The Third Law Of Thermodynamics

I think a good subject for today is the third law of thermodynamics in the context of condensed matter systems and AdS/CFT… 

I think it is widely known that the laws of thermodynamics have their origin in human frustration. That means, after years and years of trying to do something that appeared to be possible people realized it actually cannot be done, either because the scope was mistaken or the mere question being asked had no meaning at all… This is the same for the third law of thermodynamics. In principle it states that via continuous transformations of the state of the system you can get arbitrarily close to absolute 0 in temperature without ever crossing or reaching it. This means that by standard methods of decreasing the temperature you can get close to zero but as you go the difference in entropy becomes so small that you practically get very little decrease in temperature with very much effort… This also can be translated in the fact that at T->0 the difference in entropy goes to 0 or, otherwise stated, all systems condense into a specific state of entropy at absolute zero and that state cannot be reached by any practical means. Whatever the residual entropy is, you cannot reach it in a finite set of steps. For crystal-like objects the end value of the entropy is zero. For glasses it may not be zero but it still remains out of reach due to the difference in entropy being zero on any path going towards T=0

Why am I saying this now? Well, because in string theory the situation is drastically different. String condensates should be considered real and do reach the ground-state which represents a minimum in a set of lots of minima accessible to the system. The minimum of the system is not uniquely defined. In fact it is not defined at all as nobody knows a solution to the “dramatic” string-landscape problem of proliferation.
Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s a very good subject to do research on but the point is to correct the ideas behind string theory and to correct the way string theorists think about nature or about mathematics or both… it simply implies to correct the way string theorists think… but then again, for some unknown reason the situation is a bit the other way around: string theorists don’t really want to learn anything while they want to teach everyone a theory that doesn’t work… that’s a problem… So, stop thinking about string theory as the source of wisdom… it is more likely that non-string people are the source of wisdom for string theorists… it certainly was so in my case…


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