- Statistical physics
Statistical physics is one of the fundamental theories of
physics, and uses methods of statisticsin solving physical problems. It can describe a wide variety of fields with an inherently stochasticnature. Examples include problems involving nuclear reactions, and topics in the fields of biology, chemistry, neurologyand even some social sciences such as sociology.
The term "statistical physics" encompasses probabilistic and statistical approaches to
classical mechanicsand quantum mechanics. Statistical mechanicsis then often used as a synonym. When the context requires a distinction, one uses the terms "classical statistical mechanics" and "quantum statistical mechanics".
A statistical approach can work well in classical systems when the number of degrees of freedom (and so the number of variables) is so large that exact solution is not possible, or not really useful. Statistical mechanics can also describe work in
non-linear dynamics, chaos theory, thermal physics, fluid dynamics(particularly at high Knudsen numbers), or plasma physics.
Although some problems in statistical physics can be solved analytically using approximations and expansions, most current research utilizes the large processing power of modern computers to simulate or approximate solutions. A common approach to statistical problems is to use a
Monte Carlo simulationto yield insight into the dynamics of a complex system.
* Statistical ensemble
Statistical field theory
Mean sojourn time
Dynamics of Markovian particles
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