Kinetic theory for the emergence of complex behavior in social and economic systems

Kinetic Theory Approaches to Large Systems

C. Dave Levermore

University of Maryland


Maxwell developed kinetic theory to describe how the motion and heat equations of gas dynamics can be derived from a microscopic model of many molecules interacting with each other through elastic collisions. His theory united the irreversible theories of the viscous motion of gases and the thermal conduction of caloric with the reversible theory of a large dynamical system of Newtonian particles. It gave formulas for thermodynamic equations of state for specific energy and pressure, and for transport coefficients of viscosity and thermal conductivity in terms of the underlying microscopic model. It was the first quantitative micro-to-macro theory. The hierarchical view of modeling that it introduced has since been applied to an every widening range of systems, including social systems.