Chaos and Order

2020-2021 Autumn
Immersion 1
Natural Sciences

What is order? Are there materials, processes or systems that are more ordered than other ones? Are chaotic processes unpredictable? How did complexity emerge and what has it to do with life? The module tries to give answers to these and related questions through the lenses of thermodynamics and modern physics.

In the first part we discuss important concepts of chemical thermodynamics, such as the laws of thermodynamics, macroscopic and microscopic interpretations of entropy, thermodynamics of phase changes, mixing and transport processes as well as (if time allows) chemical equilibria, while in the second part a more modern description of order, chaos and emergence is given based on statistical physics. The module also includes excursus towards biology, social sciences and finance in order to showcase the interdisciplinary nature of the subjects covered.

The course covers core concepts that are indispensable for those studying physics, chemistry and engineering, as well as for those who are interested in complex systems in general, such as biology, economics and in a broader sense, social sciences.

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