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Computers and Liquid State Statistical Mechanics

AuthorsMcBride, Carl
KeywordsStatistical mechanics
Issue Date2007
PublisherNova Science Publishers
SeriesComputer Physics Research Trends
AbstractThe advent of electronic computers has revolutionised the application of statistical mechanics to the liquid state. Computers have permitted, for example, the calculation of the phase diagram of water and ice and the folding of proteins. The behaviour of alkanes adsorbed in zeolites, the formation of liquid crystal phases and the process of nucleation. Computer simulations provide, on one hand, new insights into the physical processes in action, and on the other, quantitative results of greater and greater precision. Insights into physical processes facilitate the reductionist agenda of physics, whilst large scale simulations bring out emergent features that are inherent (although far from obvious) in complex systems consisting of many bodies. It is safe to say that computer simulations are now an indispensable tool for both the theorist and the experimentalist, and in the future their usefulness will only increase. This chapter presents a selective review of some of the incredible advances in condensed matter physics that could only have been achieved with the use of computers.
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