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Irreversibility and the Second Law of Thermodynamics at the Nanoscale

Event Details

Event Dates: 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013 - 9:00am

Speaker Name(s): 

Christopher Jarzynski

Speaker Affiliation(s): 

University of Maryland
Seminar Type/Subject

Event Details & Abstract: 

What do the laws of thermodynamics look like, when applied to microscopic systems such as optically trapped colloidal particles, single molecules manipulated with laser tweezers, and biomolecular machines? In recent years it has become apparent that small systems far from thermal equilibrium satisfy a number of strong and unexpected laws. In particular, a proper accounting of fluctuations allows us to rewrite familiar inequalities of macroscopic thermodynamics as equalities. I will describe some of this progress, and will argue that it has refined our understanding of the second law and the thermodynamic arrow of time.

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