Dissipation, fluctuations and conservation laws

Grassia, Paul (2001) Dissipation, fluctuations and conservation laws. American Journal of Physics, 69 (2). pp. 113-119. ISSN 0002-9505

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Abstract

A large particle moves through a sea of small particles. On the microscale, all particle collisions are elastic. However, on the macroscale, where only the large particle is properly resolved, dissipative forces and fluctuating random forces are observed. These forces are connected by a fluctuation–dissipationtheorem proved in two different ways, first via statistical mechanics, and second from fundamental classical mechanical principles of momentum and energy conservation. The novel classical mechanics proof elucidates the relation between micro- and macroscale behaviors, and offers new insights into the physics behind the fluctuation–dissipation result.