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Entropy 2010, 12(3), 578-590; doi:10.3390/e12030578

Thermodynamic and Differential Entropy under a Change of Variables

Health Effects Laboratory Division, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Morgantown, West Virginia 26505, USA
Center for Advanced Research in Biotechnology, University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute, Rockville, Maryland 20850, USA
Current Address: Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of California San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, MC 0736, La Jolla, California 92093, USA.
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 17 December 2009 / Revised: 27 February 2010 / Accepted: 2 March 2010 / Published: 16 March 2010
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Configurational Entropy)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [132 KB, uploaded 24 February 2015]


The differential Shannon entropy of information theory can change under a change of variables (coordinates), but the thermodynamic entropy of a physical system must be invariant under such a change. This difference is puzzling, because the Shannon and Gibbs entropies have the same functional form. We show that a canonical change of variables can, indeed, alter the spatial component of the thermodynamic entropy just as it alters the differential Shannon entropy. However, there is also a momentum part of the entropy, which turns out to undergo an equal and opposite change when the coordinates are transformed, so that the total thermodynamic entropy remains invariant. We furthermore show how one may correctly write the change in total entropy for an isothermal physical process in any set of spatial coordinates. View Full-Text
Keywords: thermodynamic entropy; Shannon entropy; spatial entropy; non-Cartesian coordinates; canonical transformation; Jacobian thermodynamic entropy; Shannon entropy; spatial entropy; non-Cartesian coordinates; canonical transformation; Jacobian
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Hnizdo, V.; Gilson, M.K. Thermodynamic and Differential Entropy under a Change of Variables. Entropy 2010, 12, 578-590.

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