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The Physical Basis of the Direction of Time / Edition 4

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Overview

This thoroughly revised 5th edition of Zeh's classic text investigates irreversible phenomena and their foundation in classical, quantum and cosmological settings. It includes new sections on the meaning of probabilities in a cosmological context, irreversible aspects of quantum computers, and various consequences of the expansion of the Universe. In particular, the book offers an analysis of the physical concept of time.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9783540420811
  • Publisher: Springer-Verlag New York, LLC
  • Publication date: 1/28/2001
  • Edition description: REV
  • Edition number: 4
  • Pages: 248
  • Product dimensions: 6.16 (w) x 9.26 (h) x 0.56 (d)

Meet the Author

H. Dieter Zeh studied physics in Brunswick and Heidelberg, where he began work on theoretical nuclear physics. After a year of research at the California Institute of Technology, he moved to the University of California in San Diego to work on the synthesis of the heavy elements, before returning to the University of Heidelberg, where he later became professor of theoretical physics. His studies of collective motion in nuclei led him to address the quantum-to-classical transition in general, and in particular the quantum measurement problem, which is in turn related to many aspects of irreversibility (arrows of time). During this work, Zeh recognized and formulated the universal and unavoidable role of uncontrollable quantum entanglement, thus becoming a founder of the area now known as decoherence.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1
1 The Physical Concept of Time 9
2 The Time Arrow of Radiation 15
2.1 Retarded and Advanced Forms of the Boundary Value Problem 18
2.2 Thermodynamical and Cosmological Properties of Absorbers 22
2.3 Radiation Damping 26
2.4 The Absorber Theory of Radiation 32
3 The Thermodynamical Arrow of Time 37
3.1 The Derivation of Classical Master Equations 40
3.2 Zwanzig's General Formalism of Master Equations 55
3.3 Thermodynamics and Information 66
3.4 Semigroups and the Emergence of Order 75
4 The Quantum Mechanical Arrow of Time 83
4.1 The Formal Analogy 84
4.2 Ensembles Versus Entanglement 92
4.3 Decoherence 99
4.4 Quantum Dynamical Maps 111
4.5 Exponential Decay and 'Causality' in Scattering 116
4.6 The Time Arrow of Various Interpretations of Quantum Theory 121
5 The Time Arrow of Spacetime Geometry 133
5.1 Thermodynamics of Black Holes 137
5.2 Thermodynamics of Acceleration 146
5.3 Expansion of the Universe 151
5.4 Geometrodynamics and Intrinsic Time 159
6 The Time Arrow in Quantum Cosmology 169
6.1 Phase Transitions of the Vacuum 171
6.2 Quantum Gravity and the Quantization of Time 174
Epilog 197
App A Simple Numerical Toy Model 201
References 207
Subject Index 227
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