The Second Annual Bristol-MCMP Workshop on Foundations of Physics: Problems in Classical and Quantum Statistical Mechanics (27 January 2018)
Statistical mechanics plays a central in almost every field of physics: solid state, fluid mechanics, cosmology, astrophysics, the study of black holes, every major program of quantum gravity, low temperature physics, the Standard Model, experimental error analysis, and on and on. Its conceptual and foundational problems---among them, the role and interpretation of probabilities, the nature of entropy and the Second Law, the root of irreversibility, its relation to thermodynamics---are as deep and unresolved as those of any other field of physics as well. All of these are active and central areas of research in contemporary work on the foundations of physics. Indeed, in recent decades the scope of statistical mechanics has grown to encompass fundamental work in such diverse fields as economics and formal epistemology as well. This workshop will address problems pertaining to a wide spectrum of such issues with an emphasis on technical work, with the aim both of examining the problems in their own right and of investigating whether approaches and techniques from some areas can be of use in others.