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In our study
of classical thermodynamics, we concentrated on the application of statistical
physics to macroscopic systems. Somewhat paradoxically,
statistical arguments did not figure very prominently in this investigation.
The resolution of this paradox
is, of course, that macroscopic systems
contain a very large number of particles, and their statistical fluctuations are,
therefore,
negligible. Let us now apply statistical physics to microscopic
systems,
such as atoms and molecules. In this study, the underlying statistical nature
of thermodynamics will become far more apparent.

Richard Fitzpatrick
2016-01-25