The Maximum Entropy Formalism

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

The maximum entropy formalism is the work of E.T. Jaynes. It has seen applications in everything from spectral analysis to black hole entropy. According to Jaynes, (in Where do we stand on maximum entropy?) In principle, every different kind of testable information will generate a different kind of mathematical problem. But there is one important class of problems for which the general solution was given once and for all, by Gibbs. This mathematical form consists of the identification of a discrete probability distribution, , for discrete variables and for which the distribution is...

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Is entropy extensive?

Posted by on Dec 28, 2012 in Science | 0 comments

There is a very general theme in modern physics instruction to the effect that the originators of statistical mechanics got the expressions for entropy wrong, in that they were not extensive. It’s often pointed out that Gibbs was among the first to correct Boltzmann’s original statistical expression for entropy, in order to make it extensive, as a consequence of noting what’s referred to as Gibb’s paradox. The Wikipedia article on Gibb’s paradox, just linked to, illustrates the issue by supposing two equal volumes of a similar ideal gas separated by a removable...

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