Brownian Motion and Nonequilibrium Statistical Mechanics

Science  18 Jul 1986:
Vol. 233, Issue 4761, pp. 330-334
DOI: 10.1126/science.233.4761.330


This article is a personal reflection of the branch of nonequilibrium statistical mechanics called the linear response theory that has as its heart the fluctuation-dissipation thereom, which states that irreversible processes ip nonequilibrium are necessarily related to thermal fluctuations in equilibrium. Its origi lies in the Einstein relation for the diffusion constant and the mobility of a Brownian particle. The short history of the fluctuation-dissipation theorem is described. Then the linear response theory is brifly summarized and the meaning of stochastization is considered. The Langevin equation approach and its extensions are reviewed.