Skip to main content
Chemistry LibreTexts

2: Foundations of classical statistical mechanics

  • Page ID
  • \( \newcommand{\vecs}[1]{\overset { \scriptstyle \rightharpoonup} {\mathbf{#1}} } \) \( \newcommand{\vecd}[1]{\overset{-\!-\!\rightharpoonup}{\vphantom{a}\smash {#1}}} \)\(\newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\) \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\) \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\) \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\) \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \(\newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\) \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\) \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\) \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\) \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\)\(\newcommand{\AA}{\unicode[.8,0]{x212B}}\)

    • 2.1: The Ensemble Concept (Heuristic Definition)
      Since, from the point of view of macroscopic properties, precise microscopic details are largely unimportant, we might imagine employing a construct known as the ensemble concept in which a large number of systems with different microscopic characteristics but similar macroscopic characteristics is used to "wash out'' the microscopic details via an averaging procedure. This is an idea developed by individuals such as Gibbs, Maxwell, and Boltzmann.
    • 2.2: Liouville's Theorem for non-Hamiltonian systems
      Non-Hamiltonian dynamical systems are often used to describe open systems, i.e., systems in contact with heat reservoirs or mechanical pistons or particle reservoirs. They are also often used to describe driven systems or systems in contact with external fields.
    • 2.3: The Liouville Operator and the Poisson Bracket
      The Liouville equation is the foundation on which statistical mechanics rests. It will now be cast in a form that will be suggestive of a more general structure that has a definite quantum analog (to be revisited when we treat the quantum Liouville equation).
    • 2.4: Equilibrium ensembles

    2: Foundations of classical statistical mechanics is shared under a not declared license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.

    • Was this article helpful?