Abstract: The last fifteen years have witnessed dramatic developments in the theory of far from equilibrium statistical physics. The aim of the lectures is to provide a simple introduction to two main results: a generalization of the second law of thermodynamics to small systems (fluctuation theorem) and a nonequilibrium equality for free energy differences (Jarzynski equality). The lectures will be based on the intuitive formalism of the Langevin equation and make extensive contact with recent experiments.

Program of the minicourse:
  1. Langevin equation (I)
  2. Langevin equation (II)
  3. Linear response and Onsager relations (I)
  4. Linear response and Onsager relations (II)
  5. Fluctuation theorem (I)
  6. Fluctuation theorem (II)
  7. Jarzynski equality (I)
  8. Jarzynski equality (II)