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Entropy

In statistical mechanics, entropy (usual symbol ) is related to the number of microscopic configurations that a thermodynamic system can have when in a state as specified by some macroscopic variables. Specifically, assuming for simplicity that each of the microscopic configurations is equally probable, the entropy of the system is the natural logarithm of that number of configurations, multiplied by the Boltzmann constant . Formally,

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Situations of greater entropy are statistically favoured. Things that are statistically favoured tend to happen, especially over time. A disordered room has greater entropy than an organized one. Thus an organized room will tend to become disordered over time. The only way to reverse this is by continually putting in energy from an outside system (i.e. making the effort to clean your room regularly) HOWEVER, at some point a disordered room will be maximally entropic. At this point, continually failing to clean one’s room will not generally result in a more disordered state. Thus no additional input of energy is needed to maintain the state of the room

Contributed by Adam Trujillo

A Crash Course video about how life is chaos and the universe tends to lean towards disorder.

Contributed by Ursula Bertram

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