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irreversibility


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The property of a system that precludes a change to the system from being a reversible process. The paradox that although the equations describing the bodies in a system, such as Newton's laws of motion, Maxwell's equation, or Schrödinger's equation are invariant under time reversal, events involving systems made up from large numbers of these bodies are not reversible. The process of scrambling an egg is an example. The resolution of this paradox requires the concept of entropy using statistical mechanics. Irreversibility occurs in the transition from an ordered arrangement to a disordered arrangement, which is a natural trend, since changes in a closed system occur in the direction of increasing entropy.

Subjects: Physics — Chemistry.


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