Joel L. Lebowitz (lebowitz@sakharov.rutgers.edu)
Statistical Mechanics: A Selective Review of Two Central Issues
(48K, TeX)
ABSTRACT. I give a highly selective overview of the way statistical mechanics
explains the microscopic origins of the time asymmetric evolution of
macroscopic systems towards equilibrium and of first order phase
transitions in equilibrium. These phenomena are emergent collective
properties not discernible in the behavior of individual atoms. They are
given precise and elegant mathematical formulations when the ratio between
macroscopic and microscopic scales becomes very large.