picture of this leading scientist and twentieth century thinker.

Aristotle's Concept of Chance

Accidents, Cause, Necessity, and Determinism

Author: John Dudley

Publisher: SUNY Press

ISBN: 1438432283

Category: Philosophy

Page: 484

View: 8074

The first exhaustive study of Aristotle's concept of chance.

Physics of the Future

How Science Will Shape Human Destiny and Our Daily Lives by the Year 2100

Author: Michio Kaku

Publisher: Anchor

ISBN: 0385530811

Category: Science

Page: 352

View: 6756

Imagine, if you can, the world in the year 2100. In Physics of the Future, Michio Kaku—the New York Times bestselling author of Physics of the Impossible—gives us a stunning, provocative, and exhilarating vision of the coming century based on interviews with over three hundred of the world’s top scientists who are already inventing the future in their labs. The result is the most authoritative and scientifically accurate description of the revolutionary developments taking place in medicine, computers, artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, energy production, and astronautics. In all likelihood, by 2100 we will control computers via tiny brain sensors and, like magicians, move objects around with the power of our minds. Artificial intelligence will be dispersed throughout the environment, and Internet-enabled contact lenses will allow us to access the world's information base or conjure up any image we desire in the blink of an eye. Meanwhile, cars will drive themselves using GPS, and if room-temperature superconductors are discovered, vehicles will effortlessly fly on a cushion of air, coasting on powerful magnetic fields and ushering in the age of magnetism. Using molecular medicine, scientists will be able to grow almost every organ of the body and cure genetic diseases. Millions of tiny DNA sensors and nanoparticles patrolling our blood cells will silently scan our bodies for the first sign of illness, while rapid advances in genetic research will enable us to slow down or maybe even reverse the aging process, allowing human life spans to increase dramatically. In space, radically new ships—needle-sized vessels using laser propulsion—could replace the expensive chemical rockets of today and perhaps visit nearby stars. Advances in nanotechnology may lead to the fabled space elevator, which would propel humans hundreds of miles above the earth’s atmosphere at the push of a button. But these astonishing revelations are only the tip of the iceberg. Kaku also discusses emotional robots, antimatter rockets, X-ray vision, and the ability to create new life-forms, and he considers the development of the world economy. He addresses the key questions: Who are the winner and losers of the future? Who will have jobs, and which nations will prosper? All the while, Kaku illuminates the rigorous scientific principles, examining the rate at which certain technologies are likely to mature, how far they can advance, and what their ultimate limitations and hazards are. Synthesizing a vast amount of information to construct an exciting look at the years leading up to 2100, Physics of the Future is a thrilling, wondrous ride through the next 100 years of breathtaking scientific revolution. From the Hardcover edition.

Physics and the Environment

Author: Kyle Forinash

Publisher: Morgan & Claypool Publishers

ISBN: 1681744945

Category: Technology & Engineering

Page: 236

View: 7888

Physics and the Environment directly connects the physical world to environmental issues that the world is facing today and will face in the future. It shows how the first and second laws of thermodynamics limit the efficiencies of fossil fuel energy conversions to less than 100%, while also discussing how clever technologies can enhance overall performance. It also extensively discusses renewable forms of energy, their physical constraints and how we must use science and engineering as tools to solve problems instead of opinion and politics. Dr. Kyle Forinash takes you on a journey of understanding our mature and well developed technologies for using fossil fuel resources and how we are unlikely to see huge gains in their efficiency as well as why their role in climate change ought to be an argument for their replacement sooner rather than later. He also discusses the newest technologies in employing renewable resources and how it is important to understand their physical constrains in order to make a smooth transition to them. An entire chapter is dedicated to energy storage, a core question in renewable energy as well as another chapter on the technical issues of nuclear energy. The book ends with a discussion on how no environmental solution, no matter how clever from a technical aspect, will succeed if there are cheaper alternative, even if those alternatives have undesirable features associated with them.

