Thursday 03 Jul 2014: CliMathNet seminar: Thermodynamic variational principles: a unified framework.
Roderick Dewar - Australian National University
Variational principles are familiar in equilibrium thermodynamics (e.g. minimum Gibbs free energy). They also appear in equilibrium statistical mechanics within certain approximation schemes (e.g. the mean-field approximation). I'll present a unified framework for such principles based on a generic variational property of maximum entropy distributions. Because of its generic nature, this framework also provides a basis for non-equilibrium variational principles such as Jaynes' maximum caliber principle and Paltridge's maximum entropy production principle. It also allows the standard mathematical toolkit for analysing equilibrium phase transitions (a.k.a. tipping points) to be extended to non-equilibrium systems.