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Equilibrium Regained: From Nonequilibrium Chaos to Statistical Mechanics

Science  07 Jan 2000:
Vol. 287, Issue 5450, pp. 101-104
DOI: 10.1126/science.287.5450.101

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Abstract

Far-from-equilibrium, spatially extended chaotic systems have generally eluded analytical solution, leading researchers to consider theories based on a statistical rather than a detailed knowledge of the microscopic length scales. Building on the recent discovery of a separation of length scales between macroscopic behavior and microscopic chaos, a simple far-from-equilibrium spatially extended chaotic system has been studied computationally at intermediate, coarse-grained scales. Equilibrium properties such as Gibbs distributions and detailed balance are recovered at these scales, which suggests that the macroscopic behavior of some far-from-equilibrium systems might be understood in terms of equilibrium statistical mechanics.

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