Invited seminar in Paris: “N!, indistinguishability and entropy”

Theory of Complex Matter

On Wednesday 12 July 2017 Fabien Paillusson visited Laboratoire de Physique Théorique de la Matière Condensée, at Université Pierre et Marie Curie – Sorbonne Universités in Paris and gave a seminar entitled

“N!, indistinguishability and entropy: the instructive case of polydisperse systems”


The so-called Gibbs paradox is a paradigmatic narrative illustrating the necessity to account for the N! ways of permuting N identical particles when summing over microstates. Yet, there exist some mixing scenarios for which the expected thermodynamic outcome depends on the interpretation of this combinatorial term one chooses and this is what we wish to investigate in this talk.

In the first part of the talk we will briefly introduce what the Gibbs paradox is about and what is the standard rationale used to justify its resolution. In a second part, we will allow ourself to question from a historical standpoint whether the Gibbs paradox has…

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