Monday, September 21, 2009 - 11:00am
1 hour (actually 50 minutes)
Fourier's Law assert that the heat flow through a point in a solid is proportional to the temperature gradient at that point. Fourier himself thought that this law could not be derived from the mechanical properties of the elementary constituents (atoms and electrons, in modern language) of the solid. On the contrary, we now believe that such a derivation is possible and necessary. At the core of this change of opinion is the introduction of probability in the description. We now see the microscopic state of a system as a probability measure on phase space so that evolution becomes a stochastic process. Macroscopic properties are then obtained through averages. I will introduce some of the models used in this research and discuss their relevance for the physical problem and the mathematical results one can obtain.