Maxwell’s Demon and counting

Posted by on Apr 18, 2013 in Blog, Numbers, Science | 0 comments

Maxwell’s Demon and counting

I have already written about Maxwell’s demon in a previous post some time back. Before going on with this post, unless you know the demon well, you should read that previous post. He is a most interesting wee beasty. In the early days of the demon, the notion was that he could decide which molecules had greater or lesser energy, and with this knowledge, decrease the entropy of the system by increasing the temperature of one side of the container and decreasing that of the other. By doing this without any expenditure of work, he violates the second law of thermodynamics. This operation...

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Uncertainty and entropy

Posted by on Feb 18, 2013 in Blog, Science | 0 comments

Uncertainty and entropy

I guess I like entropy; it is a concept that fascinated me since I first encountered it in first-year physics so long ago. I recall a demonstration that involved a highly viscous transparent fluid placed in a vat with a stirring paddle securely mounted to the mouth of the container. The demonstrator placed several drops of dye into the liquid and then stirred it in using the mounted paddle. After several turns, the fluid had the color of the dye, as would be expected. But in a rather unusual turn of events (physics joke alert!), by reversing the direction of stirring, the demonstrator undid...

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Monty Hall problem, information view

Posted by on Feb 1, 2013 in Science | 0 comments

In my last post, I went over the curious case of the Monty Hall problem. Before you read this post, you should read the other one. In this post, I want to look at some of the aspects of the problem from the point of view of information. In the initial setup, there are three possibilities. This table shows these possibilities with a “1” indicating the prize and a “0” indicating no prize. Door A Door B Door C C1 1 0 0 C2 0 1 0 C3 0 0 1 Each of the three possible conditions of the world, C1, C2, and C3, occur with a probability of 1/3. So the entropy in this situation is...

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The Monty Hall Problem

Posted by on Jan 31, 2013 in Science | 0 comments

As a digression from tensors, imagine that you are on a game show. The idea of the game is to win a car. The host shows you three doors and tells you that behind one of the doors is a car and behind the other two doors are goats. The host wishes you good luck and asks you to pick one of the three doors, which you do. Upon doing so, the host then opens one of the doors that you haven’t selected and shows that there is a goat behind this other door. At this point, the host gives you the opportunity to stick with your original selection or to switch to the other remaining door. What...

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Is gravity an entropic force

Posted by on Jan 4, 2013 in Science | 0 comments

In 2011, Erik Verlinde published an extremely challenging paper on the question of whether gravity is an entropic force. Correspondingly, Verlinde also suggested that space or relativistic space-time are emergent, as opposed to fundamental, phenomena. Since Verlinde’s paper, others have offered similar treatments for the electric, weak, and strong forces. Verlinde’s hypothesis is based on a relatively small, explicit set of assumptions. First, of course, is that entropic force exists. To this, there is little opposition since the concept has been around since Gibbs if not...

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