The momentum distribution of a one-dimensional ideal gas of N atoms

A. D. Boozer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


We calculate the average momentum distribution and the average deviation from this distribution for a one-dimensional ideal gas of N atoms. The calculation is performed using analytical and numerical methods, and the results obtained using the two methods are compared. We use these results to show that in the limit of large N, almost all the possible microstates of an ideal gas have momentum distributions that are very close to the Maxwell distribution. We discuss the significance of this fact for understanding why an ideal gas approaches thermal equilibrium.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)20-23
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Physics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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