Energy, Entropy, and Everything

Honors 1500, Perspectives in the Physical Sciences

Second Project Assignment (due Friday, March 9, 4:00 p.m.)

In Quiz 11, Problem 2, you analyzed the interaction of two medium-sized Einstein solids, containing 100-200 oscillators and sharing 100 units of energy. In this Project you will write up the results of this analysis as if for publication in a scientific journal.

Please follow the same format as in the previous project. Start with an introduction in which you explain the underlying motivation for the analysis: a desire to understand why "heat" flows irreversibly from hot objects to cold objects. Then describe your calculation in enough detail for any computer-literate person to reproduce it. In the course of this description, please explain what an "Einstein solid" is and how one can calculate its multiplicity. Finally, present your results (as both a table and a graph) and discuss them. Pick several examples from the table and discuss the probabilities involved, as vividly as you can. Once this system has had plenty of time to exchange energy, which macrostates would be reasonably probable and which wouldn't? Under what circumstances would this system exhibit irreversible behavior? Please also include some discussion of the entropy and temperature of this system, along the lines of your reading assignment for Febrary 27.

As in the previous project, please include an abstract at the beginning of your paper, summarizing what you did as briefly as possible.

The total length of your paper, including the abstract, should be three to four pages, double spaced (assuming a normal font size and margin width).

General advice on writing: Use your best spelling, grammar, and paragraph structure. If you think you might need help with these basic writing elements, feel free to consult with me or with the staff of the Writing Center (Student Services building, room 261). Even though this is a scientific paper, the tone should be relaxed and not too formal. Write in the first person ("I used the formula"), not in the passive voice ("The formula was used"). Remember that the main goal is to communicate clearly, so that a reader can learn what you did without undue effort. Try to forget that your actual reader will be a professor who already knows what you did!

If you have any questions about this assignment, please ask.

Last modified on 22 February 2001.