2017 Student Research Conference:
30th Annual Student Research Conference

Entropy and the Boltzmann Brain Paradox


Nicholas Kronlage
Dr. Taner Edis, Faculty Mentor

Entropy seems to be one of the few physical quantities that are not time reversible, since it tends to increase as time progresses forward. Entropy decreasing is not impossible, just very improbable, but given a long enough time scale it could happen. Computer simulations of time evolving systems were produced, and it was found that entropy can decrease as expected. The larger the decrease in entropy, the more unlikely it is to happen. On long time scales, systems spent most of their time near thermal equilibrium, with occasional drops in entropy, only to rise again soon after. This leads to the Boltzmann Brain paradox, which states that it seems more likely for a single self aware brain to come into existence out of nothing than for the vastly more complex universe we live in to develop.  We discuss the argument for the Boltzmann Brain Paradox, and possible resolutions. 

Keywords: Entropy, Boltzmann Brain, Arrow of Time, Thermal Equlibrium

Topic(s):Physics

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 204-3
Location: MG 1098
Time: 10:15

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