Ensemble (mathematical physics)

Idealization of a large number of atomic-sized systems / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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In physics, specifically statistical mechanics, an ensemble (also statistical ensemble) is an idealization consisting of a large number of virtual copies (sometimes infinitely many) of a system, considered all at once, each of which represents a possible state that the real system might be in. In other words, a statistical ensemble is a set of systems of particles used in statistical mechanics to describe a single system.[1] The concept of an ensemble was introduced by J. Willard Gibbs in 1902.[2]

A thermodynamic ensemble is a specific variety of statistical ensemble that, among other properties, is in statistical equilibrium (defined below), and is used to derive the properties of thermodynamic systems from the laws of classical or quantum mechanics.[3][4]