Coupled harmonic oscillators occupy an important place in physics teaching. It is shown that they can be used for illustrating an increase in entropy caused by limitations in measurement. In the system of coupled oscillators, it is possible to make the measurement on one oscillator while averaging over the degrees of freedom of the other oscillator without measuring them. It is shown that such a calculation would yield an increased entropy in the observable oscillator. This example provides a clarification of Feynman’s rest of the universe.
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January 01 1999
Illustrative example of Feynman’s rest of the universe
Y. S. Kim;
D. Han, Y. S. Kim, Marilyn E. Noz; Illustrative example of Feynman’s rest of the universe. Am. J. Phys. 1 January 1999; 67 (1): 61–66. https://doi.org/10.1119/1.19192
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