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Branch of physics that combines the principles and procedures of statistics with the laws of both classical mechanics and quantum mechanics. It considers the average behaviour of a large number of particles rather than the behaviour of any individual particle, drawing heavily on the laws of probability, and aims to predict and explain the measurable properties of macroscopic (bulk) systems on the basis of the properties and behaviour of their microscopic constituents.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on statistical mechanics, visit Britannica.com.