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ZiF Workshop

Fundamental Aspects of Statistical Physics and Thermodynamics

Date: 27 - 30 March 2017

Convenors: Peter Reimann (Bielefeld, GER), Andreas Engel (Oldenburg, GER), Jochen Gemmer (Osnabrück, GER)

The main focus of this workshop was on the question of how the characteristic dynamical and statistical properties of macroscopically large as well as relatively small systems can be deduced and understood from first principles, i.e., directly from the basic microscopic laws of physics. Within this broad and over 100 year old research area, the main emphasis was put on two topics of particular current interest, namely on the issue of whether and how isolated many-body systems approach thermal equilibrium, and on the adequate description and dedicated exploration of random fluctuations in small (sub-)systems under various externally imposed non-equilibrium conditions.

On the one hand, many-particle systems generically exhibit a so-called chaotic dynamics: their temporal evolution is in principle deterministic but in practice essentially unpredictable. On the other hand, they often obey some relatively simple ?phenomenological laws?, whose connection with the fundamental laws are, however, not very well understood. This antinomy is particularly pressing within the realm of nonequilibrium physics, one of the most fascinating open fields in fundamental science: The universal and irreversible tendency of closed nonequilibrium systems towards thermal equilibrium is a well-established empirical fact in the macroscopic world, but in spite of more than a century of theoretical efforts, it has still not been satisfactorily reconciled with the basic laws of physics, which govern the microscopic world, and which are fundamentally reversible.

In recent years, the joint efforts of practitioners from several disciplines have lead to promising new concepts for dealing with such fundamental questions regarding the dynamics of many-body systems far from equilibrium. The objective of the workshop was to bring together leading experts with complementary views on those questions from a variety of different disciplines, such as statistical physics, mathematical stochastics, numerical computing, or quantum information theory.

The workshop predominantly focused on two current research areas:


Nils O. Abeling (Göttingen, GER), Gernot Akemann (Bielefeld, GER), Fabio Anzà (Oxford, GBR), Ben Niklas Balz (Bielefeld, GER), Christian Bartsch (Osnabrück, GER), Christian Beckmann (Bielefeld, GER), Michele Campisi (Pisa, ITA), Lorenzo Cevolani (Göttingen, GER), Lennart Dabelow (Jena, GER), Thomas Dahm (Bielefeld, GER), Hans De Raedt (Groningen, NED), Wojciech De Roeck (Leuven, BEL), Barbara Drossel (Darmstadt, GER), Jens Eisert (Berlin, GER), Massimiliano Esposito (Luxembourg, LUX), Fabian Essler (Oxford, GBR), Terry Farrelly (Hannover, GER), Pierre Gaspard (Brüssel, BEL), Marek Gluza (Berlin, GER), Martin Holthaus (Oldenburg, GER), Michael Kastner (Stellenbosch, RSA), Stefan Kehrein (Göttingen, GER), Cristóbal Lledo Veloso (Santiago, CHI), Christian Maes (Leuven, BEL), Mirco Marahrens (Stuttgart, GER), Kristel Michielsen (Jülich, GER), Juan Parrondo (Madrid, ESP), Anatoli Polkovnikov (Boston, USA), Jonas Richter (Osnabrück, GER), Jürgen Schnack (Bielefeld, GER), Udo Seifert (Stuttgart, GER), Tony Short (Bristol, GBR), Andrew Maven Smith (College Park, USA), Robin Steinigeweg (Osnabrück, GER), Hiroyasu Tajima (Wak?, JPN), Peter Talkner (Augsburg, GER), Haruaki Tazaki (Tokio, JPN), Masahito Ueda (Tokio, JPN), Christian Van den Broeck (Diepenbeek, BEL), Henrik Wilming (Berlin, GER)