Definition of statistical mechanics

: a branch of mechanics dealing with the application of the principles of statistics to the mechanics of a system consisting of a large number of parts having motions that differ by small steps over a large range

Examples of statistical mechanics in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web In the 19th century, scientists realized these principles could be explained as the collective motion of countless constituent particles, and this gave rise to a theory called statistical mechanics. Andrew Crumey, WSJ, "Chance of a Lifetime," 2 Oct. 2020 This is where statistical mechanics and thermodynamics come in. Conor Purcell, Ars Technica, "Can we craft a theory in which space and time aren’t assumed to exist?," 20 Apr. 2020 So what’s the statistical mechanics for black holes? Quanta Magazine, "Are We All Wrong About Black Holes?," 10 Sep. 2019 After all, thermodynamics comes from statistical mechanics, which describes the behavior of all the unseen atoms in a system. Wired, "Are We All Wrong About Black Holes?," 8 Sep. 2019 Named after Ernst Ising, the model started out as a problem given to Ising by his thesis advisor in the 1920s; now it's commonly taught in statistical mechanics textbooks and classes. Meredith Fore, WIRED, "Magnetic Materials Help Explain How Arctic Ice Melts," 5 July 2019 Wiener’s theory of information, drawing on his own background in thermodynamics, statistical mechanics and the study of random processes, was cloaked in opaque mathematics that was impenetrable to most working engineers. George Dyson, WSJ, "The Elegance of Ones and Zeroes," 21 July 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'statistical mechanics.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of statistical mechanics

1885, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of statistical mechanics was in 1885

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Last Updated

9 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Statistical mechanics.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Oct. 2020.

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