

The Meaning of Temperature and Entropy in Statistical Mechanics 

This page was last edited on 05/04/02 by Malcolm R Forster 

Note: You need Adobe Acrobat Reader 4.0, or later, to read and print this manuscript. Khinchin.pdf (53 doublespaced pages, 649 KB.) FOR FURTHER DOWNLOADS, GO THE BOOK PAGE.
This is obviously going to become a book. 
This paper began life as a serious attempt to understand the foundations of classical thermodynamics, but ended up doing crazy things like defining the temperature and entropy of single molecules. Nevertheless, there is method behind the madness, because in terms of these generalized definitions I am able to prove that the generalized notion of temperature reduces to the standard notion under certain quite general conditions, in which case the standard entropy is equal to the sum of the molecular entropies. The generalized viewpoint is intended to provide a deeper understanding of how statistical mechanics works, …and why it doesn’t work, sometimes, as in the case of a single particle in a box. The purpose of such examples is to make a conceptual point, not to advance physics. 