Please see the note below for an interesting Mathematical Physics
Colloquium this Friday, Sept. 4. If you have students who might be
interested, please let them know as well.|
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I thought that members of the Physics Department might be interested in the first Mathematics colloquium of the semester, to be held this Friday, September 4. The speaker will be Professor Constantino Tsallis of the Brazilian Physics Research Center in Rio de Janeiro. The full announcement is copied below.
Tsallis' work sometimes elicits controversy, but I like to explain it by saying that his program tries to do for statistical mechanics the same thing that was done for geometry in the 19th century. By denying a single postulate -- that of the extensivity of the entropy -- he is able to derive logically and mathematically self-consistent variations of statistical physics that are very different from the usual formulation of Boltzmann and Gibbs. He then goes on to claim that these variants have physical relevance for systems that defy the usual formulation, typically due to long-range forces, long-time memory, long tails on correlation functions, etc. The mathematical formulation is clear enough; it is the physical relevance of these variant statistical mechanical frameworks that elicits most of the controversy.
In any case, I can vouch for the fact that Tsallis is a good and entertaining speaker, because I have heard him before on several occasions. Members of the Physics Department are welcome to join us -- both for the tea at 3:30 and the talk itself at 4:00. Please feel free to circulate this announcement to your faculty and graduate students if you think there will be interest.
Bruce M. Boghosian
Professor and Chair, Department of Mathematics
Bromfield-Pearson Hall, Tufts University, Medford, Massachusetts 02155, USA
(+1 617) 627-3054 (office), (+1 617) 627-3966 (fax), bruce boghosian tufts edu
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