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The many faces of far-from-equilibrium thermodynamics: Deterministic chaos, randomness, or emergent order?

  • Atanu Chatterjee (a1) and Germano Iannacchione (a2)


Far-from-equilibrium systems are ubiquitous in nature. They are also rich in terms of diversity and complexity. Therefore, it is an intellectual challenge to be able to understand the physics of far-from-equilibrium phenomena. In this article, we revisit a standard tabletop experiment, the Rayleigh–Bénard convection, to explore some fundamental questions and present a new perspective from a first-principles point of view. We address how nonequilibrium fluctuations differ from equilibrium fluctuations, how emergence of order out of equilibrium breaks symmetries in the system, and how free energy of a system gets locally bifurcated to operate a Carnot-like engine to maintain order. The exploration and investigation of these nontrivial questions are the focus of this article.



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