Friday, July 10, 2009

Pop Quiz

Have I increased or decreased the entropy of the apple?



  1. I think it depends on whether you define the atoms within the microscopic structure of the apple as 'distinguishable' (i.e., I can label each atom individually) or 'indistinguishable' (i.e., I cannot. to say that this atom *here* is not that atom *there* is nonsense.)
    Gas and liquid is often described as indistinguishable, but a solid has an underlining, and mostly stable structure. they could thus be identified individually with position in the array of atoms. however, I'm not too sure about this assumption.

    If they are distinguishable, by dividing an already ordered structure, their is no increase in order, so no change in entropy.
    If indistinguishable, then atoms a small distance either side of the dividing line have no unique position, and are in disorder. by dividing them, the atoms are then macroscopically defined to be on either side... maybe. so they would be more ordered, thus decreasing entropy. or not. who knows.