Conferences and seminars Frontiers of Physics

Non-equilibrium Physics: The importance of the improbable

Cartel de la Conferencia: Física estadística de no-equilibrio: la importancia de lo improbable

Most natural phenomena are “out of balance.” From a star to a cell, most systems are non-equilibrium, that is, they have a net flow of matter, energy, electric charge etc.

However, there is no general theory such as statistical mechanics or thermodynamics – valid in equilibrium – that describes the behavior of these systems. Despite this, in recent decades there have been important advances in this field such as fluctuation theorems or the formulation of a macroscopic theory for diffusive systems.

In this talk we will give some clues to this progress, with special emphasis on the important role of large fluctuations or “rare events” in the development of this field.