The fluctuation theorem (FT), which originated from statistical mechanics, deals with the relative probability that the entropy of a system which is currently away from thermodynamic equilibrium (i.e., maximum entropy) will increase or decrease over a given amount of time. While the second law of thermodynamics predicts that the entropy of an isolated system should tend to increase until it reaches equilibrium, it became apparent after the discovery of statistical mechanics that the second law is only a statistical one, suggesting that there should always be some nonzero probability that the entropy of an isolated system might spontaneously decrease; the fluctuation theorem precisely quantifies this probability.
Note that the FT does not state that the second law of thermodynamics is wrong or invalid. The second law of thermodynamics is a statement about macroscopic systems. The FT is more general. It can be applied to both microscopic and macroscopic systems. When applied to macroscopic systems, the FT is equivalent to the Second Law of Thermodynamics.
— Wikipedia on Fluctuation theorem
2013.04.23 Tuesday ACHK