The Physics of Theism

God, Physics, and the Philosophy of Science

Author: Jeffrey Koperski

Publisher: John Wiley & Sons

ISBN: 1118932773

Category: Science

Page: 288

View: 929

The Physics of Theism provides a timely, critical analysis of the ways in which physics intertwines with religion. Koperski brings clarity to a range of arguments including the fine-tuning argument, naturalism, the laws of nature, and the controversy over Intelligent Design. A single author text providing unprecedented scope and depth of analysis of key issues within the Philosophy of Religion and the Philosophy of Science Critically analyses the ways in which physics is brought into play in matters of religion Self-contained chapters allow readers to directly access specific areas of interest The area is one of considerable interest, and this book is a timely and well-conceived contribution to these debates Written by an accomplished scholar working in the philosophy of physics in a style that renders complex arguments accessible

Time and Chance

Gerald Ford's Appointment with History

Author: James M. Cannon

Publisher: University of Michigan Press

ISBN: 9780472084821

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 496

View: 4886

A biography of President Gerald Ford by one of his closest advisers

Physics and Philosophy

The Revolution in Modern Science

Author: Werner Heisenberg

Publisher: Penguin Modern Classics

ISBN: 9780141182155

Category: Physics

Page: 176

View: 1360

Nobel Prize winner Werner Heisenberg's classic account explains the central ideas of the quantum revolution, and his celebrated Uncertainty Principle. The theme of Heisenberg's exposition is that words and concepts familiar in daily life can lose their meaning in the world of relativity and quantum physics. This in turn has profound philosophical implications for the nature of reality and for our total world view. 'It carries the reader, with remarkable clarity, from the esoteric world of atomic physics to the world of people, language and the conception of our shared reality' Paul Davies.

Ten Great Ideas about Chance

Author: Persi Diaconis,Brian Skyrms

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 140088828X

Category: Mathematics

Page: 272

View: 727

A fascinating account of the breakthrough ideas that transformed probability and statistics In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, gamblers and mathematicians transformed the idea of chance from a mystery into the discipline of probability, setting the stage for a series of breakthroughs that enabled or transformed innumerable fields, from gambling, mathematics, statistics, economics, and finance to physics and computer science. This book tells the story of ten great ideas about chance and the thinkers who developed them, tracing the philosophical implications of these ideas as well as their mathematical impact. Persi Diaconis and Brian Skyrms begin with Gerolamo Cardano, a sixteenth-century physician, mathematician, and professional gambler who helped develop the idea that chance actually can be measured. They describe how later thinkers showed how the judgment of chance also can be measured, how frequency is related to chance, and how chance, judgment, and frequency could be unified. Diaconis and Skyrms explain how Thomas Bayes laid the foundation of modern statistics, and they explore David Hume’s problem of induction, Andrey Kolmogorov’s general mathematical framework for probability, the application of computability to chance, and why chance is essential to modern physics. A final idea—that we are psychologically predisposed to error when judging chance—is taken up through the work of Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky. Complete with a brief probability refresher, Ten Great Ideas about Chance is certain to be a hit with anyone who wants to understand the secrets of probability and how they were discovered.

Introduction to Light

The Physics of Light, Vision, and Color

Author: Gary Waldman

Publisher: Courier Corporation

ISBN: 9780486421186

Category: Science

Page: 228

View: 1425

Designed for a nonmathematical undergraduate optics course addressed to art majors, this four-part treatment discusses the nature and manipulation of light, vision, and color. Questions at the end of each chapter help test comprehension of material, which is almost completely presented in a nonmathematical manner. 170 black-and-white illustrations. 1983 edition.

Chance and Chaos

Author: David Ruelle

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 9780691021003

Category: Mathematics

Page: 195

View: 2613

How do scientists look at chance, or randomness, and chaos in physical systems? In answering this question for a general audience, Ruelle has produced an authoritative and elegant book--a model of clarity, succinctness, and with humor bordering on the sardonic. Ruelle is a professor of theoretical physics in France.