According to statistical mechanics, microstates of an isolated physical system (say, a gas in a box) at time t0 in a given macrostate of less-than-maximal entropy typically evolve in such a way that the entropy at time t increases with |t-t0| in both time directions. In order to account for the observed entropy increase in only one time direction, the thermodynamic arrow of time, one usually appeals to the hypothesis that the initial state of the Universe was one of very low entropy. In certain recent models of cosmology, however, no hypothesis about the initial state of the Universe is invoked. We discuss how the emergence of a thermodynamic arrow of time in such models can nevertheless be compatible with the above-mentioned consequence of statistical mechanics, appearances to the contrary notwithstanding.

Is the hypothesis about a low entropy initial state of the Universe necessary for explaining the arrow of time?

ZANGHI', PIERANTONIO
2016-01-01

Abstract

According to statistical mechanics, microstates of an isolated physical system (say, a gas in a box) at time t0 in a given macrostate of less-than-maximal entropy typically evolve in such a way that the entropy at time t increases with |t-t0| in both time directions. In order to account for the observed entropy increase in only one time direction, the thermodynamic arrow of time, one usually appeals to the hypothesis that the initial state of the Universe was one of very low entropy. In certain recent models of cosmology, however, no hypothesis about the initial state of the Universe is invoked. We discuss how the emergence of a thermodynamic arrow of time in such models can nevertheless be compatible with the above-mentioned consequence of statistical mechanics, appearances to the contrary notwithstanding.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11567/865760
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