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Bad Honnef Physics School on

Entropy and Information: the statistical mechanics perspective

supported by the Wilhelm and Else Heraeus Foundation

Organized by
Prof. Dr. Andreas Engel (Oldenburg), Prof. Dr. Christian van den Broeck (Hasselt) and Dr. Massimiliano Esposito (Luxembourg)

13 - 18 September, 2015, Physikzentrum Bad Honnef, Germany


With the development of stochastic thermodynamics as a consistent theoretical framework to analyze thermodynamic properties of fluctuating systems the role of information in statistical mechanics gained centre stage again. There is renewed interest in information as a thermodynamic resource, bounds on the efficiency of energy conversion on the nano-scale, exactly solvable models and experimental realizations of Maxwell's demons, generalizations of Landauer's limit for the amount of dissipation in information erasure, and the generation of information carrying biomolecules under non-equilibrium conditions. In addition there are intruiging questions concerning the processing of information by quantum systems and the role of information and entropy for the thermodynamics of black holes.

The aim of the school is to provide a sound and pedagogical introduction into the various aspects of information in physical systems. The central core of the school is build around four major topics which are 'Basic notions of information theory', 'Stochastic thermodynamics', 'Maxwell's demon', and 'Quantum information'. Each of these topics will be covered in some depth by three lectures and one exercise containing tasks and computer tutorials for the students. In addition there will be seven more specialized talks highlighting individual aspects or applications ranging from dedicated numerical techniques to experimental verifications.

The participants are encouraged to present their own work in the form of posters.

Major topics: 3 lectures, 1 exercise
  • Basic notions of information theory, Prof. Dr. Haye Hinrichsen (Würzburg)
  • Stochastic thermodynamics, Dr. Massimiliano Esposito (Luxembourg)
  • Maxwell's demon, Dr. Jordan Horowitz (Boston)
  • Quantum information, Dr. Janet Anders (Exeter)
Specialized topic: 2 lectures
  • Experimental relevance of information, Prof. John Bechhoefer (Burnaby)
Specialized topics: 1 lecture
  • A puzzle in efficiency, Prof. Dr. Chris van den Broeck (Hasselt)
  • Fluctuation theorems for developed turbulence, Dr. Daniel Nickelsen (Oldenburg)
  • Stochastic thermodynamics of chemical networks, Dr. Matteo Polettini (Luxembourg)
  • Non-equilibrium methods for equilibrium free energy computations, Prof. Dr. Christoph Dellago (Vienna)
  • Entropy and information in black holes, Prof. Dr. Claus Kiefer (Cologne)


Registered participants

FEES     200 € full board and accommodation (for DPG* members 100 € )
* The German Physical Society (DPG)

The Application Form (Deadline: August 25, 2015)

Special Offer for Train Tickets

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