Approach to Thermodynamic Equilibrium (And Other Stationary States)
This Symposium on the Physicist’s Conception of Nature celebrates the 70th birthday of Paul Dirac. Before beginning the subject of my talk, I would like to make some remarks about ways in which Dirac has influenced me personally. The first edition of his book, The Principles of Quantum Mechanics, was published in 1930. In that same year I entered the University of California at Berkeley where I majored in Chemistry. I spent the summer of 1932 at home in Los Angeles, and came across Dirac’s book on the shelves of the public library. I remember that it made a great impression on me, although I could not really understand very much of it. In part, due to its influence, I changed to Physics for graduate study, and during the years 1934 to 1938 worked with J. R. Oppenheimer on theoretical physics. Every spring, accompanied by most of his students, Oppenheimer went to Caltech in Pasadena, and around 19361 had there the opportunity to hear a lecture by Dirac on magnetic poles. This was unfortunately not the occasion on which a member of the audience, addressing the speaker during the discussion period, was told of the difference between a question and a statement.
KeywordsDensity Matrix Thermodynamic Equilibrium Horizontal Scale Cavity Resonator Eigenvalue Spectrum
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