Irreversible Processes: The Onsager and Boltzmann Pictures

  • Joel Keizer


The primary objective of this book is to develop a mathematical picture of measurable quantities that can be used to understand macroscopic observations of matter. As we have discussed in Chapter 1, that picture is necessarily stochastic and involves ensembles of systems that are prepared in similar ways. In Chapter 1 we outlined some of the techniques of the theory of stochastic processes that are necessary for understanding physical ensembles. Although we used Brownian motion to illustrate the physical relevance of stochastic processes, the stochastic point of view is essential for understanding all kinds of macroscopic observations. Fluctuations are inherent in all matter because of its molecular constitution. Indeed, one of the lessons of Brownian motion is that these fluctuations are observable and that they are closely related to the irreversible processes caused by molecular motion.


Boltzmann Equation Irreversible Process Extensive Variable Dissipation Function Pressure Tensor 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joel Keizer
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Chemistry and Institute of Theoretical DynamicsUniversity of CaliforniaDavisUSA

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