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ERIC Number: EJ894155
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 15
ISSN: ISSN-0020-739X
An Instructive Model of Entropy
Zimmerman, Seth
International Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology, v41 n6 p805-818 2010
This article first notes the misinterpretation of a common thought experiment, and the misleading comment that "systems tend to flow from less probable to more probable macrostates". It analyses the experiment, generalizes it and introduces a new tool of investigation, the simplectic structure. A time-symmetric model is built upon this structure, yielding several non-intuitive results. The approach is combinatorial rather than statistical, and assumes that entropy is equivalent to "missing information". The intention of this article is not only to present interesting results, but also, by deliberately starting with a simple example and developing it through proof and computer simulation, to clarify the often confusing subject of entropy. The article should be particularly stimulating to students and instructors of discrete mathematics or undergraduate physics. (Contains 9 notes and 6 figures.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A