Library Header Image
LSE Theses Online London School of Economics web site

Identity and indistinguishability in thermal physics

Wills, James (2022) Identity and indistinguishability in thermal physics. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

[img] Text - Submitted Version
Download (785kB)
Identification Number: 10.21953/lse.00004572


This thesis proposes mathematically precise analyses of the concepts of identity and indistinguishability and explores their physical consequences in thermodynamics and statistical mechanics. I begin by exploring the philosophical consequences of the geometric formulation of thermodynamics, well-known to many mathematicians. Based on this, I offer novel accounts of what it means to be a thermodynamic system and what it means to be a composite system. I then use these mathematical tools to offer new and precise definitions of ‘mixture’ and ‘identity’ in thermodynamics. These analyses allow me to propose a novel resolution of Gibbs’ paradox. Finally, I offer a new definition of indistinguishability in statistical mechanics with a view to offering a new resolution of Gibbs’ paradox in statistical mechanics (the N! problem). My analysis highlights the importance of observables in the foundations of statistical theories. 3

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2022 James Wills
Library of Congress subject classification: Q Science > QC Physics
Sets: Departments > Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method

Actions (login required)

Record administration - authorised staff only Record administration - authorised staff only


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics