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Proof of the Second Law of Thermodynamics ?

AZ [Andrei Zvelindovsky]: Our first interview is with Professor Dick Bedeaux, Member of the Royal Norwegian Academy of Sciences and Letters, a world-authority on Non-equilibrium Thermodynamics.

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AZ: Was there anything in your school years, which directed you to become a physicist?
DB: It was interesting and I was good at it.

AZ: Why did you choose Theoretical Physics at University?
DB: It is most profound and challenging.

AZ: Was it difficult for you to study at the University?
DB: No

AZ: I remember, you told that as a student you wanted to study even more, can you tell a bit more about this?
DB: There was so much material not treated and too little mathematics.

AZ: As a PhD student you needed to do all the work by yourself, right? What is important for someone who wants to do a PhD?  What kind of PhD students do you like yourself?
DB: I did everything myself. A good PhD student is independent, critical and original.

AZ: You went for a Postdoc to USA, can you say a bit about this experience?
DB: It was a relief to meet people interested in my work. Everybody, young and old, was much more open. I enjoyed the intensive discussions with fellow postdocs and with professors.

AZ: Were you a hippie that time?
DB: Long hair, bare feet until I got sick of the chewing gum, hitchhiked.

AZ: Was there anyone who influenced you most as a physicist?
DB: Prof. Dr. Peter Mazur

AZ: Almost any student in Science or Engineering studies Thermodynamics. Can you say what is Non-equilibrium Thermodynamics is in a few words, for those who did not study it?
DB: It is the only consistent theory of transport on the mesoscopic and the macroscopic level.

AZ: Your lecture at MIT [watch the full video], which you also gave at UCLan, was about the Second Law of Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics. Do I understand correctly, that we still don’t fully understand its validity?
DB: That is correct. There is no general proof of the second law using the microscopic equations of motion and Statistical Mechanics.

AZ: You worked on many various topics during your many years in physics, how do you chose them, and what are you working on right now?
DB: I basically work on what catches my interest. Presently I do a lot of work on Non-equilibrium Thermodynamics for mesoscopic systems.

AZ: Do you travel a lot for science?
DB: Yes

AZ: Our civilization becomes more and more advanced technologically, do you see any problems with how we are moving to the future?
DB: Technological problems are interesting. It is crucial, however, to also address fundamental problems. Progress on all levels depends on that.

AZ: What would you say to young physics students?
DB: Choose what you are interested in and work hard.

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