Journal of Statistical Physics

, Volume 107, Issue 5, pp 1143-1166

First online:

Statistical Mechanics of Classical Systems with Distinguishable Particles

  • Robert H. SwendsenAffiliated withPhysics Department, Carnegie Mellon University

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The properties of classical models of distinguishable particles are shown to be identical to those of a corresponding system of indistinguishable particles without the need for ad hoc corrections. An alternative to the usual definition of the entropy is proposed. The new definition in terms of the logarithm of the probability distribution of the thermodynamic variables is shown to be consistent with all desired properties of the entropy and the physical properties of thermodynamic systems. The factor of 1/N! in the entropy connected with Gibbs' Paradox is shown to arise naturally for both distinguishable and indistinguishable particles. These results have direct application to computer simulations of classical systems, which always use distinguishable particles. Such simulations should be compared directly to experiment (in the classical regime) without “correcting” them to account for indistinguishability.

entropy Gibbs' paradox distinguishability