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Physics - Complexity | Probability in Physics

Probability in Physics

Ben-Menahem, Yemima, Hemmo, Meir (Eds.)

2012, XII, 324 p.

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  • Presents the views of twenty eminent physicists on fundamental questions of probability
  • Demonstrates the central role of probability in our best physical theories
  • Presents historical background and new ideas on longstanding questions
  • Treats philosophical aspects such as the status of natural laws in general

What is the role and meaning of probability in physical theory, in particular in two of the most successful theories of our age, quantum physics and statistical mechanics? Laws once conceived as universal and deterministic, such as Newton‘s laws of motion, or the second law of thermodynamics, are replaced in these theories by inherently probabilistic laws. This collection of essays by some of the world‘s foremost experts presents an in-depth analysis of the meaning of probability in contemporary physics. Among the questions addressed are: How are probabilities defined? Are they objective or subjective? What is their  explanatory value? What are the differences between quantum and classical probabilities? The result is an informative and thought-provoking book for the scientifically inquisitive. 

Content Level » Research

Keywords » Determinism in Physics - Laws of Nature - Probabilistic Descriptions in Physics - Quantum Mechanics and Probability - Statistical Mechanics

Related subjects » Complexity - Epistemology & Philosophy of Science - Probability Theory and Stochastic Processes - Quantum Physics

Table of contents 

Introduction.- Physics and Chance.- Typicality and the Role of the Lebesgue Measure in Statistical Mechanics.- Typicality and Notions of Probability in Physics.- Deterministic Laws and Epistemic Chances.- Measures over Initial Conditions.- A New Approach to the Approach to Equilibrium.- Revising Statistical Mechanics - Probability, Typicality and Closure Time.- How Many Maxwell's Demons and Where?.- Locality and Determinism: the Odd Couple.- Why the Tsirelson Bound?.- Three Attempts at Two Axioms for Quantum Mechanics.- Generalized Probability Measures and the Framework of Effects.- Infinitely Challenging: Pitowsky's Subjective Interpretation and the Physics of Infinite Systems.- Bayesian Conditioning, the Reflection Principle, and Quantum Decoherence.- The World According to de Finetti.- Four and a Half Axioms for Finite-Dimensional Quantum Probability.- Probability in the Many-Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics.

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