Statistical Mechanics of the Cosmological Many-body Problem and its Relation to Galaxy Clustering

Saslaw, W. C.
Yang, A.
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The cosmological many-body problem is effectively an infinite system of gravitationally interacting masses in an expanding universe. Despite the interactions' long-range nature, an analytical theory of statistical mechanics describes the spatial and velocity distribution functions which arise in the quasi-equilibrium conditions that apply to many cosmologies. Consequences of this theory agree well with the observed distribution of galaxies. Further consequences such as thermodynamics provide insights into the physical properties of this system, including its robustness to mergers, and its transition from a grand canonical ensemble to a collection of microcanonical ensembles with negative specific heat.
Comment: To appear as a chapter in the Proceedings of the Les Houches Summer School Session LXXXX Long Range Interacting Systems, In press, Oxford University Press, 2009; ISBN 978-0-19-957462-9
Astrophysics - Cosmology and Nongalactic Astrophysics, Condensed Matter - Statistical Mechanics