The aim of this book is to identify the unifying threads by providing surveys of the uses and concepts of entropy in diverse areas of mathematics and the physical sciences. Two major threads, emphasized throughout the book, are variational principles and Ljapunov functionals. The book starts by providing basic concepts and terminology, illustrated by examples from both the macroscopic and microscopic lines of thought. In-depth surveys covering the macroscopic, microscopic and probabilistic approaches follow. Part I gives a basic introduction from the views of thermodynamics and probability theory. Part II collects surveys that look at the macroscopic approach of continuum mechanics and physics. Part III deals with the microscopic approach exposing the role of entropy as a concept in probability theory, namely in the analysis of the large time behavior of stochastic processes and in the study of qualitative properties of models in statistical physics. Finally in Part IV applications in dynamical systems, ergodic and information theory are presented.
The chapters were written to provide as cohesive an account as possible, making the book accessible to a wide range of graduate students and researchers. Any scientist dealing with systems that exhibit entropy will find the book an invaluable aid to their understanding.