Nobody’s above the law. But tiny clusters of colliding atoms may duck below the second law of thermodynamics. In simulations, researchers in Japan found that in rare cases, tiny clusters of atoms ricochet off each other faster than their approaching speeds. The results, which appeared in the March Physical Review E, seem to violate the second law’s requirement that any work squanders a little bit of energy in the form of waste heat, leaving the system a little more disheveled, with higher entropy.
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