Irreversible Processes in Physical Theory

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Abstract

PROF. R. C. L. BOSWORTH'S view, if I understand him properly, is that held by most physicists since the time of Boltzmann. It has become famous through Eddington's metaphor of the arrow of time. It consists of the following two theses : (1) Every non-statistical or ‘classical’ mechanical process is reversible; this, to quote Prof. Bosworth, “is ensured by the ordinary laws of motion which are invariant with respect to change from +t to −t”; (2) irreversibility enters into physics “by means of parameters which have only a statistical significance”; or in Eddington's way of putting it, the increase of entropy (or of statistical disorder) determines the “arrow of time”.

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POPPER, K. Irreversible Processes in Physical Theory. Nature 181, 402–403 (1958) doi:10.1038/181402b0

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