Non-equilibrium statistical mechanics

Every Physics Bachelor's student in Göttingen has to attend the theoretical introductory lecture "Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics". We only considered systems in equilibrium and now I understand why: It can get a "bit" messy if you include out-of-equilibrium terms...

Now I am attending the lecture "non-equilibrium systems in Statistical Mechanics" and small perturbations to a systems are okay, so even graduate students can handle them in their homework problems :) or try to handle them... For nonlinear and strong perturbations the integrals become a lot more complicated (and they are already "non-trivial" - what's e.g. the integral of cos(x)*exp(-(x-a)^2/2a^2)?). When I was doing my homework on the plane, a women sat next to me and looked at me very confused. Finally she said: "I am so scared of this." I replied, she shouldn't worry, it's fun! (I added the thought "And no, it's not going to crash the plane.")

In addition to that, I really enjoy this lecture because it's directly related to my research. The microtubule network I look at is out of equilibrium as well since energy is "consumed" and we apply fields and forces to beads in the network.